HELENA — In a tradition dating back to the 1800s with Florence Nightingale, Helena college nursing students were welcomed into the nursing profession Friday.
“It's very nice to be done. As much as I enjoyed the program, it was a lot,” says future Licensed Practical Nurse, Mckenzie Sanders.
The pinning ceremony is used to symbolically welcome graduated or nearly graduated nursing students into the medical field. As Saturday is graduation for these Licensed Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses, the college used Friday at St. Mary Catholic Community to hold the ceremony.
“They go through a lot of work. They've put a lot of time, blood, sweat, and tears basically into it. And it's a way for us to celebrate along with them as they move on to the profession,” says Nursing Program Director at Helena College, Deb Rapaport.
Healthcare is Montana’s largest-employing industry. It’s projected that the industry will grow by 980 new healthcare jobs every year through 2030. Additionally, demand for nursing assistants, registered nurses, and practical nurses make up an estimated 34% of total demand in healthcare occupations in Montana.
“I can't wait. One, to make more money. And two, just to not have to do homework anymore,” says future Registered Nurse, Keela Brilz.
While graduation is technically on Saturday, Friday’s event was definitely made for these future nurses.
“Graduation’s kinda more for everybody at the college so this is more our special day,” says Brilz.