(An abridged and altered version of what I presented to Mrs. Vanbuskirk and the summer PN class of 2019. Based on The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.)
When I started thinking about writing my lecture, I realized that I only had one childhood dream. I’ve had that dream since I was ten; maybe younger, and it is something I’m currently working on fulfilling. My childhood dream is to be a nurse. In this lecture, I will share a little bit about the journey I’ve been on so far.
So why be a nurse?
None of my immediate or close extended family members are in the medical field. In fact, several of my immediate family members are quite squeamish. (I love squeamish people, they’re so adorable.) The fact is, I don’t know why, as a child, I started wanting to be a nurse. I was, however, able to think of some influencing factors that helped pique and maintain my interest as a child and into adulthood, and what made me eventually start nursing school.
(This is a photo of some of the nurses that provided excellent care to a loved one.)
All my life, my mom has struggled with health issues. Growing up, my sister and I spent countless hours doing our school in various doctors’ offices, IV therapy rooms, and chiropractor waiting rooms. I used to joke that I got my education in a doctor’s office, because we spent so much time at the doctors. My sister and I were generally good children, and while we sat in various waiting rooms, we would do our schoolwork, read, and play quiet games like backgammon. Sometimes that became tiresome, and that’s when we would listen to the nurses’ conversations. Some of the nurses were quite funny, and we had a little green notebook that we wrote things down in that they said. I don’t think I realized until I was a little older how much the humor of the nurses helped pass the long hours we spent in waiting rooms. And I doubt those nurses realized just how much they cheered up our days! When I am a nurse, one of my goals is to be there for people when they are having difficult days, and to lift their spirits.
When I was a teenager, my aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We visited her regularly in Philadelphia where she got her treatments, and before she passed away, we spent two weeks in New York with her. I didn’t interact much with her on a medical level, but she constantly encouraged me to pursue my dream of being a nurse. After she died, I promised myself I would become a nurse and make her proud of me.
(This is a photo of me and two classmates in the lab at school.)
What do I plan to contribute to the nursing world?
I will give my clients the best quality of care possible so they can have the best quality of life possible. I will give my heart, mind and soul to make sure that every child I provide care for knows he or she is loved. I will support the guardians, parents and siblings of my clients, recognizing that having an ill loved one places a strain on the entire family, and understanding that the most difficult type of grief is grieving for the loss of a loved one whilst he or she is still alive. I will communicate respectfully, effectively and consistently with my colleagues, even on bad days. And if that means I need to drink coffee sometimes, so be it. I will respect the cultural and religious beliefs and preferences of any client I am privileged to serve. I will continue to learn and grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally and psychologically so that I can be at my best, thus enabling myself to make the most difference in my world. I will not impose my religious beliefs on anyone, but I will be willing to share with anyone who asks.
(This is a recent photo of a day on campus.)
In closing, I would like to acknowledge each of my classmates for being a part of my journey. I look forward to seeing where life takes each of us. And to all of my professors and clinical instructors, thank you. Through your dedication and willingness to teach us, you have increased the impact of your own lives on the world. I promise to make you proud.