During our first weekend on the island we had the privilege of attending the nursing commencement at University of the Virgin Islands. This was an extremely moving pining ceremony and was the perfect introduction to culture. The 16 individuals graduating had completed a two year associate degree nursing program from the university and after spending almost two weeks on the island we were able reflect on how essential these individuals will be to healthcare in St. Croix. Graduates designated a friend or family member to pin them and while they were being pinned a message from the student to the loved one was read. These included personal journeys of hardship, support, gratitude, and love. All of which were unique and significant bringing most of us to tears. One in particular was regarding a student who was suppose to graduate and passed away a month prior. Her brother was there to accept the pin, she and her family were honored beautifully.
This experience was particularly meaningful to our clinical group because we will all be graduating very soon as well. Seeing the pride and joy that each of the graduates possessed really hit home for all of us. The same words written by the nursing students at UVI reflected feelings we have all experienced: in times of doubt, our families have lifted us, in times of frustration our peers have motivated us, and in times of exhaustion our faculty have cheered us to the finish line.