By Juan Calvillo
COVID-19 didn’t stop the East Los Angeles College Nursing Department from conducting the nurse pinning ceremony for students who have finished their nursing classes at ELAC. Lurelean Gaines, Nursing Department Chair, and class president Caresse Lima worked together to set up the “drive-by” ceremony on June 28.
The pinning ceremony was held with a procession of a total of 19 cars, broken into four groups. During the event Gaines and fellow Nursing Department staff congratulated the graduates and gave them their nursing pins and had the students recite the nurses oath.
Gaines said students can choose to move on to other colleges for their Master’s degrees in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice. She said some students may choose to go into the workforce and ply their trade, but that all of them were in the process of taking the next important step.
“They have already started the next step, which is to review for the National Examination (National Council Licensure Exam – RN) that needs to be passed on the first attempt to remain in good standing,” Gaines said.
The event was initially designated for May 22. The ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Realizing that there would be no pinning (ceremony), I asked if there was any possibility to have a “drive-by” at Corporate Center because we would simply have cars line up in the parking structure and have the graduates outside standing six feet apart. The initial response was no,” Gaines said.
Myehsia Armstrong, Vice President of Administrative Services, said that Gaines and Armida Ornelas, Vice President of Instruction Continuing Education and Workforce Development, brought the idea of the event change to the administration. Armstrong said that there are guidelines put into place by the Los Angeles Community College District that pertain to these types of “drive by” events. And while things are still changing, the college will continue to keep in line with health advisories for future events.
“It (an event) is a case by case situation. The departments can seek approval by their respective Vice President. The college events team is available to coordinate the logistics to ensure the safety of students and staff,” Armstrong said.
The LACCD posted a safety advisory on June 15 concerning vehicle curbside pickup/dropoff protocols. This advisory asks for details of the hosting LACCD site and any LACCD staff that is present at the event. The advisory even describes how students and staff must interact.
“The student and or employee remains in a fully enclosed motorized vehicle with the seat belt fastened and where all occupants of each enclosed vehicle are members of a single household.”
Gaines said nursing students are living in a time where getting a Bachelors of Science in nursing and preparing for further degrees is a possibility. She said these students are ready to take care of patients.
“Their individual journey is complete at this level because they walk away academically and clinically prepared to enhance the quality of life for the clients/patients they provide care for,” Gaines said.