Nurse Kerry, where are you?
October 17, 2003 -- Today the Yahoo News site ran a short AP story by Verena Dobnik headlined "Mystery Nurse Helps Save Ferry Victim" that unintentionally highlights a tragic dilemma at the heart of modern nursing.
The story tells how a nurse with a "British accent" saved the life of a "wonderful" 24-year-old fellow passenger who lost both his legs below the knee in the recent Staten Island Ferry disaster. The nurse applied tourniquets to the man's legs and accompanied him to a local hospital, where he was among the first treated. Then the nurse disappeared, having identified herself only as "Kerry." The story appeared to be based on the account of the victim's family at the hospital.
Kerry may have personal reasons for showing reticence as unusual as her heroism. But if it is simply self-effacement, we applaud her personal virtue but hope she will reconsider. Unfortunately, nurses' reluctance to let their life-saving work be fully known has been a factor in the historic underappreciation of nurses by the public.
The public might understand nursing better if Kerry told the full story of how she helped the man, even if it was done in a way that preserved her anonymity.
To resolve the global nursing shortage, we believe nurses must heed Buresh and Gordon's advice to move "from silence to voice."
See Verena Dobnik's article on Yahoo: Mystery Nurse Helps Save Ferry Victim.