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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Twenty-three nurses pinned in ceremony at UNCP

The future of professional nursing in the region was honored in a pining ceremony recently at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Held in advance of Winter Commencement, this pinning ceremony was remarkable for the large number of graduates and the regional reach of the program, administrators said. UNCP started a 4-year, Bachelor of Science in nursing or BSN program in 2005 and its first graduates will be in 2007.

Twenty-three graduates of UNCP’s BSN program for registered nurses were pinned in a traditional ceremony. The pins are the “badge of healers” and unique to each nursing school.

“Wear your pin with pride,” said Dr. Barbara Synowiez, interim chair of the Nursing Department. “It is a touchstone and a reminder of integrity and tradition.”

After the pinning ceremony, Dr. Synowiez discussed the graduating class.

“This is the largest graduating class since nursing became its own department,” Dr. Synowiez said. “This was a very representative group from our region and beyond. We had students from Raleigh, Southern Pines, Elizabethtown, Whiteville, Fayetteville, Laurinburg and Robeson County.”

“There is more good news,” she said. “Many of our graduates have already been accepted to graduate schools.”

University administrators, including Chancellor Allen C. Meadors, praised the graduates.

“You have shown the meaning of professionalism,” Chancellor Meadors said. “The thing about nursing that is so special is that nursing represents the human side of health care delivery.”

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Charles Harrington said the nursing program is “arguably the most challenging academic program at this University.”

“My health and yours depend on the best training possible,” Dr. Harrington said. “Few are willing to make the sacrifice to join the profession.”

Dr. Thomas Leach, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said “They have proven how dedicated and committed they are.”

Tina Jenkins was elected by her fellow graduates to address her fellow classmates.

“I will take with me not just what it means to be a nurse, but what it means to be a professional nurse,” Jenkins said.

Keynote speaker Dr. Pamela Edwards, director of Educational Services at Duke University, invited the soon-to-be graduates to consider their future.

“You have shown that you have the potential to continue learning and to improve your practice,” Dr. Edwards said. “Your learning does not stop here. Professional nursing requires a lifetime of learning.”

After pinning and signing the class page in the department’s history book, the nurses received roses, a gift from Gail Davis, retiring vice president for patient care at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.

Graduates include: Auman, Sabrina - First Health of the Carolinas, Pinehurst, N.C.; Bledsoe, Delena – Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC) of Lumberton, N.C.; Bodnar, Lisa – SRMC; Davies, Deborah - First Health; Ellison, Alta – Student; Hicks, Connie - Wake County Human Services, Raleigh, N.C.; Hundley, Caroline – SRMC; Jenkins, Tina – student; King, Lisa - First Health; Laviner, Donna - Scotland Memorial Medical Center, Laurinburg, N.C.; Lewis, Marla – SRMC; Locklear, Janice - Public Schools of Robeson County; Locklear, Virginia – SRMC; Okons, Esther - Hope Mills (N.C.) Urgent Care; Oxendine, Leslie - Native Angels Hospice, Lumberton, N.C.; Perry, Suzanne - Gibson Cancer Center, Lumberton, N.C.; Rotondo, Donna - First Health; Speight, Cheryl - Richmond County Health Department, Rockingham, N.C.; Tunstall, Ronnie - Scotland Memorial; Velasquez, Cindy – student; Wilson, Alice – student; Yarnall, Jennifer – SRMC; and Zabala, Teresa - Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, Fayetteville, N.C.

For more information about nursing at UNCP, please call 910.521.6522 or email

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