On behalf of the graduating class of 2017, I say welcome and thank you all so much for coming to celebrate this milestone with us.

To all of us grads, I say a huge congratulations for making it this far. Through the literal blood, sweat and tears, and other various bodily fluids, we’ve survived our first year of being RN’s – real nurses.

I’d say the new graduate year has been a year of rising. Rising to the occasion when you think you’re out of your depth, heart rates rising when your patient has chest pain (and now suddenly you’re the one who’s tachycardic, diaphoretic and nauseous), your preceptor’s eyebrows rising when you mess up something supposedly simple, and not to mention those rising cortisol levels when trying to get our assignments done in time while attempting to maintain that work-life balance (which I’m still not entirely sure exists).

Undoubtedly, our confidence has risen, our knowledge has increased. Our hearts rise when we receive smiles and thanks from patients and their families because they’re genuinely grateful for our care.

And of course, it has been a great year of learning. Learning how to master that clinical skill you always thought was kind of daunting as a student (and now you feel like a boss every time you do it), learning how to deal with all types of people, and learning about yourself too, like that you’ve got more resilience than you thought you did. And a bigger bladder.

And so we’ve come a long way, fellow graduates. While we recognise that we’ve reached a milestone, this is still the beginning of a journey. One that I am sure will contain opportunities for more rising and more learning.

So I’d like to say a huge thank you to those who have supported us in the journey so far: to our preceptors and senior colleagues, for their continual support and patience with us. And to our charge nurse managers, for the other kind of ‘patients’ and trusting us with them, we’re really grateful you hired us. Also to our lovely tutors – thank you so much for your guidance, advice and encouragement.

A shout-out to the PHC tutors, who had to drive all across town through traffic but still always arrived with big smiles, even to the Northland clinics (I mean, now that’s patience!). Thank you to our friends and families, for always being there through the ups and downs, and listening to our stories involving the other various bodily fluids – which I’m sure you really appreciated hearing over dinner.

And finally, thank you to my fellow graduates. For being there to share in our stresses about upcoming deadlines and ‘challenging’ patients, and for laughing through the hilarious and embarrassing moments – oh, the joys of nursing.

We’re always there for one other, so keep in touch, and keep supporting each other.

Aimee Lowe was the primary healthcare class representative for last year’s Waitemata DHB NETP (Nursing entry to practice) programme. She is a practice nurse at an Auckland GP clinic.


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