UBC School of Nursing students presented with a rose and an academic degree
Crossing the stage at convocation is normally the last, official event for graduating students at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
School of Nursing graduates, however, have two important events to mark their success. The 126 graduates will convocate with other UBC students from the Faculty of Health and Social Development on Thursday, June 4. Two days later they will participate in a Rose Ceremony as the final step in their graduation process.
While a rose is symbolic for many things, the School of Nursing’s Jasmine Clark says it has become a traditional event at UBC and a time-honoured tradition. The first ceremonies for graduating nurses date back to the late 1860s at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing in England where nurses were presented with pins and the lighting of the lamp as a way to symbolize their entrance into the profession of nursing.
“The rose ceremony is an opportunity for the school of nursing, family, friends, and community to celebrate and recognize the students as they prepare to enter the nursing profession,” says Clark.
Historically, nurses were trained in hospitals and when they graduated they were given a pin from the hospital. Today’s nurses attend post-secondary schools and complete the four-year bachelor of science in nursing program. The convocation ceremony marks the end of the academic training, while the rose ceremony is upheld by many nursing schools as the official entrance into the nursing profession.
“The rose ceremony reminds our faculty and our graduates that joining the nursing profession is a privilege granted by society through our regulatory body, the College of Registered Nurses of B.C.,” says Patricia Marck, director of the School of Nursing. “Registered nurses need to commit to continuous professional development in their chosen areas of nursing so that the public can receive safe, competent, ethical nursing care.”
The rose ceremony is a student-led event, organized and paid for, via fundraising events, entirely by the students. Event organizer Tanveer Gill says the bonding between students is intense because, unlike other programs, the entire cohort takes the same classes and clinical sessions together during their time at UBC.
“Because we are so specialized in our schooling, we spend a lot of time together,” Gill says. “The rose ceremony is to celebrate all of those accomplishments we have had in nursing school. It differs from convocation because it's a smaller setting, we know mostly everyone at the event, and we are able to see the culmination of our years.”
Gill, who plans to specialize as an operating room nurse, says the intimate setting of the rose ceremony makes the event meaningful for the students and families. And she notes, for many, it will be their last chance to be together before they head off to begin their careers.
“I am so incredibly excited to see it all come together and to see my classmates together one last time,” she says. “Soon we will all separate for good, to save lives wherever nursing may take us.”
Along with the presentation of roses, the event includes a formal procession, and short speeches from students and faculty. This year, the school will also announce a funding drive for a new student award in Global Citizenship.
The Global Citizenship in Nursing Award will be presented annually to a fourth-year student who successfully completes a global health practicum locally or abroad; including with one of the school’s current partners in Zambia, Ghana, Brazil, or other countries, or in any other community facing health equity challenges, within our own region or another part of B.C.