National Nurse’s Week in the US is May 6th to May 12th. The week honors Florence Nightingale’s birthday which is on May 12th. Nightingale is known as the founder of modern nursing. It’s been 38 years since I graduated from Nursing School at Vanier College Nursing School in Montreal, Quebec. My undergraduate degree was in Health Administration and Journalism.
I took three years off to work as a dental hygienist only to acknowledge my fascination with the medical field. I applied for and was accepted into a three-year RN degree and enjoyed every moment of the program, which seemed to go too quickly.
My Life’s Turning Point
As the eldest student in my graduating class, I was asked to be the Class Valedictorian at graduation. While hesitant at first, it turns out that moment was a huge turning point in my life. As a shy girl in her early 20s, I realized I had an innate comfort with public speaking. My family listening in the audience sat in awe of my message and charisma.
Looking back, I realize the experience highlighted my power as a leader. The experience gave me confidence and the belief that with intention we can accomplish whatever we want to accomplish. Less than one year after graduation, I was offered a position as Director of Nursing of a Chronic Care Hospital. I held the position until I was summoned to bed rest with my first daughter.
After my children grew up, I yearned for more schooling, and received my MFA in Writing and years later, my PhD in Psychology. Yes. I am an education junkie, but during all my schooling I have always harbored a love for writing and leadership. Now, as both a writer and a teacher, I empower people with my words.
I recently shared my Valedictorian Speech with my niece, who was inspired by my life as a nurse and now has a high-ranking nursing position in obstetrics and gynecology. We agreed that not much has changed in the nursing world in the past four decades, except that nurses are given more and more responsibilities.
After she read my speech, she said that my message resonated and continued to linger with her in her own practice. What else can a sexagenarian baby boomer writer ask for?