May 10

Happy Nurses’ Week: Part 2!

Dr. Marion Allen and me!

In the spirit of the week, I will continue to reflect on those nurses, those teachers that “lit the path” for me.  Dr. Marion Allen, an extraordinary nurse, a brilliant scholar and wise friend was my guide through my doctoral program. Marion’s twin gifts were patience, and strength. As I reflect on the whole experience as a doctoral student…you know… there are moments when you think you have just discovered or revealed something brilliant…something really extraordinary. For me, that “brilliant” insight usually translated into excited, exuberant (and really verbose) sessions with Marion listening, and me expounding upon the idea—usually at some length (and it generally involved lots of arm gestures and pacing as well). Instead of doing anything to dampen the moment, she would most often share my excitement and pronounce upon it her highest compliment: “Cool…really cool!” Then later, much later, when the idea was no longer newborn and fragile, we would return to it and tug at it together, stretching it out to all its logical limits, connecting it to the knowledge base of nursing “so let’s talk about how this relates to the object of nursing…” In her patience resided the true brilliance. Now THAT was cool Marion, really cool!

Marion’s strength is that kind of strength that has nothing to prove—it just is. Doctoral education, like all human endeavors that involve more than one person, has its own special set of politics. There are sensitivities about a myriad of things: funding, committees, publication etiquette, and on and on. There I was, ostensibly developing a body of work around “advocacy”, mostly blissfully unaware that the real advocacy, in the moment, was happening on my behalf, with Marion working in the background helping me to stickhandle any politics that may turn into obstacles. She did this with such diplomacy and grace that her “hand” was never visible, only her fingerprints. Thank you Marion—your way of being taught me as much as your way of teaching.

Today, I was grateful for a moment to think about that.

Once again, Happy Nurses’ Week dear colleagues!


  1. Jayne Smitten

    Touche! And Cooool, Shannon!

    Nice to share those special and happy moments in our journeys within this extraordinary field!


    1. Shannon

      Thank you Jayne, I do hope you’ll continue to follow the blog! And a very happy nurses’ week to you!

  2. Terri Woytkiw (Grzyb)

    Hi Shannon: I had to comment on this post and photo!

    Firstly, my sincere congratulations as you step into the CARNA president elect role, you will do a grand job. The enthusiasm you have for nursing is palpable in your posts, I can’t think of a better quality to lead our organization. I don’t know that our challenges are greater than those of past nurses, but they sure feel that way. The ability to see our strengths and continuing moving foward is crucial and I confident you will help CARNA do this.

    Secondly, I share your appeciation of Marion. She has a quiet strengh, and remarkable insight on many topics, she also happens to be my sister in law. She is a great gift to nursing, and to our family.

    Again, congratulations, Classmate, you did good!!


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