June 10, 2019
Graduation: The End of the Beginning
Congratulations to our 2019 School of Nursing graduates. You’ve all walked a long and challenging educational path to get where you are today, whether that’s a BSN, ABSN, Masters, PhD, or DNP degree. You deserve enormous respect for having stayed the course (and passed the courses!).
There is an understandable tendency to think of graduation as being the end—the end of coursework, the end of tests, the end of papers and preceptors. Yet it is really just the end of the beginning. Whether an undergraduate or a graduate student, the degree you are being awarded signifies that a major educational phase has concluded. But step back and view your career in context and you will see that you are crossing a threshold rather than closing a door. The beginning phase of your career—the preparation to be a nurse leader—is concluding. But the larger and longer part of your career lies just beyond the threshold.
The opportunities before you are boundless. In becoming a nurse, you step into one of America’s most respected professions. You inherit the immense goodwill and trust established by all the nurses who’ve gone before you. And you join the profession at a time when the options and opportunities are many multiples of what they were a generation or even a decade ago. You can be a clinician, researcher, manager, administrator, executive, policy maker, or consultant. You can find your place in a large urban area or a rural community; you will be a welcome addition to either.
While graduation is the end of the beginning, don’t let it be the end of your education. You are entering a profession where the only constant is change. Medical knowledge is being advanced every day (much of it by nurse researchers). Technology is rapidly changing the tools at our disposal, while adding complexity to our jobs. Collaboration across disciplines, borders, and other traditional barriers is becoming the standard of care. We leave you at the threshold. From this point forward, you are responsible for continuing to educate yourself so you remain current and capable.
This is a very exciting time to be a nurse. Your knowledge and skills are wanted, in demand, and respected. You leave us with a strong foundation that we hope has fostered compassion, competence and commitment to having an impact on all the lives you will touch.
Congratulations. You’ve done well. Please stay connected with the School through our website and social media presence. Now go forth and do good.