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Students from the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis celebrated the end of their formal education and symbolic entry into the nursing profession at a virtual pinning ceremony Thursday night. The 43 students from the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing Class of 2020 are now prepared to take the national licensing examination to become registered nurses.

“You are the future of nursing. You matter more than ever in the big picture and are greatly needed,” said Shanna Ruggenberg, entry-level nursing program director. “Once you are registered nurses you will be asked to step up to the plate and join the forces in this war on COVID-19.”

Nursing graduate Chia Moua, right, thanks her supporters after being pinned by her partner Damon Lam.

The Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) is an 18-month, accelerated-degree program that offers the quickest route to registered nursing licensure for adults who already completed an undergraduate degree in another discipline, as well as prerequisite courses. Graduates earn Master of Science in Nursing degrees.

The ceremony was conducted online through Zoom and graduates were pinned by family members and significant others at home. Jessica Draughon Moret, assistant program director, said that didn’t change the significance behind the tradition.

“The pins you are receiving — tonight in your homes — will signal to the world that you are now part of the noble and honorable profession of nursing,” she said. “Each one of you exemplifies the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing mission and vision through leadership, clinical excellence and scholarship, cultural inclusivity and interprofessional collaboration.”

Alumna Breanne McPherson offered advice to the graduates and the family and friends gathered online.

“Yes, you are joining the workforce during unparalleled times,” she said. “Take up this mantel and embrace the learning curve of transitioning from student to nurse and know that the education you received here as an MEPN student serves as a strong foundation for your nursing career.”

Guided by the School of Nursing’s core values of community connection, diversity and inclusion, leadership, innovative solutions and collaboration, the entry-level graduate nursing program prepares new nurses as leaders in quality and safety, advocates for diverse patient populations, and acts as agents of change for healthier communities.

Watch the pinning video and visit the website to learn more.