Last week the many nurses around the world celebrated Nurse’s Week. I celebrated Nurses Week by graduating nursing school! It was a week filled with ceremonies, a management shift, and planning a graduation party. It was a week in my life that I will never ever forget, and the love and congrats I received from all of my family and friends was overwhelming.
The week started with a graduation tea and ceremony on Monday with my clinical group. The ceremony was held at Morton Plant Hospital and after a few tearful speeches from some nursing greats, Dr. George Morris, my fellow nursing graduates, and myself, we were presented with lab coats and a pen. Afterwards, we took pictures, enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and relished in our accomplishments. It was the start of the many celebrations of the week. Doug, the girls, and I had our own little celebration and went to dinner following the ceremony.
On Thursday, my nursing graduate friends and I celebrated the completion of nursing school by attending the pinning ceremony held at Indian Rocks Baptist Church from 2pm-5pm. A pinning ceremomy is a special “extra” celebration to honor nursing graduates into the nursing profession. Each nursing graduate receives an RN pin to remember the special day.
I woke up early on Thursday because I couldn’t sleep. I was too excited with the meaning that day held for me. I have desired to be a nurse since I was a little girl. There were a few changes to my course along the way, and those changes and turns along a different path, I don’t regret. Those side roads have shaped me into the person and nurse I am today. To finally be at the point in which I would be celebrating the completion of nursing school was not only overwhelming for me, but filled me with so many different emotions that morning, and actually every morning since.
That morning I dropped the girls off at school, and then headed to Starbuck’s for my favorite drink, a cappuccino. I was greeted with lots of congrats from the barista’s behind the counter, and my capp along with Doug’s coffee was on the house. I even noticed a little “Congratulations” note sharpied onto my coffee cup.
In addition to the cheers from the barista’s, I received congrats from my neighborhood and Starbuck’s friends. So many of them have witnessed the long journey I’ve taken to accomplish my goal. They were there with me at Starbuck’s on those early 5am mornings, watching me study and read. They were the ones who cheered me on, and asked me the infamous question, “how much longer?”, as we all counted down to what (at the time) seemed like an eternity til graduation. These are true friends though, because they’d never stop to chat or say hi if they knew I was studying something important like the heart or neuro. They’re smart too, because they know that I need to know this material well, if I’ll be there nurse someday ; ) Ha.
With the continuation of my morning and the closer I got to the time of the pinning ceremony, the more emotional I became, which made me realize I should try and eat something. With my indecisiveness and anxiousness, I almost forgot to eat, but then Doug showed up with a hot sandwich and a tea.
I got the girls early from school, and then we headed home to get ready. It was time to dress in my white scrub dress, white tights and white heels. I’m disappointed in myself for not taking the time to purchase a white nurse hat. It’s my only regret of the day.
As the girls and Doug finished getting ready I headed out early and drove to my celebration destination. When I arrived at the church, I was met by my other beautiful white dressed friends. We gave each other excited hugs, making sure not to pass makeup onto one another’s perfectly white attire.
Slowly, our friends and family arrived. We snapped some shots, and then got into a long line for the beginning of the ceremony, a procession of new nurse graduates walking down the aisle with proud smiles and tearful eyes. The only other time I was that excited to walk down the aisle in white was the day I married Mr. Webber. Actually, I take it back, nothing can come close to the day I married that man.
Many of us wanted to see the people we love so much, our friends and families who cheered us on, and you could tell this by the way we scanned the auditorium for recognition of their faces. I searched for my family but couldn’t find them, and that made me anxious, until I got the text from my mom describing their location. At that point I could focus on what was happening in front of me.
There were many speeches, including a lovely speech from my friend Kris. All the words that came from the podium brought tears to my eyes, and a kind of excitement and respect for the profession I chose.
Then it was time for the “pinning”. One by one each clinical group made their way onto the stage to receive their nurse pin and a photo with their clinical instructor. I’m so glad I didn’t tumble down the stairs in my heels on my way down from the stage.
When the pinning was complete, we recited the Florence Nightingale pledge, and vowed to maintain the highest standards and practice of the nursing profession.
Then the ceremony concluded, and a sea of white uniformed new grads made their way out of the auditorium in search of family and friends. I was greeted by Doug and the girls, my parents, Gigi and Pepa, my sisters, cousin Kristen, and my Aunt Wendy. They handed me too many flowers to hold, and gift bags. It was wonderful. There was a reception in the back hall, but there were many stops along the way to snap pictures and accept congrats. With that, we decided it was time to go.
We then headed to a post party for my fiend Ali, where we celebrated again. We were all so tired when we arrived home, so we ordered in and feel asleep on the couch early. All of the emotions and excitement of the day wore me out.
The next morning I awoke to a letter in a journal that my sister gifted me with. There was not only a beautiful letter from my sister, but Sara had written the most lovely letter to me in that journal as well, a letter that brought tears to my eyes once again.
I shed a lot of tears during Nurses Week, and they were tears of joy and gratitude.
Thanks to Mr. Webber for all your love and support, during the past (very busy) few years. Thanks for taking care of me when I didn’t take care of me, for the warm meals after long days, and for always having a glass of wine waiting for me by the front door after a long 12 hour shift. You’re amazing.
Thanks to my beautiful daughters Sara and Soph for your love and support and for the hugs and kisses on the days that I cried. Thanks for letting me practice dressing changes on your little legs, and for being my “patients” as I practiced skills anxiously and repetitively during the first 2 semesters (no worries, I did not attempt IV skills on them…no harm done to innocent children).
Thanks to all my friends and family for your endless help and support, and for understanding during my absence the past few years, as I focused on my family and my end goal of becoming a nurse.
Thanks to the beautiful people I met in nursing school, who are family to me now. You guys inspire me. I love you guys so much, and can’t wait to work together as nurses someday soon.
I’m so grateful today.
I can’t wait to write about my graduation party that Doug threw for me Saturday night. I have to conclude here though because I think that post will take me 8 hours to write. I want to capture every moment of that night, because it was one of the best nights of my life!