Anthony Pho — Graduation Speech

Anthony Pho
Anthony Pho

Greetings everyone – it’s nice to finally be one of the graduates!

First let me thank Dean Hill, Dean Jeffries, Dr. Stanik-Hutt and the graduates for the honor of speaking to you today. In the words of former president Franklin D. Roosevelt, I will try to “Be sincere, be brief and then be seated.”

As graduate students at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing our professors taught us much about the importance of research and biostatistics. Let us apply some of what we’ve learned to the graduating class who sit before you today.

N= 17 stratified as follows:
8 MSNs
6 MSN-MPHers
2 DNPs
1 PhD

11.8% male
88.2% female

Average number of years spent at the SON = 5.3 although with SD 50.4, as the upper limit of the sample was skewed when someone entered “a lifetime” into my spreadsheet.

Average age = <cough> <something> with a SD 8.2 Let’s just say we’re all old enough to be in graduate school and some of us are a little older and some are a little younger. Let’s just leave it at that!

Average amount of academic debt = SPSS was not able to calculate this number because it had too many zeroes and my laptop and my fragile emotional state just couldn’t handle it.

Average numbers of Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) due to fixing APA formatting on term papers = 9,989 years. To give you a sense of the magnitude, let’s just say that this exceeds the disease burden for cardiovascular disease in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – COMBINED.

Of course statistics never tell the full story. After all, it’s called BIOSTATISTICS, right?

We are more than just numbers and degrees.
We are military and peace corps
We are parents and preceptors
We are emergency medicine and primary care
We are pediatrics and geriatrics
We are midwives and public health
And indeed we are health care leaders

This diversity is the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Students here hail from all over the U.S. and global locations. They don’t just discuss problems. They organize and implement solutions. I am humbled when I think about the incredible individuals I’ve had the opportunity to sit next to and to learn from in this program.

We would be remiss if we did not also thank our many professors at the School of Nursing who have guided us to this day. Your wisdom is cherished and we thank you for sharing it with us. We thank you also for your patience and we ask forgiveness for our many incessant inquiries and requests for clarification about Blackboard and when grades will be posted.

I recently returned from Tanzania where I had the opportunity to work with some amazing advanced practice nurses. In fact, there are only eight masters-educated critical care nurses in all of Tanzania. It truly puts our opportunity for a graduate education in the U.S. into perspective.

I look to you, my colleagues and my friends, all 17 of you. Like the Tanzanian nurses — today – although we may be statistically insignificant, I believe we will be clinically significant for the rest of our careers. This is our charge as advanced practice nurses.

As we head into an election year, issues such as health care reform, social justice and health disparities will continue to dot the political and social landscape. Our voice, the voice of the advanced practice nurse will be critical in this dialogue. Nurses, after all, are the largest public health workforce in the world. Let’s make sure our unique and practical perspective is not lost in the rhetoric of partisan politics.

I can assure you all, biostatistics or not, that we are adequately powered and we are ready, to increase our effect size.

I leave you with a lyric from one of my favorite songs from the Tony award-winning musical, WICKED. My friends and colleagues, I can say without a doubt, “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

Thank you all for sharing this time with me. I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.

Congratulations class of 2011 – I wish you the best and I look forward to hearing about your many accomplishments in the years to come. Thank you.

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