“Zombie Fest” was a series of lectures held at Auburn University at Montgomery on October 31st all centered on the topic of zombies. The exigence of the lectures was to explore the topic from the perspective of a biologist, an educator, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and a nurse. Students also learned a little about each field of study along with interesting information about zombies. The first speaker, a biologist, talked about zombies in nature. There are insects that inject toxins into other insects that allow them to control those insects. The biological origin of the zombie, the rabies virus, was also explored. The next speaker was a psychologist who discussed the emotional aspects of zombies with a humorous focus on the zombie’s perspective. This lecturer was followed by an educator whose presentation focused on prevention of the student zombie (bored students in the classroom). This was my favorite segment of the lecture series. The nurse spoke next; her presentation was about the importance of providing quality care to potential zombie victims. The last speaker was a psychiatrist who focused on the human brain and areas that would be affected by the zombie symptoms. Next year they plan to add a speaker from the English department to do a presentation on zombies in literature. This was an entertaining and interesting presentation. It was very effective because it was informative, humorous, and fun. I learned new things about all the different fields of study, and also a few things about zombies as well.
Cortney Davis’s “Afterword,” from The Heart’s Truth, a collection of essays about nursing, tells of an incident in the author’s childhood that had a profound impact on her life. She was sent to live with family friends for a year due to her mother’s illness and her father’s post-traumatic stress disorder. She realized after she returned to live with her parents how much this separation had affected her. She writes of her intense separation anxiety and need for acceptance and approval. Based on the essays, this need has not disappeared; it drives her need to feel that she makes a difference in the lives of others and that her life has meaning.
The exigence of this short essay is to make clear why the author needs to work directly with patients; she wants to know that her work makes a positive difference in their lives. She writes for an audience of prospective nursing students for the purpose of teaching them about the job of nursing. This is an effective essay because it clearly explains her need to do the type of work she does. She also explains the importance of writing to her life and work; she feels that writing makes her a better nurse. This essay is a good ending to Davis’s collection.
“Conscious Suffering,” an essay from The Heart’s Truth, by Cortney Davis, is a personal narrative recounting a time when the author became extremely ill, and how she felt that the experience of suffering made her a better nurse. She felt that the act of giving in to the suffering might help take that same measure of suffering from someone else. She describes suffering as serving a purpose in this way. I see this as New Age garbage. There is no proof that only a finite amount of suffering exists in the world, and the measure that you suffer takes that amount from someone else. Sometimes it is very difficult to identify with Davis, who is supposed to be educated in the field of science. Nursing is, after all, science based.
The theme of this essay is the idea that suffering is good and worthwhile because one is suffering behalf of others. Also, suffering can make one more empathetic to the pain others may be going through. I will agree that the latter might make one a better nurse. This essay is written by a nurse practitioner for prospective nursing students, to help them learn more about the nursing profession. It is an effective essay because she is able to vividly convey the pain and sickness she felt and how it affected her, even if I did not agree with the New Age element of the essay.
Cortney Davis’s essay, “Human Feelings, Human Experiences,” from The Heart’s Truth, is an absolutely appalling essay in which the author (a nurse) attempts to explain the importance of including literature and art classes in the curriculum of nursing. Davis clearly sees herself as a writer and an artist, and believes that this makes her a better nurse. This theme carries through this collection of essays from The Heart’s Truth, and can be seen in this essay. She uses the first part of the essay to write about the importance of writing and art to her, and also to write about her friends and fellow nurses who have embraced art and literature. The second part of the essay focuses on instructions on how to write about a room. This second part does not fit well into the essay.
The focus of this essay is the importance of the humanities to nursing students. She makes a fairly successful case for this theme in the first half of the essay. The step-by-step instructions do not flow well and break the cohesiveness of the essay. Therefore, this essay is unsuccessful. The constraints are that the essay must be written on the subject of nursing or healthcare. Davis has written a personal narrative for prospective nursing students to learn more about being a nurse.
“First Night in Charge, a short essay from The Heart’s Truth, by Cortney Davis, is about the author’s first night working as an nurse in the intensive care unit. She had previously only worked intensive care as a supervised student. She worries that she will make a mistake. A patient in her care does die that night, a little girl suffering from severe injuries sustained in a car accident. Even though doctors expect her to die very soon, the author seems surprised that the girl dies on her watch, and wonders if she is somehow to blame. This essay carries the common theme in this book of the author’s need to feel that she makes a positive difference in the lives of her patients. Her worry illustrates this need to do only good rather than harm. While this is an admirable quality in a nurse, her surprise over the patient’s death seems unlikely.
This essay is written for an audience of nursing students. It exists to expose people interested in nursing to the problems and experiences associated with this profession. The author started her career as a nurse, then became a nurse practitioner. The constraints of the essay are that it cover the topics of healthcare and nursing. This essay is effective in its attempt to convey the author’s worry that she might have harmed a patient.
