President addresses School of Nursing graduation ceremony

Sat 6th Jun, 2020 | 11:00

Message from President Michael D. Higgins for a Virtual Graduation Ceremony Virtual Graduation Ceremony School Of Nursing, Psychotherapy And Community Health

Dublin City University, 6th June, 2020

As a nation facing, together, the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic we have been so greatly inspired and uplifted by the remarkable courage, compassion and generosity of those who work in our health services.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of this important occasion. May I commence by expressing my warmest congratulations to you, the graduands, on this milestone day.

I am aware that this is not perhaps the graduation day that you had envisaged. It is, however, like all graduations, a celebratory event that marks the culmination of much hard work, dedication and commitment to the realisation of your ambitions.

Recent months have brought into sharp focus the vital contribution that the nursing profession makes to our society.

As a nation facing, together, the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been so greatly inspired and uplifted by the remarkable courage, compassion and generosity of those who work in our health services. Central to that service are, of course, the nurses who deliver such safe and effective care in our hospitals, health centres, clinics, hospices and, of course, in our wider communities.

There can be no doubt that the role of nurses in Ireland has evolved and changed greatly in recent times. Your duties now extend into many areas which were once the preserve of medical doctors, while the healthcare environments in which you work and make decisions have become an increasingly complex one. 

Indeed in 2017 the World Health Organisation stated that the advancing role of nurses and midwives in Ireland, which has seen the delivery of quality care to patients while simultaneously reducing the workload of primary care doctors, offers an important example for other countries.

You can be very proud, therefore, of the profession into which you now graduate – a profession which accounts for half of our global healthcare workforce. It is a profession which has grown to play a critical role in the implementation of patient centred care and in the delivery of effective primary care services. It is also, of course, a profession which requires specific and in-depth qualifications, and today we celebrate your achievement of those important credentials.

We also celebrate the instinct that has prompted you all to study nursing and that has driven you forward through the many hours of study and lectures, and on those first nervous steps into real world working environments. The role of nurses may have changed considerably, and will continue to evolve and grow. However, the spirit of compassion and care that has always lain at the core of the nursing profession remains one of its most important attributes.

It has been a great pleasure to take part in this joyous occasion. Graduating, from the root concept graduus, is a step on the road, the commencement, indeed, of a journey. For some of you graduating here today, a career in nursing has been a long held ambition. Others amongst you may have been prompted to enter the nursing profession after personal experience, or witnessing of, the important, varied and admirable work undertaken by our nurses. Whatever road has brought you to this important moment, today we celebrate the opening up for all of you of new horizons full of possibility, of decisions awaiting and aspirations beckoning.

I know that there is a wide variety of nursing programs, specialties, further degrees, and certifications for different types of nursing which many of you will consider pursuing in the future as you continue to discover your unique talent and skills in your chosen profession, one that has become so radically redefined in recent times.

As you now graduate and begin to go your separate ways, I wish you all satisfaction, continued moral courage and good and lasting friendships in whatever direction your nursing careers may take you.


Michael D. Higgins

Uachtarán na hÉireann

President of Ireland


6 June, 2020