On July 8th, 1879, a small ship named the Jeannette departed from San Francisco on an expedition to locate the North Pole and search for a ship that was long overdue. The expedition was lead by my Great Uncle, a seasoned artic explorer by the name of Lieutenant Commander George W. Delong. By early September, the Jeannette was frozen in the arctic ice pack and drifting, as it would be for the next 21 months before sinking on June 12th, 1881. For the three month that followed, the crew suffered extreme frostbite, hunger, and exhaustion as they traversed the arctic ice in the hopes of rescue. Delong’s last journal entries indicated the he and his crew died in early November 1881.
I believe that great accomplishments require great personal sacrifice. I am a junior in a four-year nursing program and have gained an understanding of personal sacrifice. It is not uncommon for my living room light to be on hours past midnight as I review clinical paperwork, or read my textbooks. I often forget to eat in the morning and find my stomach growling during lecture, only to forget to eat lunch while working on a group project after class. I work into the early morning because I understand my duty my patients, myself, and to advance nursing as a profession. I forget to eat meals because fulfilling my duty requires much of my time and thought.
I believe the public rarely sees the sacrifices that nurses make on a daily basis. I see nurses not only as role models for healthy living, but also in terms of commitment, and work ethic. I’ve talked to nurses who work longs hours due to staffing shortages and often miss the little league games, and school plays of their kids. My wife is a nurse, and often reports to work when she is sick due to a sense of obligation her patients and fellow nurses. I used to wonder why someone would want to work so hard to get though school, just to work equally hard once out? I concluded that nurses understand and accept personal sacrifice as normal, and as a means to accomplishing their personal goals.
The Delong Mountains in northwest Alaska were named after my great uncle Delong in recognition of his accomplishments. The Delong Mountains are very remote, sometimes not even appearing on maps, seldom seen by the eyes of man, and yet my uncle’s legacy will quietly live on for countless years. I believe that nursing has and is building a similar legacy. Nurses are accomplishing great things through personal sacrifice and going the extra mile. This I believe.
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