The glow of its orange flame reflected off her white coat — a symbol she proudly wore as she stood among the other 70 graduates inside the now dimly lit gym at Coastal Bend College.
Earlier in the ceremony, when the lights shined brighter, the students listened as they were praised for their determination through the years.
Dr. Eloisa Garcia, director of nursing and education at CBC, said, “This group particularly has endured many obstacles. With that they have become stronger, and they have accomplished so much.”
She reminded the audience, which filled the gym’s seating, of just what these nurses have had to sacrifice to make it this far.
“It would be nice to have life just stop, go to nursing school and then pick up at the end,” she said. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen — life continues.”
Each student sitting in the audience would have to miss barbecues, family functions and many of other important events in order to complete his or her studies.
But, as students like Martinez stood there, now holding their lamps, they knew it was worth it.
The lamp, for those unfamiliar with the tradition, is a symbol associated with Florence Nightingale, famed British nurse, and her tireless efforts caring for soldiers. Her 24-hour dedication to the wounded created the image of her as “the lady with the lamp.”
It is this dedication that the students must aspire to and what they take their oath to uphold.
“I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession...
“... and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care,” she recited by lamp light.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.