Light at the End of the Tunnel

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By Emily Dawes, Accel. ’14

525_Emily Dawes

Emily Dawes

Students come to the School of Nursing from so many different backgrounds that often the first thing that binds us together is a feeling of being fish out of water. As we learn, work, succeed, and yes, struggle under the demands of a Hopkins education, we form other bonds as friends, study buddies, and colleagues. Then, soon, many of us will return to wherever we came from, set out to discover new places, or settle in Baltimore, a place we have come to call home, and go about our business as nurses.

What will bind us then? As members of the Student Government Association, we decided that we wanted to create a moment of reflection on what brought us all to the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. The general consensus was: We all want to be exceptional nurses and join the legacy of brilliant nurses who have come from this Institution. We want to continue the legacy of excellence in clinical practice, education, leadership, and research. The discussion turned to nursing traditions, and we decided upon a “Lighting of the Lamp” ceremony to bind our cohort together and seize this special moment as we embark on the final semester of our BS program. The lamp symbolizes the tradition of nurses carrying a lamp to care for patients after dark, but also our many late nights studying.

We are almost there. We can take a deep breath and reassure ourselves and one another that July 18 is quickly approaching, and shortly we will all begin our own journeys. However, no matter where we go, we will always be bonded together as Hopkins Nurses. The pin is a way to remind us that as Hopkins Nurses we always strive to be better. We’re no longer fish out of water, but we’re all still in this together.

Our amazing professors and instructors have welcomed us into a profession they hold so dear. The summer cohort faculty adviser, Nasreen Bahreman, has been there especially to support us and encourage us every step of the way. When Dean Patricia Davidson lit the candles for our cohort and together we stood in the flicker of their light, it was an indescribable moment of pride in everything that we had accomplished to date.

As a newcomer herself, Dean Davidson has inspired us to seek and set new traditions that we hope will inspire future generations to reflect upon their nursing school journeys.

You can’t force a tradition into existence. Like a flame, it must be tended. We must entrust the Lighting of the Lamp ceremony to the next cohort of nursing students and hope that they carry on as a tradition a moment that was so special for our class. My great wish is that all who come through the Hopkins School of Nursing program will share a moment like we did that evening, and remember it always.

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