The speech given by student Bianca Fidato during the inauguration of the new Academic Year 2023/2024

“My name is Bianca Fidato, and I am a third-year student in the Nursing course at Humanitas University. I would like to say thank you, also on behalf of my fellow students, for the opportunity to bring my testimony on this important occasion. I would like to thank the President, Dr Rocca, the Rector, Professor Terracciano, Professor Rubin, the lecturers, the students, and all the authorities present.

The profession I have chosen is a combination of scientific, technological and humanistic knowledge to meet people’s health needs through a relationship of trust and relationship. For this reason, I would like to share with you the story of Chiara, a patient I met during one of my internship experiences last year. My first and last internship shift coincided with her first post-surgery day and her discharge… This created a special bond between us.

Chiara entered the hospital to undergo a total laryngectomy for a carcinoma, with removal of the vocal cords. I entered her room after the operation, with the task of renewing the dressing of the surgical wound.

I was feeling excited as this was my first time dealing with her and I remember looking at her with a mixture of uncertainty and determination. During this first meeting, Chiara accepted my fragility and, at that very moment, through the gestures of her hands and the movements of her eyes, I had the certainty that everything would be all right. Her inability to speak became our means of communication, and I learned to interpret her non-verbal language as if I had always known it.

In the weeks that followed, I learnt to understand every subtle nuance of her way of communicating, and this allowed me to provide the best possible care, transforming our professional relationship also into a deep human bond.

Last September, I heard that Chiara had been admitted again for relapses of the disease. Although I was no longer in her ward, I went to visit her. Even on that occasion, without the use of words, she showed me great affection and all the happiness she felt at seeing me again. That was the last occasion we saw each other, because unfortunately Chiara left us shortly afterwards.

The reason I am telling her story today is to honour a person who has influenced my professional and human journey, and because my relationship with her describes well, in my opinion, the richness and importance of the role of us nurses. Ours is a profession in which scientific competence, which is increasingly advanced, is combined with relational competence. We are the health professionals who are closest to the bedside of the patient, and we are required to provide nursing care in every aspect of the person in front of us, while respecting their will and dignity.

At Humanitas University I had the opportunity to take part in a research project called FOC, Fundamentals of Care, where the relationship is placed at the centre as an essential element for effective nursing care, from a patient-focused perspective. The relationship, therefore, is not an “extra”, or something alternative to professional competence, but is precisely part of this competence, and the research programme demonstrated this through scientific evidence. The role of the nurse is changing, has already changed, and is finding its dignity and full realisation in an interdisciplinary dynamic, where all health professionals work together for and with the patient.

In Chiara’s case, which I recounted earlier, her unique way of communicating without words highlighted how vital our ability to interpret not only clinical data but also the non-verbal language of patients is. We are the ones who see beyond the disease, who adapt to the specific needs of each person, who transform science into personalised and compassionate care.

My university career has also allowed me to become part of the Humanitas University community, as a representative of my degree course in the peer committee, and to engage in peer-to-peer mentorship activities by working alongside my younger classmates as a peer tutor.

Seeing the university ‘from the inside’ and getting to know people of different ages and backgrounds up close has enriched me and allowed me to contribute to the growth and improvement of our community by being the bridge between students and the university, a voice that seeks to ensure that our needs, concerns and proposals are heard and considered. I have chosen to be part of this process because I believe in the importance of an open dialogue and constructive discussions. I want to leave a message of active involvement and participation for future students. The university is a dynamic community and each of us can contribute to change and growth in our faculty but also more generally in our profession.

The nursing profession is much more than a career; it is a way of life dedicated to the service of others. And this starts with our peers, and students younger than us. Caring for each other, for the integration of those who arrive from other countries or those who are less well integrated or going through times of difficulty and personal change. Contributing, each with our own abilities, to leave an even more welcoming Humanitas University to those who come after us, a university capable of training the professionals of tomorrow.

My degree in nursing will not be the end, but the beginning of a pathway that, also with my intention to continue with a Master’s degree in nursing, will allow me to acquire more clinical, ethical and research skills to put at the disposal of people and the health system, through greater responsibility and skills to be shared with other professionals.

All the healthcare professions being taught at this University like medicine, MEDTEC, nursing, physiotherapy, laboratory and radiology technicians, do not only provide clinical answers, but represent the means by which we can continue to see each patient as a person, with their experiences, desires and humanity.

In her silence, Chiara spoke with strength and determination, teaching us that behind every diagnosis there is a story to be heard and a Person who needs not only care, but understanding and tailored assistance. May Chiara’s story always remind us of the importance of our daily commitment to science and the art of caring for people.”


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.