The following is an excerpt from comments made by graduate Amy Blain during the Nursing Graduation Ceremony on May 9.
I have appreciated the opportunity to reflect back a little on what these past two years of nursing school have meant for me and I consider it an honor to be able to share that with my fellow classmates, our instructors, and our families and friends.
The first thing that I have realized as I have been looking back is that I have found the unexpected here. I came to nursing school as a returning student. My life was full and I wasn’t expecting that I would make significant friends here. I thought that at the end of the process, I would find myself changed as a result of amazing clinical experiences and memorable patients. And I have found those. However, now I find myself at the end of a very fast two years and it is these faces that I cannot get out of my mind and relationships with my classmates and instructors that have most deeply affected me.
I’m realizing that nursing school has been a sort of two-tiered experience. On one level, we have been bombarded with information, procedures, concepts and tasks. We have studied and memorized, integrated and synthesized. And we have succeeded. We may still lack confidence in some skills or feel shaky with parts of the material, but this program and faculty have laid a foundation from which we are emerging as knowledgeable and skillful nurse leaders.
But I think this is only part of what has happened here.
I think the second level of this experience has been that we have done all of this together. And maybe in being together we have learned the essence of nursing. I would say that nursing is fundamentally about relationships. You see, we all showed up for the beginning of classes and were immediately thrown together. Quite quickly we became each other’s teachers, coaches, advocates, caregivers and partners for the duration of this transformation.
And isn’t that the same process that can occur when we walk into a patient’s room for the first time? We are thrown together with someone we have never met and have the opportunity to build a relationship – to become their partner, teacher, advocate and caregiver as they undergo transformation.
I think one lesson that I have learned from being together is that we have an incredible power at our disposal – that of offering each other our presence. In dealing with each other, there have been many times that we haven’t had the solution or answer for a situation, but we have shown courage to remain with each other and go through things together. When it was time to write that very last care plan, it was empowering to do it together. On my first day of critical care, my anxiety was eased because we car pooled and offered each other reassurance all the way to the hospital. We have comforted each other when our fears and anxieties about successfully making this transition were almost overwhelming.
I hope that we continue to develop this skill as nurses. Let’s take the lessons that we have learned from each other and transfer them to the patients that we care for. We will not always have the cure or solution, but we will always have ourselves to offer. And through relationships we have the power to affect and change each other’s lives.
This is it! Commencement! A beginning!
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