5 Stories of Real Life Courageous Nurses

by A Guest Author

The nursing profession is young but it has already produced many heroes and heroines. Heroic action always comes at a cost to the hero and this has especially been the case with nurses. Working primarily as subordinates in a role almost always taken by women, it took the heroes described here extra courage to act in their given situations because they were not recognized as leaders by virtue of an office that they held. Rather, they had to defy authority from a position of weakness and trust in their moral duty to carry them through or not.

Sister Kelly

Sister Kelly was an Australian nurse who worked close to the front during World War One. At this time, nursing as a profession was very young and many people did not consider nurses as anything more than shoulders-to-cry-on for wounded men. Sister Kelly proved the profession’s critics wrong when she overcame conditions that would have sent many men and women running. A shell fell on the pneumonia ward of her unit and collapsed the tent on 46 patients, all of whom were essentially immobile. Urged to take cover, she ignored this order and searched through bloody debris and shattered bodies for living patients.

Nurses in War

All nurses in war are heroes, some more so than others. In the aftermath of the disastrous battle against German forces in the battle of the Bulge in early 1945, the US government was tempted to draft women into nursing because the casualties of the near future seemed likely to be great. Instead, many women joined as volunteers, though the consequences seemed grim. Among the thousands of volunteers were black nurses, who had not been allowed into the Army in great numbers. These women faced danger both by their proximity to enemy fire and their frequent encounters with racism.

Mary Josephine Oberst

Mary Josephine Oberst arrived in the Philippines as an Army nurse in the summer of 1941. She retreated to the Bataan peninsula with the rest of the American forces and underwent the 90 day siege. As food supplies ran out, she ate one sandwich in the morning and one in the evening along with the rest of the troops. She worked in hospitals for 1,000 patients that contained three times that number. She treated the wounded while 21,000 American soldiers died. With the other nurses, she escaped to Corregidor island before that was seized by the Japanese in May 1942. She lived in a Japanese internment camp until she was freed in February 1945.

Irena Sendler

Irena Sendler saved 2,500 from death under the Nazi regime in Poland during World War II. This Polish nurse aided families by putting on a show for the authorities as if the children were sick with typhus. She transported them in ambulances out of the Warsaw ghetto and later hid them until Catholic families could take them into their homes under false identities or they could hide in convents. Detained by the Germans in 1943, she was tortured but would not give up any information. She was sentenced to death but the Polish resistance saved her and she survived the war.

Lenora Langlais

Lenora Langlais served bravely in Iraq. She witnessed horrific injuries and nearly experienced one herself. In April of 2006 she was hit by a mortar blast. She survived but suffers paralysis on one of her face to this day. Nevertheless, she remained in Iraq for three months while she went through recovery.

About the Author

Lee Prescott is a neonatal nurse and guest author at Accelerated-BSN.net, a site with information about top accelerated nursing programs.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by timefornurses

This post was written by A Guest Author

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