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Letters: The world is a classroom

Johnson City Press • May 10, 2020 at 6:00 AM

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The world is a classroom

The coronavirus pandemic is teaching us many lessons. We may not be able to prevent disasters, but we can prepare for them. We need to build in resilience and adaptability for everyone. Most people have heard: “In the event of the loss of cabin pressure, help yourself first, then help others.” Each of us needs to prepare ourselves first, then help others. The best preparation is to continually build a unique set of knowledge and skills.

I think of this saying: “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Likewise, if you teach people how to read, you prepare them to learn and teach others for a lifetime. Of course, starting early is best, but it’s never too late to start building your own, unique set of skills and knowledge. Clearly, a lot of work is required, but the rewards are priceless.

To be prepared for sustainable success, one should pursue the full spectrum of knowledge and skills. With the internet and the ability to read, the sky is the limit. I continually told my students to prepare for many careers. There are lots of reasons besides disasters for changing careers. Your job disappears. You get tired of it. You seek something new and challenging. The trick is to be prepared to change.

Lifelong learning is the key to success, fulfillment, and happiness. It’s like a coin. One side is learning, and the other side is teaching. Teaching and learning are simultaneous activities. The student learns. The teacher learns. Oh yes! The entire world is our classroom. I used to tell my chemistry students: “The entire world is one giant chemistry laboratory.” The first step to living a wonderful life is to learn to read.

MARK ALAN POLLOCK
Johnson City

Nurses deserve celebration

Nursing is a profession to be celebrated — not just May 6-12 during National Nurses Week, but year-round. For 18 straight years the Gallup Poll has found nursing to be the most honest and ethical profession by a wide margin. It is hard to imagine a more impressive accomplishment!

National Nurses Week reminds all of us to recognize the millions of nurses who are the bedrock of our nation's healthcare system. Highly educated and trained in patient care, communication, leadership, and management, the overarching characteristics of a nurse are courage and compassion.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a generational event that is changing the socioeconomic landscape of the United States. Yet the nursing profession has risen to the challenge.

Nurses are running to help care for patients who have this illness, rather than away from the risk involved. They exemplify what it means to be a professional, utilizing their diverse skillset to meet the needs of patients and the healthcare system. A simple yet significant example of nurses' innovative thinking is how they are using communication technology such as Facetime to connect isolated patients with their loved ones. Nurses are being viewed as heroes, yet they are just doing what they have always done.

The Tennessee Association of Nurse Anesthetists extends our utmost gratitude and appreciation to all our nursing colleagues. Wherever you work and whatever type of nursing you do, we are all in this together.

DAVID KLAPPHOLZ
Knoxville

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