It’s a ceremony that takes place twice a day every day, but last Thursday it was all about nursing! As most TV viewers know, each weekday in New York City at exactly 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., there’s a loud and clear ringing of the New York Stock Exchange opening and closing bells to signal the beginning and the end of the trading day. A familiar sight transmitted by various media to millions and millions around the globe, the NYSE bell ringing ceremony, which takes place on the biggest little stage in business — the NYSE trading floor podium — is recognized worldwide.
Originally done with the banging of a gavel, later by the striking of a gong and since the late 1800s by the ringing of bells, the fabled history of heralding the opening and closing of trade at the NYSE during these iconic ceremonies is as crucial to trade as it is to tradition. The twice daily ringing on the trading floor ensures no trades take place before the opening bell and none after the closing bell.
On May 12, the birthday of nursing’s founder, Florence Nightingale, my OnCourse Learning work associates and I were the invited guests of The Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future at the NYSE closing bell ceremony. What’s more, we were there alongside other nurses, nursing students and well-known nurse leaders with names that included Hassmiller, Malone, Mancino and more. What better way to mark the end of National Nurses Week 2016 and celebrate the mother of modern nursing?
I can’t begin to convey what I felt as I stood with our company CEO Patrick Sheahan and members of our leadership team amid the joyous ding of the bells as they were rung by some of nursing’s best-known leaders. What a proud and memorable moment it was!
Before we arrived on the trading floor or neared the podium, the experience of just walking through the hallowed halls of the NYSE and seeing photographs of well-known business, government, sports and entertainment figures who were former bell ringers was amazing! The NYSE staff members were gracious and welcoming hosts. They took us first to a beautiful meeting room in which every piece of carved wood and ceiling molding bespoke the NYSE’s grand history. A senior official spoke briefly about the history of the exchange and the outstanding contributions of Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future on behalf of our profession, and reviewed the proceedings that would fill the minutes leading up to the closing bell. Johnson & Johnson’s executive vice president and CFO Dominic J. Caruso welcomed the group, and a photographer captured some special moments.
We were then escorted to the trading floor, greeted by the smiling faces of the traders and directed to an area at the foot of the podium. The small group selected ahead of time to participate in the ceremony was taken to the platform for instructions. Just before the big moment the group began to applaud — a signal that it was almost time. Everyone on the trading floor joined in the applause, which grew in intensity, and at exactly 4 p.m. the bells began to sound. The moment was captured by video cameras, what seemed like thousands of clicking cameras and iPhones held high in the air. The applause continued as if no one wanted to stop, and the bells went on resounding through the gigantic, noisy, happy hall.
Finally, amid the last round of applause, smiles and photo ops our hosts gathered us together and led us off the trading floor and to a lovely reception of hors d’oeuvres and wine.
Truly it was a magnificent celebration of nursing’s biggest week of the year and an event never to be forgotten by any of us. The NYSE Bell Ringing ceremony and the closing of National Nurses Week: the day the bells rang out for nursing!
Top photo caption: Johnson & Johnson’s executive vice president and CFO Dominic J. Caruso, and a group of Johnson & Johnson representatives, nurse leaders and others stand at the podium during the New York Stock Exchange’s closing bell ceremony. Photo courtesy of NYSE.
Watch the video of the NYSE bell ringing ceremony below.