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GSN Speaker Speech - Dawn Carpenter

Good Afternoon. It is an honor to stand before you as the GSN Class Speaker, to share with you what I feel has been the most valuable lesson that UMass has taught us.

I pose this in the form of a few questions:

  • What have we all been immersed in throughout school?
  • Exposed to even as we applied to any one of the three schools?
  • What has been taught in every classroom, clinical, or laboratory rotation, but has never been on a test?
  • What has been role modeled and demonstrated, but not been evaluated in the simulation lab?
  • What have we learned that isn’t found in a peer review journal, text book Web site or found on a PDA?

What I am talking about isn’t tangible, but it has shaped who each and every one of us has become through our educational endeavors. I’m talking about the culture of UMass Worcester, the organization’s culture.

This concept can simply be summed up in one word. Family! We have a culture that recreates ideal family values. When you think of family, what comes to mind? Supportive? Caring? Encouraging? Respectful? People who push you to be your best? Pick you up when you’ve had a bad day? Value individuality? Appreciating prior life experiences? Developing inseparable bonds? Committed to life-long learning? And a sense of community.

These attributes and values have shaped our perspective and our professional identity. It’s the culture, the way of life at UMass. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we live in utopia. Of course as with all families, we can have our moments. But from these “moments” we tend to grow and thrive versus separate and divide.

I know about this unique concept of family, because I’ve worked at and been educated at other institutions and can attest that this UMass is special.

What makes us stand apart from other places? The people! The people make the difference. Every single person, each dean, every professor, every clinical faculty, instructor, laboratory staff, simulation team and, very importantly, all the support staff too, make the difference.

My key take-away point to my fellow graduates, is that you, too, have become part of the culture. You have learned the UMass way. What I’m asking of you is to remember how you were treated, remember how supported and encouraged you were, remember how your triumphs were celebrated, remember how the faculty cared about you as a person and truly pushed you to be the best you can be. I’m asking each and every one of you to emulate this culture, replicate this culture and embody this culture. I’m asking you to take it with you and recreate it wherever your career may take you.

My GSN classmates, why am I asking this of you? Because these attributes and values will help us to become the best nurse practitioners, nurse scientists, nurse educators and nurse leaders. These values are all essential for us to provide excellent care to the patients who are entrusted to our care. Although we can expect many changes with health care reform, this core set of values will ensure that we help shape healthcare for our patients as we would want for our own families.

Lastly, to the families and friends who are here to witness our success today, I thank you for your support for us throughout our educational process. Thank you for caring, and being there for us, providing encouragement, pushing us to be the best we can be, and for picking us up when we had a bad day. We certainly couldn’t have been as successful without you.


Thank you.