ACE BSN Pinning Speech: Yori Cozen
October 23, 2014
Yori Cozen, ACE BSN '14, delivered the following original speech on October 9, 2014, the evening of her pinning ceremony.
Hi, my name is Yori, and I’m going to be your NURSE today! Can you please tell me your name and your date of birth? Do you have any allergies? I’m just gonna verify that on your ID band, thank you!
I feel as though student speakers are supposed to impart some deep, lasting wisdom, or have a really moving story of overcoming adversity, or at least be really funny. I can’t promise any of that. I’m not here to give you job advice. At the ripe age of 23, I haven’t ever held a title that most people would label ‘career.’ However, I have- like all the graduates here- survived ACE. *pause* Excuse me, let me repeat that: WE SURVIVED ACE! *yay lots of cheers!*
So, despite my lack of career knowledge, I’m here to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my time at Drexel.
If given the choice, the answer is always: Airway, breathing, circulation. Green leafy vegetables. Massage the fundus. Check a second lead. Or say, “Tell me more about that.”
A huge lesson I’ve learned is to never leave your patient when something is going wrong. I certainly mean this in the most literal sense: when I spot ventricular fibrillation on the monitor or I see a prolapsed umbilical cord, I’m going to physically stay with my patient- but I think this can also be applied to other aspects of our lives. Nurses don’t run away, nurses see a challenge and respond, “Bring it on.” This certainly happened about a year ago when we were all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, eager to begin the Drexel ACE program. Naive as we may have been then, here we sit on the other side having conquered the first challenge in our nursing careers.
The next huge thing I’ve learned in ACE is to always, always, call for help when I’m in over my head. None of us has gotten to this point alone. I’d like to take a moment for our graduates to thank the people, both present and not present, who have brought us to this point.
Parents, children, siblings, spouses, significant others, grandparents, extended family, friends, co-workers, and any other loved one not otherwise mentioned: you’ve loved us through our most selfish year. I speak for everyone when we say we cannot be more thankful for your guidance and support. We may not have had the time to articulate it, and words will never truly do you justice, but we never would have gotten to this point alone.
To our inspiring staff and faculty members: again, we would be nowhere without your wisdom and guidance. Some were the warm, fuzzy type that would hug us and us send encouraging words on a rough day. Others gave us the tough love we needed to make us the best nurses we can be. Regardless of approach, you all worked for us and wanted to see us succeed. We are better nurses for being in your presence and gleaning their wisdom, and for that, we are endlessly thankful.
Finally, it’s time we thank each other. When spending so much time with a group of highly motivated, compassionate, intelligent, and genuine people, it’s tough not to love your peers. I’ve met some of the most inspiring people sitting right next to me in the classroom. From the long library study sessions, to exchanged study-guides, to flashcard quizzes during downtime at clinicals, I know that I could not have survived this program without the support of a wonderful cohort. I am truly honored to have been in the presence of you all throughout this year, so for that I thank you.
Now that I’m done my sappy “thank you” detour, let’s get back to lessons I’ve learned throughout my time as a Drexel ACE student.
I now know the medical term for various body parts, conditions, and secretions that I didn’t even know existed last year. Some of them I genuinely hope never to encounter in real life. Others, I already have.
It’s really important to know that sometimes a Phillies game is more important than class. Just once in a while.
I’m fairly certain that if there is ever an outbreak of smallpox, I will be having horrific flashbacks of our simulation lab and will be rendered completely useless in administering the vaccination. I hope for us all that there is neither an outbreak nor am I your nurse if there is. I would also like to take this opportunity to nominate the actors in that simulation for a Tony award.
The biggest compliment I have ever received as a nursing student was during a course evaluation at the conclusion of one of my clinical rotations. Amongst the standard feedback, my professor said to me, “Nursing needs you.” At the time, this struck me as odd. I had always thought of nursing as a profession that was fitting the needs of my lifestyle, not vice versa. We’re all entering the profession for different reasons. I ask you all to shift your perspective and consider this: as much as we want to be nurses for whatever reason, the profession needs us in return. Nursing needs new eyes, caring souls, different perspectives, and critically thinking minds. I’ve met you all, and I know what you have to offer. I’m confident that this room contains a new bunch of registered nurses that will push boundaries, establish innovative practices, and invigorate the ever-changing profession.
During our orientation, I was sitting amongst many of you having no clue what this program had in store for us. When asked to describe Drexel ACE, both staff and former students used the word ‘doable.’ I couldn’t believe that the most appropriate and comforting word that could be offered to incoming students was ‘doable.’ I’d like to offer a few different adjectives to you now.
Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting. You would be hard pressed to find any student in this room who can honestly claim they had a normal and healthy sleep cycle throughout this past year. I can safely diagnose the entire cohort with fatigue, anxiety, and stress overload related to sleep pattern disturbance, impaired social interaction, and imbalanced nutrition as evidenced by the bags still remaining under our eyes.
But at the same time, I would describe ACE as holistically invigorating. There’s nothing quite like a hug from a patient or a pat on the back from an instructor to help boost ones’ confidence. Just being here, having finished ACE, instills such an “I-can-do-anything!” mentality that there’s no denying the vitality ACE can provide.
Finally, I would describe ACE as strengthening. Honestly, I’ve only ever heard this adjective used to describe a nail polish formula. But I have met some of the smartest, kindest, and most generous people here. You have inspired me to be the best version of myself and always give 100% to my studies and practice. Truly, I am a stronger and better person and nurse for having met you all. Drexel ACE students, class of 2014, it has been my honor. To speak to you today, to meet you all throughout this past year, and to witness the amazing transformation we have all gone through. I know we have great things in store for us. Now go out and make Florence proud!