Personal Narrative: A Career As A Nurse Practitioner

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My life goal of being a nurse practitioner affected my choice of destination in history. If I could go back in time, I would go back to Hickory, North Carolina in June of 1944, which is only thirty minutes away from my home in Taylorsville, North Carolina. This small town became the center of the largest polio outbreak in the United States. “Polio” is short for “poliomyelitis”, a disease that targets the leg, arm, stomach and muscles of the back. If polio paralyzes the chest muscles of the victim, it can be fatal by not allowing the person to breathe. At this time there was no reliable cure for polio, but most people did recover with at least a partial return of their mobility. Beginning in 1916, large outbreaks of polio swept through cities and towns, crippling and killing thousands. Most years saw “summer outbreaks” that would seem to stop with the cold weather. When polio hit this small, western North Carolina town…show more content…
These heroic men and women faced danger, with polio being infectious viral disease that could lead to permanent paralysis. Despite this risk to their own health, the medical staff treated those who were in need of care. Although polio can strike at any age, it mainly affects children under the age of five. There is a home in Hickory that has been turned into a museum. One area of this museum is dedicated to the “Miracle of Hickory” and is a humbling experience. What I remember most about these exhibits are the infant cribs and an infant iron lung. An iron lung was an instrument that allowed a polio patient to artificially breath, saving many lives. I was not prepared to see this machine that kept small infants alive. As I thought about the people who were saved that summer, many who could have been my great-aunt’s age, I was filled with a renewed energy and commitment to pursue a career in the medical

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