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Quinn Chappel would like to come forth and share Class of 2012 Personal Experiences.
This was an, uh, unheard, so we're going to be surprised at what you have to say.
All this content came from the class. I sent out a survey. I'll start with my story though.
Three years, nine days, and two hours ago I turned off the lights, locked the doors, and headed home from work in the same manner that I had done for six years.
I haven’t been back since. My wife at the time was four months pregnant.
We were excited about welcoming our first child to the family but we now had fears related to my unemployment.
I decided to apply to BC3 and started taking prerequisites that fall on my way towards the Nursing Program.
My first day of school in over ten years was August 24, 2009 and I ended up being absent.
I was at the hospital with my son, Emory, who was born on the previous morning.
While my wife was on maternity leave, her job was downsized to only one day a week.
She ended up taking a second job for a few months until she was fortunate enough to find a full time position.
In February of 2010 another hurdle was overcome when I was notified by BC3 that I was accepted into the Nursing Program.
The next hurdle arrived in June when I accompanied my wife to a routine doctor‘s visit and all within about twenty minutes
we found out that she was pregnant, we didn't know, she was 24 weeks pregnant, and we were having a baby girl.
She has the easiest pregnancies ever. You can ask her her secret.
So, after the world’s shortest full-term pregnancy Natalie was born eleven days late on September 25, 2010.
The path that has led me here today started three years, nine days, and two hours ago when I turned off the lights and locked the doors.
But mine is not only, not the only path that has had a few speed bumps. We have all had our share of hardships.
There is 57 graduates up here. Throughout the four semesters of the program there have been 35 other students who had hopes of being with us here this evening.
This program is academically and emotionally difficult.
A Nurse Practitioner that I met once described that, her, the Associate's Degree, the two year Associate's Degree was the most sadistic time of her life.
Life continues independently of our schooling. I sent a survey to the class to gather some experiences that we have gone through during these last few years.
Out of the 57 in the class I received feedback from 34 so as I tell you these stories keep in mind that what I am telling you only came from about half the class.
One student was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through radiation surgery and treatment.
Sixteen worked part time. Three of which are single mothers, one of four kids, one of two, and another who also helps care for an autistic niece.
At least four dealt with unemployment. Three were show offs and worked full time including one who often worked double shifts that were only separated by one of our exams.
One student got sinus infections so often that she developed a rather comfortable relationship with a Neti-Pot which is a tea kettle shaped device that flushes your sinuses.
Several relationships came to an end. One response on relationships was, I did have two and a half girlfriends over the course of the program. Not a recommended idea.
Five students moved, one of which did so three times.
One was hospitalized for five days during spring break with a severe migraine.
That same student made eight trips to the emergency room with a daughter who was training with horses.
There were four car accidents including a mini van that was totaled on the way to school, it was full of nursing students.
There was at least one blown transmission and four flat tires on the way to or from school.
Keys got locked in the car an embarrassing number of times.
Hiatel hernia repair, gall bladder surgery, and various chronic illnesses have also paid us a visit.
One student dealt with repeat hospitalization of her son for the flu and her daughter with chronic respiratory issues.
One student gave birth a few weeks before starting the program and then spent the first six weeks caring for her husband after he went through multiple, through surgery to repair multiple torn ligaments in his knee.
Out of the 34 who responded to the survey, 23 of us have lost someone in death. Some lost several people.
All totaled we lost 12 grandparents, 8 uncles or aunts, 2 fathers, 1 cousin, 7 friends, 5 dogs and 1 cat right before the final.
I had to take a step back from this and exclude myself from those numbers.
When I sat down to fill out my own survey I got shocked by how much death was part of my life for the past couple of years.
On my wife’s side of the family we lost a grandfather, an uncle, and Murray the horse.
Myself, I lost four friends.
One to suicide, another drowned while on a fishing trip, one died of an unknown illness shortly after he turned 31, and the last one succumbed to a heart valve infection in her early 50’s.
I am also part of a very close knit congregation that said goodbye to 14 of its elderly members in the last three years.
I have spent way too much time at funerals in the past couple of years.
The next question was, Did you ever cry, lose sleep, have a panic or anxiety attack, or want to give up or quit? All of the answers carried a similar theme.
They included, once a week, many, many times, about every other week, at least one panic attack each week, all the time, I wanted to quit everyday, and finally, yes, yes, yes, and yes.
The suggestion was even made that the question should have been, Did you ever not cry, lose sleep, have a panic attack, or want to quit?
One student’s response was very interesting, Yes, my first semester was the toughest. It was like learning a new language.
But the last three years have not been all bad. Life has had its ups also.
Six people got engaged and a few weddings are even planned for this summer.
