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Unitek College Graduate Reflects on Personal ‘Evolution’ Into Nursing

A recent nursing graduate pointed out that being a nurse is not just about the medical management of disease but also about restoring dignity and normalizing the lives of patients who need nurses’ help.

Nancy Wilson delivered a speech to her fellow graduates of Unitek College in Fremont, Calif. The March 25 graduation celebrated its recent cohort of Associate Degree RNs. There were 30 students in the graduating class.

“This is an accelerated LVN-to-RN program, quite challenging. NCLEX passing rate is 90% at this time,” according to lead instructor of the nursing department, Christy Torkildson, RN, PHN, MSN.

The following is a transcript of Wilson’s speech:

Perhaps an appropriate primary diagnosis for us tonight is, “Enhanced Self-Concept R/T making a difference in the lives of others AEB becoming nurses.”

There is much objective data to support our pride in this accomplishment. We have shared 269 days since our first meeting in the transition class. In our primary role as students we somehow waded through 14 textbooks and survived 43 exams, including six ATIs. We did care plans and NCLEX questions, concept maps, group assignments, mass flu shot clinics, Sims and Skills Labs, Project Homeless, ElderCare, clinical rotations, preceptorships, and kept the flashcard industry solvent, as we juggled our Secondary and Tertiary Roles as family and community members, employees and friends.

As we learned from Sister Callista Roy, first-level assessment alone is insufficient in describing any situation. Our subjective data and second-level stimuli have been critical in getting us to this celebration tonight. Our class represents an array of cultures and spans several stages of Erikson’s development. We shared a common goal of becoming nurses, but our motives, sacrifices, support, strengths and challenges in getting here have been as unique as every patient we have encountered along the way.

More than learning the many important tasks of nursing, we have learned to look at people more holistically. We gained insight into the impact psychosocial concerns have on the physiology of disease processes. We learned how critical it is to develop a therapeutically trusting relationship with clients and their families to promote their optimal recovery. We have been charged with looking at ourselves, and our own value system, to identify the biases that impact our ability to respect the needs and wishes of our clients. And, we have been given the responsibility of contributing to the profession of nursing through a commitment to lifelong learning.

We will each remember the different events that built unity among classmates. I will never forget Valentin’s kindness in skills lab, when she rescued my failing sterile technique, while learning trach care. Walking around the building like expectant parents waiting for each other to finish tests; Mr. H throwing toys at us during lecture; trying to order coffee while listening to the voices on the schizophrenia tape at Mills; the heated competition during Ms. Aspin’s invaluable Jeopardy Review Sessions; and early morning pre-test study groups, where we somehow came up with the most random and complicated acronyms to remember the most simple concepts. Thank goodness Pauline and I have kids who play sports because without their jersey numbers for association, we may have never learned the cranial nerves. Your youthful energy has been contagious — I already miss the countless fun facts Jerome sent me about Chuck Norris — often during lecture of course — as well as late-night Facebook chatting, middle-of-the-night note sharing, and endless hours of camaraderie in and out of school. I sincerely cherish the friendships that have evolved in this intense year together.

Certainly, we have many to thank for bringing us to this day; our incredible families, amazing children, very special friends, employers, co-workers, teachers, preceptors — and an array of patients who graced us with the opportunity to care for them — sometimes by simply implementing tasks leading to their physical recovery, and often in addition, by being the sounding board upon which they worked through fears intrinsic to some of the most delicate moments of their lives.

We owe our eternal gratitude to our incredible group of teachers whose kindness and friendships have facilitated our evolution — as well as to the hundreds of nurses and healthcare professionals at our clinical sites who shared themselves and their expertise with unyielding patience. Their collective interventions have led to our positive expected outcomes.

As we graduate, let us remember that nursing is not just about the medical management of disease. It’s about restoring dignity and normalizing the lives of people whose everyday reality, and families, have been changed by their condition. Nursing gives us the honor of doing something significant — to get outside of ourselves and make a real impact. More than just creating new nurses, this experience has made us more insightful and engaged citizens. As we do our final evaluation, it is clear that in preparing to make a difference in the lives of others, we have indelibly transformed our own.

Source: Nurse.com, Posted April 15, 2010