1. Olson, DaiWai M. Editor

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Graduation season is right around the corner. Are you ready to assume your responsibility?

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Every spring, thousands of us will take a big step forward. We may celebrate our own personal success by earning a BSN or finishing graduate school. We may celebrate our friends and colleagues who walk across the graduation stage after years of spending nights and weekends in class. For some of us, graduation will be bittersweet, marking the day our daughters and sons prepare to set out on their own academic journeys.


With graduation comes a new set of responsibilities. This history of the graduation ceremony goes back centuries and has evolved over time. Likely beginning as an Islamic tradition, graduation historically symbolized that the student was ready to become the teacher. Back then, no distinction was made between the type or level of degree. Scholar, bachelor, master, and doctor were essentially interchangeable terms used to describe someone who had earned the right to share what he or she had learned. They had earned the right to teach.


The many traditions of graduation are actually reflections of necessity. Those long robes we all wore when we got our diplomas do indeed reflect learning but maybe not the way you think. Ages ago, scholars (teachers) spent their days teaching. Teaching meant being indoors. Being indoors meant being inside the cold damp halls of the academy. Students often arrived poor and unprepared for the learning environment. However, the scholars had learned a thing or two; they had learned how to keep warm and dry by wearing long robes. Anyone could easily distinguish student from teacher by looking to see who was smart enough to wear robes. Hence, robes became a symbol that one had become educated enough to take on the role of teacher.


As nurses, we donned our graduation robes and accepted our diplomas. When we did this, we became part of the fabric of history, and thereby, we agreed to become teachers. We willingly accepted the burden of responsibility to teach our craft. Soon, hospitals and clinics will be bustling with newly graduated nurses; are you ready to assume your responsibility and teach them your craft?


The Editor declares no conflicts of interest.

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