During high school I took Honor’s English classes, culminating in an AP English class my senior year. As a sophomore, our class took a field trip to the Auburn University library to learn how to locate scholarly sources for our writing assignments. When I was in high school (in the middle to late eighties, sources were not available online. We had to go to the library and find them on the shelves. First we had to use the catalog card system to locate the academic journal by subject, then we had to find them on the shelves. Once I found a book, I could search for other articles on the same subject by virtue of just having the book.
Learning how to find and use articles written by academics for other experts in that field was very helpful to my understanding of the books and essays I was reading and studying. I was able to gain important insights into the themes and story characters by reading the articles written by professors and graduate students who specialized in the field of literature. I fell into the habit of reading these articles for almost every book I was assigned to read in high school and college. Now everything is different because of the internet. There are scholarly sources online, and I must learn to locate them.
Cortney Davis’s short essay, “The Heart’s Truth,” from the collection of essays, The Heart’s Truth, is about a young woman who suffers from imaginary physical pain brought on by emotional trauma. The patient had undergone two abortions and was having difficulty dealing with the emotional aftermath. While many women feel only relief, this patient felt that she had made a mistake. She had internalized her anguish and suffered physical ailments because of this. The author learned from this experience to really listen to her patients and to not make assumptions about them.
Needing to make a positive difference in the lives of her patients is a recurrent theme for many essays in this book. The author has a strong desire to know that her work as a nurse has helped others and been meaningful. This theme carries over into much of her writing. This essay is written to help prospective nursing students learn how to be better nurses, to learn about nursing and its challenges, and to learn to listen and empathize with patients. The constraints are that it must have nursing as its subject. This is an effective essay because it is concise and coherent. The theme is presented very well within the framework of the troubled patient.
“Becoming Flora,” an essay by Cortney Davis, from The Heart’s Truth, explores the differences between people (in this case, between care giver and patient) and the gulf that those differences can create. The author, a nurse practitioner, feels disconnected from her pregnant patient, a hard-luck case with a serious infection who has obviously lived a rough life. The author contemplates the life choices and circumstances that have shaped their lives, and wonders how her life might be if she had also had the same bad luck as her patient. These differences make it difficult to empathize with her patient. On her way out of the clinic at the day’s end, the author is chased by a man with bad intentions. She thinks about how easy it is to have bad things happen and how that sense of safety she feels can be so easily lost.
This essay is another that suggests writing about one’s experiences helps the author be a better nurse. It also touches on the author’s need to make a difference in her patients’ lives. This essay is ineffective because it wanders around in different directions without pulling all these ideas together coherently. The example of the patient does not tie into the themes she then presents very well.
Cortney Davis’s short essay, “First Do No Harm,” from The Heart’s Truth, is written about an illegal immigrant patient being kept in the hospital because she has has a high risk pregnancy and cannot afford to take proper care of herself if released. The author and the clinic staff agonize over the proper way to treat her that will not result in her losing her baby to foster care or her being deported. The author notes the irony of the many staff members present at the meeting who are themselves children or grandchildren of immigrants. She wonders how the passing of one or two generations will affect this patient’s family (if her child or grandchild will find him/herself in a similar situation). This is the theme and exigence of the essay.
This essay is written for anyone interested in becoming a nurse, for the purpose of giving prospective nursing students an important issue to consider. The children of today’s illegal immigrants may be tomorrow’s legal citizens, and will probably face similar quandaries. This is a personal narrative written by a nurse practitioner. The constraints are that it be focused on the subject of nursing. This essay is effective in its presentation of the problems faced by caregivers regarding illegal immigrants who live in dire poverty.
Cortney Davis’s essay, “Beyond Scientific Explanation,” from The Heart’s Truth, is an attempt to pawn off events she doesn’t understand (a mysterious phone call, a “magic room” in which patients never die, a incessantly ringing call bell) as supernatural or divine events which are “beyond scientific explanation.” I would argue that nothing is beyond scientific explanation; we might not be able to figure out why something is happening, but that does not mean there is a supernatural explanation for the event. Cavemen did not have the tools or the means to explore space, but the cause of astronomical events such as solar eclipses were not beyond explanation–eventually humans learned to understand the actual causes of these events, and they weren’t the result of ghosts or angry gods. What is more likely, that a bell might have an electrical problem that causes it to ring repeatedly, or that a man’s ghost is ringing it? A proper scientific study of rooms in the cancer ward would show actual death rates for each room. Other factors would need to be taken into consideration–the types of cancer patients in that room suffered, compared to types of cancer patients in other rooms had. The survival rates for cancer types varies. The phone call could have been a misdirected call regarding a different patient. Where is the proof of ghosts beyond hearsay? No concrete evidence exists. Davis’s essay on these mysterious events is not scientific, and nursing is supposed to be science-based. Frankly, I’m embarrassed for her. The only thing this essay is effective at is making her and her fellow nurses look superstitious and gullible.