They come with diverse roles but are united by a common mission. They have varying and intriguing titles but the essence of their education is same.
The first I met was a passionate educator whose zeal to impart knowledge to next the generation of the profession knew no boundaries.
I have also come across one who valiantly supported the voice of the marginalized and advocated for social justice for the vulnerable or socially forgotten. I know one whose managerial skills rival that of a Harvard MBA.
And, I have observed one nurse who gently touched and sat quietly beside beds, but with a watchful eyes looking for the slightest sign of discomfort or pain.
By these, I am referring to the professionals who are variously known as Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Psychiatric Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses or, simply, nurses.
What unites them is a common goal to promote health. To execute this mission, their roles take them through the corridors of power, when they are advocating for specific health policies and into our communities, or when they are embarking on immunization drives.
But for most, it is in our hospitals and clinics that most of these professionals have found a true home and where society immediately associates them.
Interestingly, the common stereotype about the profession is, it is often viewed as a female profession.
The idea of a male nurse is an oxymoron to some, and to others an anathema: the thought that a male nurse would be responsible for ones care is rejected by some - can a male nurse really care, appears to be the underlying and incisive question that informs this concern.
To these people I say, let not your heart be troubled, the males do just as commendable job as their female counterparts! Indeed, nurses - all nurses - deserve our praise and admiration.
So the next time you see a nurse, give him or her a big smile and thank you, for whether as an educator, advocate, researcher, manager, community organizer, or a frontline nurse, they are imbued with a great sense of knowledge, humanity, compassion and care.
Nursing - it is indeed the finest of the art and science and, a noble profession to whom we owe its members a lot.
To Thompson Rivers University graduating nursing class of 2013, congratulations!
JOYCE O. ADJEI