On Sunday, April 26, 2015 Florida National University held its Spring 2015 Commencement Ceremony in the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami, FL. The keynote speaker was State Representative Daphne Campbell.
From a humble beginning in Haiti, Rep. Campbell came to the United States as a Registered Nurse and later became a Member of the Florida House of Representatives from the 108th district. Her dedication to the nursing profession and to helping minorities serve as a living example of her passion. She is an inspiration to all.
Here is her speech in its entirety.
Three years ago I was asked to give the graduating commencement speech for a Nursing School. Afterwards, I remember talking with many new nurses and parents who were very inspired by my speech. Knowing that this is the time of year again for new graduates, I wanted to share that speech with you to hopefully inspire you too as you begin your journey.
Before I begin speaking to all of you, I would first like to say my thanks. Thank you to Florida National University’s President (Maria Cristina Regueiro), the administration, Maria C Hoffman (Student Services Officer), Cassandra Milien (Assistant Director of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program) and the faculty who invited me here today. Thank you to the parents who are here celebrating with your children. Thank you to the graduates and the accomplishments that they are sure to make in their future.
It is such an honor to be here with all of you today. I once sat in the same chairs as you; excited, scared, and beyond optimistic. But even in my optimism I didn’t envision standing here in front of all of you today.
Today I stand here as one of the last teachers you may have in a College or University. I have advice for those of you who are about to venture out into the world.
First Lady Michelle Obama gave a commencement speech at the University of California some time ago. Here is how she started and how I would like to begin. “Remember that you are blessed. Remember that in exchange for those blessings, you must give something back.” She then QUOTED Marian Wright Edelman (she is a livelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans) who said, “‘Service is the rent we pay for living…it is the true measure, the only measure of success.’” I can’t think of a better profession that truly amplifies these QUOTESthan nursing. And so, I can’t think of a better way for you all to start your journey into professional nursing thinking about the blessed role you play in servicing others.
As a nurse, we are expected to care more about our patients than we do for ourselves. As a nurse, we are inconvenienced every day that we go to work. As a nurse, it is an expectation that we go above and beyond for our patients and sometimes their families at the expense of our own needs.
But, I promise you this…the blessings you give to your patients will be returned to you tenfold. You have an incredible opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life every day that you go to work.
How do we impact the lives of our patients? We impact their lives with our voice. Nurses have power in their voice and when we execute that power, we can change the course of somebody’s life. There is talk that nurses do not feel they have a voice – that they don’t have any power and are helpless to create change. How many of you have heard other nurses adopt that type of defeatist attitude? Let me share a statistic with you. There are approx. 600,000 physicians in this country – but there are more than 3.1 million nurses. Just imagine if we all got on the same agenda – creating a healing environment of our patients and a healthy work environment for each other?
Although my experience is with the nursing field, I am also familiar with many other professions and this is my message to all of you. As you begin your journey into the professional world, I want you to remember that you are blessed and that you do have a voice. It’s not enough to have a voice but you need to exercise it. Get involved. Once you are through the torture chamber of finding a job, going through the orientation process and finally getting into a rhythm, I want you to kick it up a notch. Get involved. How do you get involved, read the literature, ask questions, challenge the status quo, join a professional organization, sit on a committee that is action oriented, GO BACK to school. Only by getting involved and having a voice can you truly be change agents and advocates.
As a State Representative in the great State of Florida for 3 terms now, as a voice for all of you in Tallahassee, as a mother and parent, as a Lawmaker, I can tell you how many bills I am the Sponsor or Prime Co-Sponsor for in Tallahassee which are laws in the State of Florida
Let me Begin:
HB 335: Psychiatric Nurses: Requires psychiatric nurses to hold national advanced practice certification as psychiatric mental health advanced practice nurse; authorizes such nurses to approve release of individuals from receiving facility after involuntary examination under certain circumstances. This bill passes last Thursday unanimously and sent to Governor Scott for signing into law
HB 479: MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: This is already law since 2011
HB1195: Involuntary Examinations under the Baker Act: Authorizes physician assistants & advanced registered nurse practitioners to initiate involuntary examinations under Baker Act of persons believed to have mental illness.
HB 413: Physical Therapy: Authorizes physical therapist to implement physical therapy treatment plans of specified duration which are developed by physical therapist or provided by practitioner of record or ARNP.
HB 323: Pharmacy : Revising the composition of the Board of Pharmacy; increasing the number of Registered pharmacy technicians which a licensed pharmacist may supervise; authorizing pharmacists to administer meningococcal and shingles vaccines under certain circumstances; requiring written prescriptions for specified controlled substances to be legibly dated in a specified format, etc.
HB 819: Department of Health: clarifies DOH duties to maintain confidentiality of certain patient records; authorizes licensees under investigation to inspect or receive copies of certain patient records; revises certain fees & rates; revises certain continuing education requirements for Board of Medicine licensees; revises provisions related to professions including certified nursing assistants, dental laboratory operators, midwives, registered dietitians, Nursing home administrators, & massage therapy apprentices; requires health care provider to continue to be agent for specified period after ineligibility.
HB 1059:Nursing Education Programs: Requires graduates of approved pre-licensure nursing education programs who do not take licensure examination within specified period after graduation to complete specified course; exempts nurses who are certified by accredited program from continuing education requirements; revises requirements related to clinical training; revises calculation of required graduate passage rate for approved programs; provides additional requirements for remediation plan; authorizes board to extend probationary status for program that has demonstrated adequate progress toward its graduate passage rate goal; provides for recalculation of passage rates when students are transferred from terminated program; requires nursing education programs that prepare students for practice of professional nursing to be accredited.
These are all the bills today who are now laws or about to be laws in the state of Florida
Therefore, First! Always do your best – Always put your best foot forward because you never know who will be watching you. The person beside you could be the next CEO of the company that you would like to work for and because of your actions today, it might help you to get hired by that company.
Second, never lose your optimism – Never lose the feeling that you can change the world because inherently you can. I was born in another country, but through hard work and optimism I was able to not only make it out of my country, but succeed and change the lives of many that are here today.
Third, Always be open to opportunity – When I first began my career as a nurse, I never saw myself going into politics. I never saw myself being a Florida State Representative, but because I followed my first two notes of advice, working hard and staying optimistic, I was able to be elected by a great number of voters, and make effective and better changes for those who reside not only within my district, but throughout the state of Florida.
Remember! Life will not always be easy. Similar to your experiences with college, you will face difficulties, whether it is financial or personal, but nothing is impossible to overcome or to make it through. As you are sitting here, realize that you all have made a huge accomplishment and have made a huge step closer to your ultimate goals.
To the parents, I am the parent of five beautiful children who make me proud everyday by just waking up and breathing so I know the true feeling of pride that you have.
To the graduates, after you walk out these doors you will all be true champions of your profession.
So to the 2015 Florida National University I extend my most sincere felt congratulations.