1. Gordon, Debra K. MSN, RN

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Deep breat[horizontal ellipsis]sigh[horizontal ellipsis].and one final touch of the graying hair as it emerges from the formal cap[horizontal ellipsis]and[horizontal ellipsis].the Old One walks methodically down the ramp toward the polished gym floor where young nurses are impatiently waiting to be launched into their careers. The music is familiar to the Old One, who has walked this path many times in a somber black academic robe, trimmed with apricot regalia adorned with purple braids. The procession ends with a sharp turn into the perfectly positioned row of folding chairs that will provide a few moments of contemplation on the most recent group of young nurses and a few moments of reflection on the years in nursing and the faculty role.


The years have been measured in semesters of time, not in blocked calendar months. Life begins with the coming of the young into the halls and wanes during the summer. That young nurse had trouble giving the first injection, and that one perfected the art of avoiding the distasteful. That slender one seems pale today; the young male nurse looks relieved, even jubilant. Such bright and excited faces as the nurses walk across the stage, receive their permission to move into the future, and face the unknown world of nursing.


Thoughts of patients drift into awareness. The elder patient who spoke of a child that was born too soon and that died too soon[horizontal ellipsis].reliving the sadness of a young mother 70 years ago. The wide eyes of a small child with leukemia as the ambulance siren marked the trip to St. Jude's Hospital for experimental treatment. The middle-aged man clutching his chest immediately before he lost consciousness and was coded back to life from the fatal dysrhythmia. So many memories of being a young nurse[horizontal ellipsis].so many memories of patients who lived[horizontal ellipsis].and died.


The graduation speech did not last long this year[horizontal ellipsis]enough to be uplifting but not enough to put the Eldest One to sleep or put the Fidgety One into a state of perpetual motion. Perfectly timed words to encourage the graduates and to help family and friends celebrate the end of the labor of education.


The Old One smiles[horizontal ellipsis].stands[horizontal ellipsis].turns[horizontal ellipsis]and proceeds with the other faculty during the Processional music[horizontal ellipsis]familiar[horizontal ellipsis]comforting[horizontal ellipsis].a new group of young nurses are going into the future[horizontal ellipsis]probably lemonade in the punch bowl again this year.