By: Nia Adimu-Ceja Josiah, MSN (Entry Into Nursing), 2020
“Man is a rope, tied between beast and Superman-a rope over an abyss.”
– Friedrich Nietzche
This is a message of empowerment that speaks to the ethos of each graduate. It is a challenge to ignite the power from within on your process of self-discovery— to unleash your Superhero.
It’s in us because we are committed to saving lives. And we have the indubitable duty to employ our advocacy, exercise our voice, prevent wide-spread illness, and protest against injustice and inequality. For we stand on the nursing principles of benevolence, empathy, autonomy, and justice. In a moment of uncharted and tense global adversity, your inner superhero is a testament to your resilience and ability to persevere, empowered by your individual beauty, courage, and fortitude through wreckage.
So what are our nursing superpowers—outside of bladder control?
We became healers when we learned the therapeutic properties of conversation, touch, and empathy at the bedside.
We can locate a vein to start an IV on a severely dehydrated patient with no tourniquet.
We completed tough courses like Pathophysiology and Pharmacology while juggling clinical, employment, and sometimes parenthood—on little to no sleep. (Social life where?)
Our heightened sense of intuition means we can detect something strange and prevent an acute episode, even when lab work values read normal on an asymptomatic patient.
Many of us come from backgrounds outside of health care. I am a former Division I athlete; among my cohort, there is a former Cirque du Soleil performer, a former Alaskan fisherman, a flight attendant, an athletic trainer for USA gymnastics, a Deputy Field Director for the Obama Administration, a number of former Peace Corps volunteers… and the list goes on.
When duty calls, we stay late for inclement weather, even after working three twelve-hour shifts.
Recently, we have been endowed with a hazmat suit and gloves, N95 mask, face shield and boot covers—the tools to combat a deadly virus.
But the most impressive superpower yet is our ability to Fly—to transcend arduous feats and defy the odds.
We flew —when our conventional ways of thinking were challenged and our moral compasses recalibrated in classes like Community Outreach, Ethics, Professionalism, and Health Promotion.
We flew —when we rose to the challenge of endless group papers and projects, and the ATI practice tests to prepare for NCLEX .
We flew —when we persevered through grueling tutoring and writing sessions with the Academic Success Center (you’d think I’d have a second Master’s after all the time I put in!)
We flew —When we attended classes, studied and took tests while our building was under construction, our Jays café was demolished, and we said a sorrowful goodbye to Jay’s Nora and Chris.
We flew —When our in-person education stopped, and we transitioned seamlessly to remote learning, virtual clinicals, and now graduation.
Against the odds together we flew and we continue to fly, higher and higher, soaring above life’s obstacles.
Although I will sorely miss the allies in our faculty and among our colleagues, and most of all Officer Mobley’s warm morning greetings, I know each of us have our own purpose to realize in the quest to soar in our respective fields.
In this next chapter of our careers, remember the oath we took to do no harm, to protect patient’s safety and to exercise patient advocacy. Embody the values of Florence Nightingale but also of Mary Seacole, the often forgotten, 18th century Black nurse, as both were heroines of the Crimean War and worked tirelessly to modernize medicine.
We must rise to the challenge to better ourselves. We must strive to go beyond what is expected in the call of duty. We must check our implicit biases, microaggressions, and privilege to serve the greater whole. We must remove the barriers in health care to ensure equality, equity and justice is served.
I challenge you on your process of self-discovery to ignite the power from within—and unleash your Superhero.
Graduating class of 2020 may you SOAR!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nia Adimu-Ceja Josiah is a 2020 alumna of the MSN (Entry into Nursing) program. She was a member of the Black Student Nurses Association, the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee, and the Social Justice Action Team. Nia was a Palliative Care Research Assistant on the Hillman Research Study ICU team led by Dr. Rebecca Wright. She plans to further her education by earning a DNP (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner). Her interests include mental and behavioral health in underserved populations.