The Hopkins Nurses sent into the world at the Academic Degree Completion Ceremony on July 18 will all have moments when they feel underappreciated in their new careers as caregivers. “Unfortunately, this comes with the territory,” School of Education Dean David W. Andrews, PhD, told members of the Accelerated Class of 2014.

Citing a strong bond and several similarities between teachers and nurses as “the foundation of the helping professions,” Andrews nonetheless noted that both “often are ignored by those we’re trying to help.”

What graduates can do is make sure they share their own appreciation with those who have helped them, supported them, and listened to them, Andrews said, quoting poet Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thus Andrews urged the nurses to embrace the creation of their “patient-by-patient legacy … because those who taught you and those who mentored you have decided that you are fully prepared to go out and simply make people feel better.”

In her speech to classmates, Baccalaureate Program Representative Samantha Austin (since “it wouldn’t be a graduation speech if someone didn’t mention Dr. Seuss”) told the story of the Lorax, a creature fighting to save the Truffulas from being cut down. “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees,” the creature says in the book.

“As nurses, we are the Lorax,” Austin insisted. “We speak for the trees. And being advocates for our patients is our most important role. We are the last stop before a medication error. We question unnecessary procedures. And we make sure our patients’ voices are being heard.”

Alum Julia Taylor, ’12 said nurses must continue to set goals for themselves, always find themselves working toward something, and, importantly, “Never lose the meaning of what you wrote in your admissions essay to Hopkins: Why nursing?”

Dean Patricia Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, opened the ceremony by taking a moment to thank the families and friends of the graduates: “Without your love and support in so many ways today would not be possible.”

Watch video of the July 2014 Academic Degree Completion Ceremony.