May 26, 2022
Commencement is a very exciting time at any time. It is particularly exciting this year, as we celebrate the accomplishments, perseverance, flexibility, and focus of our 2020, 2021, and 2022 graduating classes.
I congratulate all of you for having proved, beyond a doubt, that you have what it takes to be superb nurses. Your time at the UW School of Nursing was filled with challenges and changes. You responded by using to full advantage the very skills and knowledge that are the foundation for nurses who excel, whether they pursue careers as clinicians, researchers, or educators.
The country needs you, and I hope you find that part of the reward of being a nurse. There is unprecedented demand for nurses, and polls show that nursing remains the country’s most respected profession. This is a powerful incentive. It means you will be welcomed and respected wherever you choose to practice.
You are the future. You are the nurses who will be at the forefront of placing emphasis on wellness, rather than illness, and who understand why we must develop a far better understanding of population health in order to build a solid foundation for wellness.
Nursing is not the easiest job, but it is one of the most satisfying. You will be doing something that has real meaning. You will have the ability to change lives, ease discomfort, and speed healing. The care and empathy you provide will be an important part of the healing process.
I encourage you to always look for ways to lead at every level. You have the knowledge and preparation to lead in the workplace, and professionally. Make the fullest use of that preparation. Your leadership is urgently needed as we advocate for equitable access to healthcare, recognition of and action about the social determinants of health, and the need for improved wellness across the entire lifecycle. You are the nurses who will usher in a new era of nursing, where advocacy for social justice and excellence in clinical care stand as equals.
Each of you have my respect and admiration. I wish you every success in your career.