Graduates Urged to 'Stand Out' As Nurses Who Listen, Advocate

12/10/2021

Dr. Junique Henry addresses School of Nursing graduates at their hooding ceremony, urging them to be nurses who listen and advocate for their patients.Palm Beach Atlantic nursing graduates heard from one of their own Thursday evening: Air Force captain and nurse practitioner Dr. Junique Henry, who dared them “to be different,” not satisfied with the status quo in healthcare.

“To whom much is given, much will be required,” said Henry, quoting the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. “And if you have walked through the doors of the PBA nursing school, much has been given to you.”

In a celebration at the DeSantis Family Chapel, Henry spoke to nursing grads earning their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. She had earned all three degrees at PBA, and then after commissioned officers training with the Air Force, she served at Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Florida.

Henry knows well the time pressures in the busy world of healthcare, but she urged her fellow PBA nurses to “stand out” as professionals who will stop to listen and advocate for patients and their families. “Remember that you are never too busy to take a minute to help a family member,” she said. 

She recalled serving a beleaguered woman whose Air Force husband was stationed in Korea for a year. The woman had come for medication help and therapy referral for her autistic son, but as Henry observed the mom, the son and his two sisters, she sensed the heavy load that the mother carried while her husband was gone. 

Henry called for a technician to watch the kids while she took the mom to another room. There, in private, Henry accomplished more than just the medication adjustment and therapy referral. “Because for once somebody actually saw her and heard her, the mother was able to put her guard down and talk.”

Dr. Kylie Altman, a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate, is hooded by Dr. Michelle Smith, assistant professor of nursing, as Dr. Jennifer Kuretski, associate professor of nursing, watches.“I know you think you have 15 minutes to get in and out,” moving on to the next patient, Henry told the graduates. “But patients and families need to be heard and understood and be a part of the decisions regarding their health. I dare you to be different and do the best that you can.”

The graduating nurses also heard challenge and encouragement from guest speaker and nurse practitioner Dr. Arlene Wright and from closing remarks by PBA President Dr. Debra A. Schwinn, who is a physician-scientist. 

Twenty-four Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates were recognized Thursday, along with 14 Master of Science and three Bachelor of Science grads. They will be recognized again at the 2022 Commencement in May. 

Photo 1: Dr. Junique Henry addresses School of Nursing graduates at their hooding ceremony, urging them to be nurses who listen and advocate for their patients.

Photo 2: Dr. Kylie Altman, a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate, is hooded by Dr. Michelle Smith, assistant professor of nursing, as Dr. Jennifer Kuretski, associate professor of nursing, watches.