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Nursing Graduates Reflect on Their Profession During a Global Health Crisis

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Anna Tada says finishing nursing school is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done. But she’s proud of herself and fellow graduates in Cal State Fullerton’s Class of 2021 for crossing the finish line to join one of the hardest-hit professions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have had the privilege of learning alongside a cohort full of outstanding individuals who have repeatedly demonstrated resilience, determination and commitment in the field of nursing,” shared Tada. “Behind all the smiles and laughter we share today, we shall not forget the challenges and tears we faced behind closed doors. I see you, and I celebrate all of you for never giving up.”

This year’s graduates participated in a virtual pinning ceremony, marking the completion of their bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit hospital sites particularly hard,” said Tada. “With sudden adjustments to online learning, clinicals turned into Zoom simulations and the inability to see classmates in person was challenging to say the least.

“But through the adversity, our class’ collective achievement has been uplifting each other in kindness, empathy and academic discipline. I am confident that every one of us will walk out of this nursing program with the Titan ability to persevere through the most difficult of challenging situations.”

Helen Dinh, another nursing graduate, thanked faculty, staff, friends and family for supporting students on their educational journeys.

“To our family and loved ones who have undergone countless blood pressure readings, bore the brunt of our anxiety and stress, fed and caffeinated us, we thank you,” said Dinh. “To our friends who continued to stay by our sides when we went missing during nursing school, listened to our hospital stories about how we changed the dressing on the gnarliest decubitus ulcer or how we got that foley inserted in one shot, we thank you.”

Dinh also addressed the deep impact of the pandemic on students pursuing careers in health care. “We were isolated from our community, worried for our loved ones and afraid for the future. But each of us here today has persevered and made it to the end of our bachelor’s in nursing education.”

She challenged fellow graduates: “Do not let the fear of failure stop you from taking on challenges and paving your own path. From failure we gain knowledge and experience. From knowledge and experience, we gain confidence and success.”

Lynn Juliano