The following speech is given during the presentation ceremony of the graduates from the University of Wollongong in the degrees of Bachelor of Nursing (Conversion) and Master of Nursing on Sunday 23rd August 2009.
Good morning, Ms Susan Chapman, Professor Chicharo, Professor Crookes, Ms Brown, Professor Curtis, Dr Damachis, Dr Millward, Ms Davies, graduates, ladies and gentleman.
Firstly, let me congratulate the graduates. Today, we come together to celebrate your academic success and your effort to make your education happen. Neither of these are easy but you have accomplished them.
I regard graduation as a commencement of another milestone of one’s life. Now, you should regard yourself different, in terms of attitudes, judgement, values, analysis, and philosophy, not to mention being a holder of a prestigious degree. With the knowledge and theories with you, you should apply them into practice so that your practice is based on evidence, knowledge and theories.
You should become more independent in practice and assume more autonomy. Try to be more vocal and innovative, and put forth recommendations to improve the quality of our service. Be a brave advocate to uphold the quality and condemn the malpractice. Put resources to conduct research to advance our practice. Be a good role model for others to follow. I think you should be very proud of yourself and shall gain very good job satisfaction. With such, the public will give the highest regard for our profession.
In fact, nursing is indispensable in the health-care system. We provide round-the-clock service. We take up dynamic and crucial roles, for examples, clinician, manager, executive, infection control nurse, occupational safety and health officer, auditor, so on and so forth. From the education point of view, we have a very large number of PhDs and masters. We also have a very structured continuing education system and policy for nurses to pursue continuing education in a mandatory manner.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am very proud of myself being a member of the nursing profession; however, I feel embarrassed at times when there is news on the sub-standard of our service. Take the recent case of baby swap at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I really hope that it is only an isolated incident!
Fellow nurses, I am standing here to give the graduation speech not just because I am a nurse. I am more than a nurse because I am also a politician, a district council member and a volunteer for a very long time. I appeal for your participation in community affairs so that the voices of the nurses are better heard and we are better understood by the community.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am very confident that the nurses graduated today are of very high calibre because they are from a very renowned university in Australia. You can rely on them to provide the highest standard of service.
Moreover, I encourage all of them to prepare for another challenge, to have further study to get a master or doctorate degree for self-actualization and life-long education.
Once again, please join me to congratulate them of their lifetime success. Thank you!