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Riverside, Calif. (Sept. 23, 2015) – While many students at California Baptist University are just beginning their first semester, a group of entry level (EL) graduate nursing students took another step closer to becoming registered nurses during a dedication/pinning ceremony on Sept. 23.

Thirty-eight students who completed their first year in the program received a pin from a School of Nursing faculty member. After completing the first year, they are now qualified to take the licensure exam.

Additionally, 40 students who finished their first semester in the EL Master of Science in nursing program walked across the stage at the Van Dyne Gym to receive a Gideon pocket Bible. For them, the ceremony signifies dedicating their nursing career to the Lord.

Dr. Geneva Oaks, dean of the School of the Nursing, encouraged the students in their continuing pursuit of a master's degree.

"Our prayer for you, no matter what happens in your career and as you move forward, that you stay steadfast to the Lord," she said. "The opportunities before you are innumerable … and we encourage you to remain fully engaged through the process of expanding your heads, your hands, and your hearts."

Gayle Cloud, a board member for Riverside Unified School District, also spoke during the event. She told the students that encounters are never random and that God will bring people into their lives for a reason.

"You are entering your front-line mission in medicine," she said. "You will have opportunities to pray, to show mercy, to serve, to offer relief and hope."

Student Sarah Jacques said the start of the semester was a whirlwind of things to learn and do and becoming a nurse did not seem real. The dedication made it feel more than just a job, she said.

"This cemented the fact that we're doing this nursing program and dedicating our lives to the service of others," Jacques said.

Student Jonathan Lu said he is looking forward to learning more in the program.

 "It's the end of a journey and beginning of another," he said of the pinning. "It's when you start your actual nursing journey and career. It means a lot."