Sunday, 16 March 2008, 6.00pm
Pro-chancellor; Vice-chancellor; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; and fellow graduands. It is a tremendous honour to be given the opportunity to formally acknowledge our achievement, to express gratitude to those who supported us as we worked towards this moment and to celebrate the importance of the profession we have chosen.
I stand here this evening looking out upon my fellow graduate-nursing colleagues and I am immediately struck by our apparent diversity. Wehave all come from varied educational, employment and cultural backgrounds and from this we brought together the variety of skills and abilities which made studying at Edith Cowan such a rewarding and memorable experience.
By being encouraged to work together in the pursuit of a common goal we created a social environment that reflects caring, the element that lies at the heart of nursing. I say without hesitation that had it not been for the continued support of my colleagues and members of staff it is unlikely that I would have been motivated enough to overcome obstacles arising from the commitments of full time study, work and family. Over the course of the degree I have seen colleagues face cancer scares, rise to the challenge of study during pregnancy and caring for a new infant, experience loss and grieving. We were able to lean on one another and provide encouragement at times when we wondered if it wasreally worth it.
When it comes to universities I feel that I can speak with some authority as over the years and at various stages of my career, I have attended most Western Australian campuses but until now had never studied anything to completion. I recall one of my first tutorials at a university (that will remain nameless) where the tutor asked each student what they hoped to gain from the unit. I responded that I hoped that the unit would inspire me to think only to be asked what exactly I meant by this. As was usual for me, it was not long before there was a parting of ways.
Looking back I realise now that the Bachelor of nursing degree at Edith Cowan University has done so much more than simply provide us with prerequisite knowledge for entry onto the nursing profession. By fostering learning through self discovery we have each developed adeep sense of self awareness, been provided with the skills necessary to take risks and trust our decisions. The ability to overcome personal,professional and academic obstacles has provided us with the foundation needed to be able to deal with the physical, intellectual andemotional challenges that we will face on a daily basis in our new careers.
We truly have been inspired to think for ourselves (hopefully before speaking for ourselves). This level of self awareness has not only mademe an effective practitioner, it has made me a better person and I hope that the friendships that have seen us through the challenges of academia will flow on into the work force; to both reflect and create the kind of work environments that attract newcomers to the profession and keep nurses in nursing.
Thank you and good-luck.