To the Graduates of Nursing, 2020

Written by: Ashley Bulley, PSW, RN, BScN, MScN

To the new grad who isn’t sure they want to be a nurse right now.

To the new grad who’s afraid to take a job on a temporary license.

To the new grad who feels obligated to do just that.

To the new grad who’s afraid to enter practise in these stressful times with the already stressful transition to independent practise.

To the new grad who isn’t sure they have the right to their voice yet.

To the new grad who won’t get their preceptorship.

To the new grad who won’t get to traditionally graduate.

To the new grad who isn’t sure they want to succeed on their registration exam, after all.

To the new grad who is supposed to get married soon.

To the new grad with loved ones on the front lines.

To the new grad who had to cancel that celebration trip.

To the new grad who took on PSW work and is already exposed.

To the new grad who hasn’t hugged or kissed their family in weeks.

To the new grad who has no childcare but must report to work.

To the new grad who is pregnant and afraid.

To the new grad who is immunocompromised and doesn’t know what to do.

To the new grad who is watching others defy social distancing recommendations.

To the new grad second guessing their plans for entry to practise.

To the new grad who has been denied COVID- testing.

To the new grad who only sheds tears in the shower so that it can drain with the water.

To the new grad who is terrified of operating a ventilator.

To the new grad realizing the real life implications of those social determinants of health.

To the new grad trying to educate their family members.

To the new grad worried about finding their voice and needing to potentially advocate for themselves AND their patients.

To the new grad who will be called in for shifts onto floors they’ve never been to; fives times each day.

To the new grad terrified of those charts: Contact. Droplet. Airborne.

To the new grad who feels like they don’t deserve to be there.

To the new grad who will start out with no sick days, PTOs and a fear of calling in ‘sick’.

To the new grad who doesn’t know if they should study or sew themselves a mask.

To the new grad who wonders if their inexperience will be used as leverage.

To the new grad who has yet to perform CPR.

To the new grad who has yet to experience death.

To the new grad who will be scared to ask for help.

To the new grad who is thinking about quitting.

To the new grad who doesn’t know their rights vs. their Professional obligations.

To the new grad wanting to go back to the comfort of first year when it was all so easy.

To the new grad who wants to be retested on PPE.

To the new grad who will learn that some NCLEX rules may well not apply in an active pandemic.

To the new grad who has been told they ‘signed up for this’.

To the new grad struggling with being labelled essential.

To the new grad who realizes the public did not truly know what nurses, “do,” until now.

To the new grad feeling a desire to wait this out.

To the new grad who can feel their spirit breaking.

To the new grad who is not being offered mental health support.

To the new grad who has been referred to as, “just a nursing student.”

To the new grad who wonders if this is how they treat, “heroes.”

For years you’ve waited to write those initials beside your name. Never before have they been so meaningful. So powerful. So admired.

To the Graduates of Nursing, 2020:
We feel your uncertainties. We feel your heart.
We will show up for you.
You are us. We are you. We are ONE NURSE.

You deserve to be here. Nursing has never needed you more. This does not cast shadow on your accomplishments.

Never again will you be, “just a nursing student.”