UH Hilo School of Nursing holds virtual pinning ceremony for 46 graduates

Despite the abrupt switch to online teaching in March due to the coronavirus, the UH Hilo School of Nursing got everyone to the finish line: 46 students earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (27 from Hilo and 19 from West O‘ahu). During the pinning ceremony, students from the Hilo and West O‘ahu cohorts were also recognized for several awards.  

By Susan Enright

Screen shot of virtual cermony with grid of students and faculty.
Graduating students from the UH Hilo School of Nursing attend their virtual pinning ceremony, May 15, 2020.

The School of Nursing at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo held a virtual pinning ceremony for their graduates May 15, 2020, in lieu of a traditional in-person event. All in-person events at UH Hilo were canceled in March due to the coronavirus.

“The pinning ceremony is especially important to nurses as it is the symbolic welcoming of graduating nurses into the nursing profession,” says Joan Thompson Pagan, director of the school. “In an effort to provide the recognition our students deserve, Janice Tatum (lab coordinator), Darren Higa (institutional support specialist), and our faculty worked closely with the students to plan a virtual pinning ceremony.”

Graduates and Awards

This year, the UH Hilo School of Nursing graduated 46 students who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (27 from UH Hilo and 19 from West O‘ahu). During the pinning ceremony, students from the Hilo and West O‘ahu cohorts were recognized for the following awards:

  • Clinical Excellence Award: Amy McBride and Shelly Ann Ramelb
  • Transcultural Award: Gregory Zukaran and Bianca Paishon
  • Spirit of Nursing Award: Rosey Hartshorn and Jae-Dee Kaeo-Jeremiah
  • Hawai‘i Nurses Association Award: Chloe Nishioka and Shelly Ann Ramelb

The UH Hilo School of Nursing is “very proud of our graduates,” says Pagan. “Some students have already started working in the hospital as a nursing assistant while they wait to take the Hawai‘i Nurse License Examination. They are excited and ready to begin their careers working in the honorable profession of nursing.”

The Virtual Pinning Ceremony 
(click photos to enlarge)

Grid of students attending the virtual ceremonies, and a photo of the graduates posing for photo in front fo the main UH Hilo sign out at the main entrance to the university.

Finishing up the semester with online instruction

Pagan says the achievement of getting the nursing students to the finish line after the university switched to online instruction in March was due to the hard work of the faculty at the School of Nursing in a stellar effort to continue to provide quality education within university social distancing guidelines.

“While didactic courses were more easily conducted through Laulima, the clinical practicum courses proved more challenging to conduct via online format,” explains Pagan. Laulima is a learning system used for online courses as well as a supporting technology for face-to-face courses.

“Faculty conducted online searches and worked cohesively to brainstorm different ways to conduct virtual clinical experiences that would help students improve their critical thinking and/or delivery of patient care,” explains Pagan in an email.

In order to provide faculty support for an online clinical experience, the nursing program purchased virtual simulations for students to simulate real nursing scenarios. Virtual simulations allow students to interact with patients in a safe, realistic environment, available anytime. Faculty also conducted simulations using the school’s high fidelity mannequin, developed case studies, conducted pre- and post-conferences and grand rounds through the videoconferencing application Zoom. Students also took courses through educational sites such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement open school courses.

More photos of the Class of 2020 Nursing Students.


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.