National League of Nursing CEO Beverly Malone emphasized the importance of staying true to one’s values in achieving success at the commencement ceremony for the School of Nursing and Health Studies in the Leavey Center Ballroom on Saturday.
Before being appointed NLN CEO, Malone was the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing from 2001 to 2006, and deputy assistant secretary for health in Bill Clinton’s (SFS ’68) administration.
NHS Dean Patricia Cloonan congratulated the graduates before introducing Malone, asking them to embody Georgetown’s values as they approach their futures.
“We call upon each of you to employ the knowledge and skills that you’ve gained in Georgetown as you go into the world, always remembering to reflect the deep tradition of values that are informed by our extraordinary university,” Cloonan said.
Malone, who was presented with an honorary doctor of science degree, said the graduates should view their education — and lives — as a journey.
“On any journey for a life-long learner, you will need a suitcase. I would suggest you pack your core values,” Malone said. “First of all, know where your north star is, keep it in view. I’m speaking of the north star of your energy, your passion or simply your way forward. Regardless of the next step you take, you will need these values to keep you oriented.”
Malone said the core values of care, integrity, diversity and excellence play vital roles in developing a person’s character. She particularly emphasized the importance of being caring for nurses.
“Caring is promoting help, healing and hope in response to the human condition,” Malone said. “You know I’m a nurse, so this is my bedrock. When I lose my caring, I lose a part of who I am.”
Malone said diversity is fundamental to the broader goal of crafting modern citizens.
“Diversity, or meaningful inclusion, is affirming the uniqueness of and differences among persons, values and ethnicities. It’s bigger than color,” Malone said. “This is truly required for your global citizenship and necessary to effectively live in this world where countries merge.”
According to Malone, graduates should value excellence and tenacity instead of fearing failure.
“Make sure you pack excellence. Co-creating and implementing transformative strategies with daring ingenuity, you might find a cliff that you just fall into,” Malone said. “It has never been about the fall, it’s always been about the getting up.”
Malone also said an open mind is a key factor for personal progress and growth.
“Relating to excellence, pack a world of possibilities. I never thought I could be general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing in the United Kingdom but I never thought I couldn’t,” Malone said. “Leave the could-nots. Let somebody else sweep them up. Leave your concept of defeat, knowing that I can be delayed, but not defeated. As long as I have breath, I have opportunities, possibilities that I have not yet explored.”
In closing, Malone encouraged the graduates to overcome stressful situations by being more reflective.
“Let’s try leaving your stress,” Malone said. “There are three types of stress: inevitable, imposed and chosen. You have the authority to make other choices when you understand your stress.”
Correction: This article previously stated the commencement ceremony took place in McDonough Arena; the ceremony was held in the Leavey Center Ballroom.
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