Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Valedictorian Speech

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” -Wayne Dyer

     I just spent the past ten minutes staring at the heading to this post. It all seems so surreal to me. I'm still waiting to be pinched and wake up from it all. Nursing was always my DREAM. I remember fondly pretending to be a nurse when my grandfather was ill. I would bring him plastic fruit and pretend cups of water. He would call me his nurse. Even though a plastic apple a day couldn't keep the doctor is compassion that can help heal pain. Ever since I was a little girl I had the aspirations and the hope that one day I could fulfill my dream. Life happens and that dream was thrown in the back of my mind, hidden under sadness and the grind of everyday life survival. As a pregnant high school senior I was told to forget college and focus on working and making money. The loss of my son made it even harder for me to dig that dream back out. I worked for years in the insurance business working so very hard, never to be noticed, and loathing what I did. I was made to make an impact on the life of others...and I couldn't do that by sitting behind a desk collecting past due insurance premiums. It was a women's retreat at my best friends church that helped me dig out my dreams. I prayed and God spoke to me. Months later I started school....and here I am today. I am happy to say I will be continuing my education within the next 6 months to complete my RN
then my BSN....and I'm not stopping until I am a Nurse Practitioner. That is my dream and I have learned to NEVER bury my dreams again...

     Here is the speech I will be giving next week....

Good afternoon, honored guests, faculty, family, friends, and fellow nurses. I admit that I’m relieved to be surrounded by many nurses as I am currently experiencing tachycardia, tachypnea, and diaphoresis. I may have even thrown a few PVC’s. For everyone else in the audience, that translates as rapid heart rate, rapid respirations and profuse sweating. Allow me a moment to compose myself.

My name is Christina Zambrano and I feel so privileged to be speaking today on behalf of the Lincoln Technical Institute April 2014 graduates. I believe you will agree that in front of me today sit some of the most driven and intelligent men and women to be entering into the nursing profession.

Let me first start off by thanking everyone for being here to tonight for this momentous occasion. We would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts all of the people who made this day possible. Thank you for turning the tiny seeds that were once just our dreams and nurturing them into reality. Dr. Santucci, our DON, for all of the long hours you consistently put in to make sure we are getting the best education possible. Thank you for always having your door open and never giving up on us. Ms. Diese for all of the hard work she and others put in to make this beautiful ceremony possible. To each and every faculty member and instructor who shared with us all of their wisdom and experiences from their years as nurses, we thank you. It goes without saying that the instructors at LTI go above and beyond to help us become successful nurses and prepare us for our future careers. Every one of you have touched our lives in one way or another. Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank our family and friends who have supported us on this journey. It was you who were there for us through all of the ups and downs that come with nursing school. Your devotion, love, and encouragement is what motivate us to keep going even when we felt like we couldn’t go on anymore. Nursing school is not easy. We are told that in the very beginning during the interview process, but I don’t think any of us really had any idea. In the past 12 months, on top of our full day of lectures and/or clinical rotations, we had to prepare for the endless amount of exams. Sometimes two to three in one week! We had to lock ourselves in a room away from family to study. Life doesn’t stop when you are in nursing school so we also had to add in the factors of jobs, family, marriages, children, sickness and the daily grind that is life. We have missed family functions and social events, laundry piled up to the ceiling, and I don’t know about the rest of you but my husband is happy to not be eating grilled cheese multiple times a week anymore for dinner. We are eternally grateful to you all for the support you have given us.

Twelve months ago a group of strangers walked through the doors of LTI anxious and eager to see what the future would bring. In that group were some CNA’s, an EMT, administrative assistants, stay at home moms, and supervisors. Some were fresh out of high school whereas some of us hadn’t sat in a classroom in over ten years. For whatever reason on that day in April a group of mismatched strangers came together to follow their dreams and change their lives forever. Today, that group of strangers stand before you together as a family[CZ1] . The relationships that we have built in the past 12 months are some of the strongest bonds you will ever see. Together we have laughed and together we have cried. We scarfed down our lunches while discussing topics that would make an outsider nauseated. We have broken into more cars than a criminal and with more precision than Mcguever. (Let’s just say it usually involved blood pressure cuffs and a fishing rod- because someone locked their keys in the car.) We have spent long nights at work only to spend long days in class. We have shared wonderful news of babies on the way and the sad news of the passing of loved ones. This past year we have learned so much. Some things we learned are that the ABC’s are not just a children’s song but they stand for something much more important. That is airway, breathing and circulation. And who can forget Ms. Redden drilling into us about perfusion, perfusion, perfusion. I believe, however, that the most important thing we learned this year is about compassion. This is one of the values that is of the utmost importance when being a nurse. We as nurses will make an impact every single day in the lives of people in our community. We are the voice of the voiceless and the advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves. We should realize that even by helping one person, we are making a difference and we are making the world a better place one patient at a time. Some of us may enter the field and some of us may be continuing on in our education, but we all share one thing in common, we are all nurses and we all made it.

I would like to end this speech with one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou. "They may forget your name but they will never forget how you made them feel." Every single day when you are working always remember this quote for we can make a difference one patient at a time.

Thank you.