FOR ALL OF US, LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. We have learned a difficult lesson about the fragility of life. Together, we have cried, prayed, hugged, and screamed. Many of us have been on the scenes of the disasters, as workers and volunteers, taking blood, providing trauma care, and listening to the tears and fears of the many victims and their families and friends.
Like many other writers, I have been torn between having too much to say and having nothing to say. I have struggled with telling stories over and over, from the first frightening moments in New York City to the accounts of friends and family members who experienced the military presence in our nation's capital. Our own NLN staff members' stories of struggling to reach safety from within a few blocks of the World Trade Center still bring tears to my eyes, as they would to yours.
Symbolically, what was initially dubbed "ground zero" in New York City is now referred to as "ground heroes." Among our rank and file of nursing students and faculty are many heroes and heroines. As educators, we have taken our life lessons to the classroom, helping our students make sense of the human tragedy, just as they must make sense of other pain and suffering in their day-to-day experiences in nursing.
As educators, we must weave lessons of professional responsibility to society into our important critical care and professional issues classes. Never before have the lessons we have learned from studying the wartime heroics of Florence Nightingale been so poignant. But there are two other …