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Nursing professor named 'hero' by Red Cross

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Geraldine Gorman
Geraldine Gorman says nursing is more than just science.

Photo: Mark Mershon

Geraldine Gorman, who uses the arts in teaching nursing students, was named the first-ever Nurse Hero by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

The award is presented to a practicing nurse, nursing student or retired nurse who has exhibited heroism either in response to an emergency situation or through ongoing commitment to the community.

The Red Cross also honors heroes in nine other categories, including firefighters, military personnel and good Samaritans.

Gorman, assistant professor of health systems science, believes there’s more to nursing than science. She integrates the arts into her nursing curriculum, pushing her students to use their creativity through reflective writing, narrative stories and poetry.

“Nurses need to be a strong advocate for the profession, and writing helps the students clarify their values,” Gorman said. “Writing helps you become stronger when you’re speaking out for somebody else.”

Gorman has also created Arts Day at the college, where students can showcase their creativity and express themselves.

Gorman enjoys writing whenever her time permits, especially creative nonfiction stories. She and Paula Sergi, a retired nurse who is now a poet, have collaborated on two books.

In their latest work, A Call to Nursing: Nurses’ Stories about Challenge and Commitment, 25 nurses — 10 of them UIC nursing students — talk about why they entered the health care profession and what makes some decide to stay and others to leave.

Gorman worked for 18 months as an oncology nurse at a community hospital before becoming a nursing professor at UIC. She remains active in nursing outside the classroom, working at the Midwest Hospice and Palliative Care Center on the weekends.


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