Diversity- it is a term that we are all very familiar with because it is one of the core values here at OHSU, and just a short while ago, OHSU awarded several staff members as well as students for all their dedicated work towards expanding and promoting diversity. Yet, how often do we stop to think about why it is important, or what our lives would be without it, especially in the medical community? Our future patients are as diverse as can be, because sickness and disease does not discriminate against ethnicity, race or creed, and neither should we. It is so important for our patients to be able to see in us something that they can relate to, something that makes you more than just another person in scrubs or a white coat, but something more like a caring friend or family member who shares something that they do.
When I look at my classmates, I see diversity in action because we are all so very different in so many ways, yet we are all held together by a common drive to succeed and serve others. Just look at this picture of us all together. On the outside, we all may look similar in attire, but behind those surgical masks and gowns are vastly different individuals who are each amazingly special and unique.
We all bring with us to our profession our own ethnic backgrounds, cultures, values and perspectives because we each have our own journey that has led us here. We come from all walks of life imaginable and bring those special characteristics with us in everything that we do and it is precisely in this diversity that a special beauty is found. I was always raised with the belief that we are all here in this life for a purpose and that we each have unique gifts and qualities about us that we can use to help positively impact the lives of those around us, and I still believe that, even more than ever now after getting to know my cohort more and more each day.
Before nursing school, (you know, when I actually had this crazy thing called “free time” :), I loved to draw and paint because for me, art opened up a new form of expression that I found to be exciting and relaxing at the same time. With art, you can express on canvas any idea or emotion that could otherwise only be felt but not seen, and you could take it anywhere you wanted to go. Out of all the art that I admired the most were mosaics because there was something so amazing about being able to take tiny little pieces of glass or other material and put them all together to make a beautiful piece of art. In many glass or ceramic mosaics, several whole items such as colorful plates or vases are first purposely broken and shattered to create those precious little shards for the even more awesome art to come.
This is how I see diversity all around me at OHSU, because each of us is like a tiny, colorful fragment that has it’s own history and unique beauty attached to it and contributes all that it has to all the other little pieces around it. At times, you may feel as though you are the minority, or that what you do is insignificant, but it is precisely at those times that you need to take a step back and look at the bigger and more beautiful picture that you are a part of to realize just how indispensable you really are. Here is to all the tiny and “seemingly insignificant” fragments in this world, without which, the beautiful mosaic of life would be incomplete.
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