Rise to the Occasion

Searching for Substance

New Orleans, post Katrina. Courtesy of USA Today.

August 2005.

Walking into the lecture hall, I slid into a row near the back. Dropped my faded, frayed backpack onto the tile floor.  I smiled at my classmates as I took my seat.

They grinned and waved back at me.  We were seniors, and it felt pretty good to be ‘near the end’ of the madness which I called nursing school.  I was ready to be done with writing papers, listening to lectures, and taking exams. I couldn’t wait to start working and contributing to society. It was the first week of our last semester. I had just submitted my RN licensure application. Took my senior composite photos. Ran my degree audit.

Our public health instructor cleared her throat.

“This is it. As future nurses, you shall rise to the occasion. It is your duty to meet the needs of the community. Our neighbors, from Lousiana…

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