Charge of the Light Brigade

Forward, the Light Brigade!
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Their’s not to make reply,
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

If you don’t recognize this excerpt entirely, this is from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” Coincidentally, this poem was written during the Crimean War, the very same war in which Florence Nightingale is widely noted for her work for the profession of nursing. Just a little side note. I thought it was kinda cool. Also, Florence Nightingale is part of the namesake for this blog…just a FYI.

I chose to start this blog post with this excerpt because lately I feel like a soldier in the Light Brigade, alongside my co-workers. Charge, into the valley of death! Valiantly we march off to the trenches, awaiting the canon to the right, canon to the left, and canon in front. The analogies may seem like a stretch to some, but I beg to differ. Into the valley of death…I’m pretty sure Death and I have brushed shoulders too many times to count on two hands, as with any ICU nurse. Obviously, it goes with the job. We nurses do march into a valley of death, facing dying patients, violent patients, diseases, superbugs, and sheer exhaustion.

And what are the “canons?” Canons are anything that deviate us from the practice of nursing, the act of caring and curing. We dodge the canons, and then it takes that much longer to get back on course, only to dodge more canons from left, right, and front…when will I get hit?

Boldly they rode and well….rode the six hundred. All I have to say is thank you to my “six hundred.” You are my sanity, you are my family. Words cannot express the gratitude and love for my “six hundred.” Boldly we ride together.

I’d love to extrapolate more analogies and such, but I will refrain from doing so…. so Charge of the Light Brigade, into the jaws of death.

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