Last July 14, 2010, I was given the chance to be a guest speaker at our school’s Capping and Pinning ceremony. It is an honor to be recognized as our batch’s The Lady with the Lamp, and to share my experiences and learning to these future nurses.
My speech started with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decided to be.”
Students, congratulations for a job well done! Being here today, you are giving your parents the best gift, and that gift is knowing that all their hardships and sacrifices in sending and keeping you in school is worth it.
Like you, I was once a student. But to be honest, I didn’t like my course because I was only forced to pursue it. I wasn’t the studious type or the smartest, in fact, I was among the noisiest who usually sat at the back of the class. I slack most of the time, I did not pay attention to my professors, and I think school work and extracurricular activities are corny and just plain boring. Well, that was before. Everything changed when we had our first clinical exposure in a government hospital. I witnessed how difficult it is to be sick or in pain and not have enough money to be admitted in high-end hospitals. Unlike private hospitals, government hospitals aren’t as well equipped, they lack the necessary facilities to allow the provision of proper healthcare.
I used it as my motivation. I wanted to be ‘the nurse’ who despite of being in a government hospital, is capable of providing quality care by learning K.S.A by heart.
with my mentor, Professor Tess Llamas
KNOWLEDGE: I started studying well. Being talkative has benefited me because over time, it allowed me to become a very effective and seamless communicator. I was always active in oral recitations too. I also love writing. I find it effective to write things down and make my own keywords and acronyms. So I used these to my advantage. I had ‘extracurricular’ activities outside school but I made sure that I submitted my projects on time. I hate delays. I see to it that everything gets done accordingly.
SKILLS: During clinical exposures, I made the most of it. I would volunteer to do certain procedures and I’d ask whenever I cannot catch up. I Also spent time with my patients and their watchers, ask them if if there were improvements or if they felt worse. For me, it’s better to get to know them than just read their medical history and befriend their charts. I usually get my desired outcomes because I know exactly what the problems were.
Everything was kind of ironic. I hated anything that involved numbers yet most of my math-related GWA’s were 1+. The most challenging subject would be Human Anatomy and Physiology. I thought I’d fail at that subject but it turned out to be one of my strongest. I even got exempted from taking the final exams. I dreaded Microbiology, mainly because it involved memorizing terms and scientific names. I hate memorizing stuff! I really had no choice but to read my notes. In the end, I got the highest score in our class and the second highest in our batch. In research, I led a team of 6. We were the first to successfully defend our research with just one take. Most of the groups were required to re-defend their thesis. I got the third highest rank in that subject.
I graduated college with flying colors. I was even chosen (1 of the 10 students) to take the first nursing licensure exam (June 2008 batch) but I declined. I know myself better than anyone. I know I need more preparation and with that, I decided to take a break, to chill. I signed up to take the November 2008 Nurses Licensure Exams. On weekdays, I busied myself with medical-related books and spent my internet usage on exam sites. On weekends, I spent it hanging out with my friends, gone malling, read books, and… Are you familiar with the xbox game, Ninja Gaiden Black? I finished that while reviewing for the exams. Booyah!!
After two agonizing months, the results were finally out. My parents and I were very happy. I never felt so proud and blessed. I was even happier when I found out that I got the highest Board Rating in school. Again, I didn’t like this course at first but … I kicked their butt!
So what’s my point? These lead us to ATTITUDE. 1. Attitude towards ourselves and 2. towards our patients. ATTITUDE TOWARDS SELF: It pays to study and learn everything by heart. I always believe in ‘hard-work and dedication over luck.’ I know a lot of students who were also like me, lazy yet they became successful because they dedicated their time and effort in studying and persevered in order to achieve their goals. It’s not too late! If you are the type to slack or magpa-banjing banjing… Just like me. With an attitude overhaul, I know you can do good things. Great things na hindi mo aakalaing magagawa mo. TOWARDS OUR PATIENTS: A nurse should embody great physical and emotional strength because the task requires a great deal of time assisting a sick person. There are nurses who treat their patients poorly. It’s disgusting! Nobody wants to get sick and be hospitalized. Nurses should make their patient feel comfortable. He/she shouldn’t add up to what they’re going through.
It is also import that to have a strong support system and guidance. I am lucky to belong to a family who showers me with unconditional love and has supported me in everything, friends who until now are still my friends. And of course, our professors who took care of us while we’re in school, carefully prepared lesson plans for tomorrow’s lecture, patiently demonstrated how to tuck a closed bed with miter, cautiously guided us as we compute desired dose over stock dose multiplied by quantity, and strictly kept an eye while we do a surgical scrub making sure that we don’t miss a spot. And of course to our dean, despite of her busy schedules and task in the office still finds time to check on us and sometimes takes over some of our subjects.
with Dr. Fe Espinosa, dean College of Nursing
The challenge for you dear nurses is to practice the basic human qualities that make one a great health care provider. The caps, pins and busts that you received today should not be thought of as a reward but rather an opportunity, a commitment, an obligation to continue to a life-long process of learning both personally and professionally.
A nurse knows how to ask or to assess. You wont be able to come up with an intervention without knowing how to assess. A nurse should posses genuine care and compassion for their patients, one must know when to speak, when to listen and when to intervene. No matter how irritating your patients are you should at least act professional. Give them the best care and help them begin the process of restoring their health. As I’ve said, nobody wants to get sick or be hospitalized, the least you can do is to help them feel comfortable.
And with that, I would like to thank you, my future colleagues for accepting these responsibilities, the parents for their sacrifices. Dr. Espinosa, her faculties as well as the staff of Systems Technology Institute, for giving us the best education possible. Thank you and have a wonderful evening.
*** A friend recorded this while I’m onstage. This is a semi-impromptu speech so I’m really sorry for any grammatical errors.