2011 Commencement Speaker Encourages Thoughtful Care
Posted May 27 2011 12:14pm
Dr. John Howard of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the 208 graduates at the School of Nursing & Health Studies commencement to learn from those around them and be thoughtful but not reactive. Howard, director of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said he learned his first lesson as a young intern working to save the life of a comatose, chronic alcoholic.
The patient, who recovered, expressed anger at the physician’s efforts. “I expected a shower of gratitude,” Howard said. “I had no idea what to do. I walked away hurt [and] angry.”
The nurse manager sent Howard back to the patient’s room to have another conversation with the man, and that made all the difference.
“I really didn’t know all the hidden pains that humans suffer from,” he told the graduates. “…Whether you leave here today to get a job in clinical nursing, health care management, health policy, international health, scientific research, or some new career that we haven’t even thought of yet … never ignore the people that are right around you.”