A little over a decade ago, a trio of NMC students reflected on the pledge they had taken as first-year nursing students. And then, working together, they rewrote it.
Ever since, their words have been used in the NMC pledge and pinning ceremony that is a major milestone in the life of a nurse.
Two of the three pledge co-authors were present at First United Methodist Church on April 13 when 90 nursing students — one of the largest NMC pledge classes in recent history — took the pledge and were “pinned.”
One of the co-authors present was Jessi Cote, who led the student nurses in the pledge to nursing by reading aloud the words she’d helped to write.
Jessi is a Labor and Delivery Nurse Coordinator for Methodist Women’s Hospital, an NMC alum (BSN ’10) and current NMC student completing the MSN Nurse Executive Program.
The other pledge co-author at the ceremony was Jessi’s BSN classmate and longtime friend NMC Assistant Professor of Nursing Amy Vyhlidal (BSN ’10, MSN Nurse Educator ‘14). [Photo shows Jessi, left, and Amy, right.]
NMC’s pledging and pinning ceremony symbolizes the passing of the torch from those who are more experienced to the newcomers who are making their commitment to nursing. It is a modern version of the capping ceremonies of yesteryear. Professional nurses are no longer identified by caps, but by the nursing pins that signify their institute of learning.
Describing the significance of the ceremony, Jessi said, “There are events in your life when what you’re doing feels so real. At pinning, you’ve completed those first requirements, and you’re feeling pride in yourself and in your school. You’re thinking, ‘I’m one step closer to obtaining my goal. I’m going to be a nurse!’”
Today Jessi proudly wears her heart-and-dove student nurse pledge pin on her name badge with her nursing certificate pins, saying, “The pins show my progression in nursing and the steps I’ve taken to get where I am today.”
But as students, Jessi and Amy said they and fellow student Bethann Weniger (BSN ’09) felt their pledge didn’t adequately reflect progress in the nursing profession, and it didn’t fully represent the NMC they knew and loved.
“The pledge hadn’t been updated since the early 1970s, and NMC is more than a nursing school,” said Amy. “We wanted our core values included and explained, as well as the importance of collaborating with multiple disciplines and being educated citizens.”
The trio composed the pledge that appears below. As change agents, they presented the new pledge and their collaborative process to instructors and were delighted when the pledge was reviewed and approved.
“I really loved attending Methodist and how it truly shaped me as an individual,” said Bethann. “Being able to practice our role as change agents while still in school was so empowering!”
“Nebraska Methodist College has such a wonderful place in our hearts,” said Jessi. “It’s good to leave something like this behind.”
Editor’s Note: Last week, Jessi Cote made national news for the way she lives her pledge to nursing. See how Jessi talked an excited dad through his daughter’s delivery along I-80 in this KETV news story.
NMC’s Edna A. Fagan* Pledging Ceremony
To myself and those I serve, I give my word to uphold the values of caring, excellence, holism, learning and respect.
I will offer my heart and hands to care for the needs of others whether spoken or unspoken.
I will hold myself to a standard of excellence and encourage those around me to follow my example.
I will model excellence by displaying integrity, honesty, and quality of care.
I will take a holistic approach to nursing, recognizing the individual as a whole by serving their mind, body, and spirit.
I will recognize that the individual is more than their diagnosis or disease.
I will seek to learn as much from my patients as they learn from me, cultivating an environment of continuous learning.
I will respect the individual from their first breath of life to their last.
I will make no distinction between race, color, or creed, understanding that every human is complete and unique in their own way.
I will respect and collaborate with other disciplines, acknowledging the importance of the care they too provide.
I will be an advocate for my patients and respect their decisions.
As an educated citizen I will apply the knowledge I have gained and will continue to gain to my nursing practice.
Written by Jessi Cote, Amy Vyhlidal and Bethann Weniger
NMC Classes of 2009 & 2010
*The Edna A. Fagan Pledging Ceremony is named in honor of the nurse and nursing leader who dedicated her life to the betterment of nursing practice and education through more than six decades of association with NMC and Methodist Hospital. To learn more, see Remembering Miss Edna Fagan, RN (1914-2005).