Two new pets were adopted into families.
At least four of us had children during school and one of us is pregnant right now. It's not me.
There have been two weddings and one person even became a grandmother.
We are all in agreement that we have made new lifelong friends in our classmates.
One student wrote, No one else can relate the same way to what we have been through.
There have been many smiles and much laughter. Similar to the profession of nursing, age and gender have been irrelevant.
One student bonded with classmates that were ten years younger than his own children.
Many new inside jokes have been created. We accomplished this together.
As one of those inside jokes states, we rocked it out.
The time spent at clinical opened the door to many interesting experiences.
One patient asked a student to marry her son.
Many patients expressed their appreciation for the students.
One story in particular, a patient was on a breathing machine and had to have someone at his bedside to prevent him from going into a panic and pulling out his breathing tube.
The student who was given this assignment spent most of the day holding his hand and comforting him through this trial.
When the breathing tube was finally removed he was able to speak.
The memory of that patient, the memory of hearing that patient say, in his own voice, thank you, will stick with that student forever.
The survey also had a few humorous questions.
Our guest speaker, Mrs. Aul has a very animated personality and when asked if they had ever impersonated her, many students freely and enthusiastically said yes.
One answered with a very sarcastic, I would never.
Another said that she could never give justice to her laugh. It is truly one of a kind.
Mrs. Aul gave us many stories, rhymes, and word games as memory aides.
She also told many stories that were purely for entertainment.
Like the one about the patient who was swinging his urinary catheter bag over his head like a lasso.
One student summed up her value to the class when she answered, I have not impersonated her laugh but, she makes me laugh like you would not believe.
Allowing ourselves to laugh a little was always a welcome stress reliever.
All of us have lost track of what day it is.
One student who attended clinical on Thursday and Friday woke up one morning in a panic because he was late. It was Sunday.
Another woke up from an afternoon nap in the same type of panic because she was late for clinical.
And one student actually admitted to losing track of what season it was.
Did you ever forget a family member’s name or to eat, sleep, feed the dog, kids, family, or pay the bills?
Answers to this one included, all of the above, and no, I don’t think so, wait, I forget.
Some people paid bills twice or forgot other things like Dr’s appointments, exercise, taking out the trash, and putting gas in the car.
One mother remembered dinner but enacted the fend for yourself arrangement.
Another mother started referring to her son by the dog’s name and vice versa.
One student even forgot her shoes and showed up to clinical wearing flip flops.
It wasn’t Nadine so don’t ask her about that one.
Everyone at some point admitted that they felt as if their brain was full and a few of us felt that a brain explosion was imminent.
During the program we each drove an average of 10,000 miles and gained an average of 5 pounds.
One response I have to share to the weight question was, I had lost 20 pounds by the end of our first official year of nursing. I have gained 15 of that back over the course of our second year,
resulting in almost not fitting into my scrubs and definitely not into my skinny jeans. And I don't think my butt is anywhere near as nice as it was then!
There's nine male students up here. That was from one of them.
Despite the difficulties, if given the option to go back a few years, the majority of us would definitely do it again.
One student said, Yes, I would do it again but, thank goodness we don’t have to.
What has driven us to volunteer for something like this? There were many different reasons for wanting to be a nurse but several common themes emerged.
For some it was sort of a calling to provide care and comfort for the ill.
For others the decision stemmed from personal experience with nursing care.
This was either from being cared for in a time of personal need or seeing quality nursing care being provided for a family member.
Many of us have nurses in our family and were motivated by their example.
Others already work in healthcare and this was just the next step in advancing their career.
Many simply wanted to be able to provide better for their family or be an example to their children of how hard work and education pay off.
So, the final question that is raised is how did we do this?
The answer is that we all had help. For some it was only from our friends within the class.
But, for most of us it came down to family and friends. When asked how this was possible the answers I received included,
parents, fiancé, family babysitters, working spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, clinical group, friends, older children who helped with younger ones, in laws, husband, wife, and God.
Essentially, all of you in the audience.
We may be the ones graduating tonight but without your encouragement, financial support, or shoulders to cry on this would not have been possible.
When we were ready to give up, you were there to give us a hug and tell us that it is going to be ok and that we can do this.
And, for being a great support system and an integral part in getting us here tonight please allow us to give you a standing ovation.
And, please know that we owe you much more than that.
As a final thought we would like express our appreciation to everyone who made this ceremony possible.
We would like to thank Jessica on the piano and my dear friend Luke on the violin.
He does take requests but I warn you that if you ask him to play The Devil Went Down to Georgia he may swing his violin around like a baseball bat.
Once again, we thank you all very much and as you go home this evening, please drive carefully because some of us walk in our sleep.