Nurses, the soul of the healthcare centers

Last Sunday I had the honour of participating as the keynote speaker in the graduation of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University of Valencia’s 17th year of nursing. It was a very moving ceremony and it filled me with pride addressing the new nursing professionals, one of which was one of my children. They are very well prepared and, above all, they are eager to demonstrate that their profession is vocational and that they want to take care of our health from now on.

You can see my speech below.

Dean, Vice-Dean, members of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University’s teaching staff and educational community, and especially new GRADUATES and their families who are following us at home.

It is an honour to address you as the keynote speaker at the CEU Cardenal Herrera University of Valencia’s 17th year of nursing graduates.

Dear nursing graduates.

Today is a day filled with emotion and one in which I share the happiness of both what you have accomplished and what you represent as professionals within the nursing group to which you have joined as of today. For these reasons, I want to express my sincere congratulations and appreciation.

Today you have come to the end of your initial preparation in this great profession and have reached the finish line. Carry out your profession and your vocation with bravery and limitless devotion. But my duty as THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER is to tell you that, in practice, TODAY IS NOT THE END OF ANYTHING, BUT RATHER THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING. The start of the route that you have chosen for your professional life, is a route that, without a doubt, is going to be passionate, but involves great RESPONSIBILITY.

Allow me to address you as a man in the street, as a healthcare manager, and also as the father of a student from this year’s graduation.

As a citizen I want to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. This tragic pandemic has placed value on many things, the most important of which is, without a shadow of a doubt, the role of all of the healthcare professionals facing the biggest crisis of the last century with bravery and dedication. You have started to form, and have already formed, part of history, the best part of our history, being those brave people that studied, finished their studies and faced a terrible pandemic. YOU ARE TERRIFIC.

This pandemic has brought to light the importance of your role in the system. We have been able to see over the last year how people come to our health centers worried and afraid, and IT IS YOU that have been there and YOU that continue to be there on the front line of healthcare.

I could tell you a lot of stories about what has happened in our health centers during these tragic months, stories that are lovely, tough, HUMAN, examples of vocation and devotion, of personal and professional involvement etc. but what I will tell you is that there has always been a nurse in each and every one of these stories. I feel such pride.

This is because, in addition to treating this treacherous disease that has had to be faced alone, nursing professionals have accompanied patients at all times, they have held their hand when they have needed it and have dried many tears but they have also given the encouragement and hope that all patients, and their families, need at difficult times.

YOU ARE THE HEART AND SOUL of the health centers!

Friends. Health is the most precious gift that we have, and you, as graduates in nursing, are a key part of health promotion, disease prevention and patient recovery, in other words, of ensuring the well-being of our society. This is all done with respect, generosity, humanity, dedication, a strong work ethic and continuous training to which you have committed yourselves with your life choice: your professional career.

The word RESPONSIBILTY in professions that are vocational and focused on taking care of people, implies COMMITMENT, RESPECT AND MATURITY.

Remember what I’m about to tell you now.

You are going to be responsible for our health at the most difficult and delicate times of our lives.

We are going to put our lives in your hands.

We will trust you with our fears, hopes, wishes and plans.

I ask that you always treat patients, that you always treat US, with enthusiasm and devotion. And with care. With a lot of care. Patients, people that have a health problem, feel fragile at times. Or worried. Or alone. And the nursing staff is key for them.

Always put the patient above everything else!!

As a healthcare manager I have learned a lot over the many years I have been in healthcare, the importance of nursing within the healthcare system. Not only are people putting their health in your hands but also organizations NEED you to stay connected to the needs of the patients. You are the main asset of a healthcare organization, and in order to achieve the objective of excellent healthcare, active, well-trained and committed nursing will always be required. Due to that, ongoing training is essential and should be something that always accompanies you throughout your professional career.

You are one of the essential professions within healthcare, with a role that has gained importance in recent decades. And you are going to be protagonists in the evolution and growth of the role of nursing, due to the importance of health and well-being in the 21st century society and due to your all-round view of the patient, their emotions and their environment.

Covid-19 has been the biggest tragedy that we have faced in the last century, but I do not want it to make us forget the big challenges that you are going to face. They are challenges that are already on the table, macro trends of the system itself exacerbated by this pandemic.

And I am referring to the ageing of the population, the chronicity of illnesses, the constant appearance of new technology etc. These are challenges that are going to keep putting immense pressure on the system, to which we have to add the consequences of Covid-19, with an increase in waiting lists, late diagnosis of diseases, etc.

The Bologna convergence with the degree, Masters and PhD, the development of the specialities and advanced practice nursing, together with the boost of new graduates like you, have to be the determining elements in obtaining the degree of recognition and value that nursing deserves in the healthcare sector and society in general.

I am sure of it and of your role in the future of healthcare.

You are the best in history!

Always remember that you have received the best training, and place value on commitment, courage and an eagerness to work.

To conclude, as a father, I would like to speak to you on behalf of all of your families that, unfortunately, cannot be present today and that are following us on television or on the computer at home.

I ask that you work with passion, giving the best of yourselves.

We are very proud to see you here today, reaping the benefits of your efforts. It is such a wonderful day for you, but also know that it is for us also, your families. We have suffered when you have had problems, we have been happy with your achievements, and seeing you here today fills our hearts with joy.

We never want you to lose the enthusiasm that you have today. Your work, responsiblility, commitment and humanity are very important for the patients that you are going to treat. And also for their families.

REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE PEOPLE THAT TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE. That is my motto. Give a smile, a friendly gesture, understanding, care and respect to those around you. I assure you that they are the perfect accompaniment that will make the training you have received in this magnificent University, CEU Cardenal Herrera University, shine even brighter.

Take care of us! Of everyone! That should be the main aim of your professional life.

And I’ve come to the end, friends. Really. For me, being the KEYNOTE SPEAKER of this graduation is a “gift” that I will proudly carry with me forever wherever I go.

And I promise you that I will work so that this year of graduates has all of the possible opportunities and the visibility that you deserve. Count on me!

A hug to each and every one of you with all of my admiration, gratitude and respect.

You are now nurses!! Congratulations and get to work, we need you!!

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