Saturday, August 20, 2011

UTMB Graduation Commencement Address

Hello - class Two thousand and eleven!  2011
There is happiness in this moment and you should allow yourself the opportunity to feel it. There will be always be time to hurry.
For me, there is still nothing like looking at healthcare delivery from a patient’s perspective.
I naively, have always believed, that one idea can change the world. Whether you own that idea, or you have inspired the idea – even if it came from one of our patients. The key is to take time to listen – and seek to understand.
During your journey, you will experience success and you will experience failure, the test of life --is not to be without failure, the true test – is to be able to recognize the lessons it bring us.
Your next step is to continue to build your experience, build your character, build your leadership skills and take the time to build up others along the way. There is much joy in developing others.
Thank the people in your life that supported you.
Leadership not only applies to certain positions in life.
No matter our experience, age, gender, education level – each of us touches and inspires other peoples lives.
Everyone is a leader to someone.

Healthcare needs you. You have accepted a life to serve others.
Continue to learn, learn how to care for sick people – with compassion and true consideration, and learn how to inspire others to do the same.
You will influence your patients, make sure it’s positive. Patients who believe that they can heal - have a greater chance to heal.
You will influence families. Families will hang on your every word, listening for a glimmer of hope for their loved one or looking at the research that you’ve done that might make a difference.
You will influence safety. Patients will be vulnerable and will depend on you to stand up for them. Offer a welcoming smile, assure the correct medication, assure the research is sound.
The entire rulebook for healthcare is being changed, so prepare to embrace flexibility. If the rules are changing, why not jump right in and give your opinion?
Open yourself up for the possibility; step forward with courage, your idea might be the idea that changes the circumstances for someone. But keep your humility close; and your sense of humor closer. You will not always be right. There will be many with more experience and there is still no substitute for experience, respect that.
Never forget you are only one small part of a TEAM. Teamwork is no longer a choice in healthcare and diversity is needed on your team. Diversity is truly what builds strength in a team.
Surround yourself with individuals who share an unyielding character. Find those that can truly compromise with each other, but who never compromise excellence.
Seek to remember the ones that inspired you to go above and beyond what you thought you could be.
Influence others and make it extraordinary!
Challenge yourself, Reinvent, Contribute.
Remember, while there is happiness in the moment – there is a miracle in the journey. Go – Be the miracle.

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