Ode to Graduating Nurses
Today you sit quietly, dressed in the garb of nurses,
poised to participate in poignant pinnings,
and poised, one more time, to listen,
to tidbits of wisdom from those who soon will be
your peers and colleagues.
For those of us whose parents, in-laws, sons,
daughters, grandparents, neighbors, cousins,
acquaintances, and dear friends you serve and will serve,
we salute you, pay homage to your care,
your kindness, your concern, whether early morning,
midday, midnight, around the clock.
You amble through soft-lit halls,
step cautiously into darkened rooms
whose only noise stems from machines,
the rhythmic beating of heart monitors,
breathing apparatuses, and sometimes
the straggly breathing of the sick and the wounded;
yet, you still step in, confident, ready
to the handle any situation, not really knowing
whether Death has swooped in
surreptitiously or waits patiently.
You are there to stem the tide, to relegate Death
to another time, perhaps another place,
mostly by your positive attitude, attention to detail,
and knowing exactly what to do.
You are constantly cognizant of your duty
to mend minds and bodies and often souls.
Many of us watch from perches to the side of the bed,
magazines or books or computers
in hand, pretending to read them or do work,
but we watch you do your thing,
marvel at the deft and depth
of your care of those in your care.
Each day, emotions run rampant in those rooms
with monitors, tubes, and things; yet, you seem to assuage
the emotions, part the thickness of sickness
like Moses did the Red Sea, and salve healing
on your patients and their loved ones.
Yes, you have been trained to wear
the appropriately colored pull-string scrubs
and cushioned shoes or crocs, monitor vital signs,
give medications, raise beds
up and down, place extra pillows and blankets,
take blood pressure, and care
for those who are sick and afflicted,
our kin, our loved ones.
Yes, we know that you have been trained well,
learned at the feet of gifted nurses.
We salute you for spending the time to learn
both from books and practical experience;
and we pray that you will continue your journey
and be there again tomorrow,
whether for our own or someone else’s,
it is still the same.
May you go forth and remember
this day and past days.
May you remember who you are
and why you are,
for you are nurses, who love,
who heal, and who understand.
The sun will set later this evening;
the sun will set tomorrow.
and the sun will set
every evening for eternity;
yet, the sun will never set
on nurses helping those most in need.
Thank you from the families and friends
of those for whom you care.
Darrel L. Hammon