Saturday – June 23, 2018

Nurse Pinning Ceremony Reaches Across Continents

January 2011


Dr. Dessie Levy, dean of the School of Health Sciences, presents the nursing pin to Linn Bonovich.

Peter and Hanne Bonovich did not want to miss the annual Milwaukee Area Technical College ceremony at which their daughter Linn would receive her nurse's pin. The ceremony was held at MATC's Downtown Milwaukee Campus in mid-December, but the Bonovichs live in Dramen, Norway, 4,000 miles from Milwaukee.

Technology came to the rescue. Linn's sister Leah brought her laptop to the pinning ceremony and shared the ceremony back to their parents using Skype, software that transmits video and audio on a real-time basis, using computers, phones or televisions.

"My dad thought of it," said Linn Bonovich, He originally had the idea so that he could watch both his daughters graduate from MATC in December.

Linn received an associate degree in registered nursing and Leah earned an associate degree in criminal justice - law enforcement. At the last minute, Leah changed her mind about attending graduation and flew home with her children to surprise their parents with a pre-Christmas visit. But before she left, she was instrumental in Skyping the nurse pinning ceremony to their parents, who were glued to their computer to watch the ceremony, which began at 2 a.m. in Norway. The nurse pinning ceremony was held earlier than graduation.


Dr. Dessie Levy and Linn Bonovich acknowledge Linn's parents, who are watching the pinning ceremony via Skype

"It was really moving to be able to have my parents watch my ceremony," Linn said. "I've worked through difficulties for many years to come to this point. It's been 10 years of a hard life for me, and my parents are the two people who have been the most supportive of me. My sister brought the laptop up to me several times during the ceremony so I could wave to them up close. It was really awesome. I never considered it to be an option."

"It was really moving to be able to have them watch my ceremony. It's been 10 years of a hard life for me, and my parents are the two people who have been the most supportive of me." -- Linn Bonovich

Feeling of Accomplishing Something Large
According to Julienne Rock, MATC nursing instructor, a nursing pinning ceremony historically represented lighting the way with the Florence Nightingale Lamp and having a capping ceremony. Since uniforms have changed and most nurses don't wear nursing caps, and because of the influx of men into the nursing field, the ceremony has evolved over the years. But the pinning ceremony remains an important tradition for graduating nurses. "The most emotional part of the ceremony was the feeling that now I've actually accomplished something large," Linn remarked.

Linn originally earned a teaching degree at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. By the time she started student teaching, she felt she was in the wrong career. She had been a nursing assistant for a time when she was living in Norway and realized how much she enjoyed it. She decided to attend MATC and pursue a degree as a registered nurse. She's now working as an RN in the cardiac/surgical ward at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center.


Leah Bonovich, Linn's sister, operates the computer which is
transmitting the pinning ceremony via Skype to their parents in Norway.

The Bonovich family has alternated between living in Norway and in the Milwaukee area for decades. Hanne was born in Norway and came to the United States to "Let loose and see America after she graduated as a nurse," according to Linn. She met her husband Peter when she worked as a camp nurse at Timberlake Christian Center. Peter was raised in Oak Creek, Wis. The couple moved to Norway, but Peter later returned to the U.S. to study computer programming. The rest of the family followed him back to the U.S. in 1984. They all returned to Norway in 1995. Linn, Leah and their brother Lars eventually returned to the U.S. and all three subsequently enrolled in MATC. Lars has just enrolled in MATC's Fire Protection Technician Program.

The Bonovich parents expect to move back to the U.S. in the future. But for now, they can keep up with the successes of their children thanks to the wonders of modern technology.


The Bonovich family (left to right) Leah, Lars, Linn, Peter and Hanne.