What will be your legacy? That is the question ANA President Karen Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, challenged graduates to consider in her commencement address at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing on May 10. The event represented the first time in the university’s history that the school of nursing hosted its own commencement ceremony.
“As the next generation of nurse leaders, it is you who will be creating tomorrow’s legacies for nursing and health care,” Daley said. “I believe that leadership and legacies are tied to pursuit of your passions and that each of you has the potential to create one in your career.”
Daley highlighted the legacies of three contemporary nurse leaders as exemplars, including school of nursing Dean Michael Evans, PhD, RN, FAAN. Evans also serves as president of the American Nurses Credentialing Center, an ANA subsidiary that promotes excellence in nursing and health care globally through credentialing programs.
“It won’t always be easy,” Daley acknowledged. “At times, staying focused on why you became a nurse will be outright difficult. It is exactly at those times when it is most important to remember the legacy you want to leave behind.”
Daley also gave advice based on her own leadership experiences. She urged graduates not to be satisfied with the status quo, to be willing to take risks and to practice self-care.
Daley closed by telling graduates that they are entering or returning to practice at a “critical juncture in health care.” She encouraged graduates to take advantage of openings to be a force for positive change.
“Don’t be afraid to envision and embrace your legacy,” she said. “It begins for you today.”
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