A STONE FOR EVERY JOURNEY
Traveling the Life of Elinor Gregg, R.N.
By Edwina McConnell and Teddy Jones
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Elinor Delight Gregg, R.N., the first Supervisor of Nurses for the Indian Service, holds the microphone and begins to speak. Her memories--vivid with details of 80 years of an independent woman’s life of adventure, frustration, triumphs, and personal commitment to caring--begin to fill the first tape. She wonders how the two University of New Mexico nursing students, Melody Johnson and Alice Fryer, can possibly benefit from what she has to say. Her stories tell of times far before they were born--of miles she traveled through World War I, on Indian Reservations, in Washington, D.C., and all the journeys between and since. But as always, since she’s agreed to help, she will. Melody and Alice want to learn from Elinor’s experiences, but conflicts and questions about marriage, the Vietnam War, commitment, women’s roles, adventure, and about the type of nurses they’ll become threaten to distract them. Can Elinor Gregg help them find answers? And, once when they visit her in Santa Fe, another question arises--what is the purpose of the basket full of stones “Aunt El” keeps near her chair?
This thoroughly researched true biography set within a fictional relationship between Elinor Gregg and two University of New Mexico nursing students in the summer of 1966 will instruct readers interested in nursing, gerontology, history, and the Women’s Movement, and will fascinate the general reader who enjoys a good story.
Edwina McConnell, a nurse consultant and nurse educator, maintained a career-long interest in the life of Elinor D. Gregg, R.N., the figure about whose life this book revolves. McConnell first studied Gregg as a figure in nursing history during her undergraduate education. Fascinated by the spirit and character of this pioneering nurse, she collected primary and secondary research materials toward a biography for many years. The biography of Elinor Gregg was the focus of her work at the time of her death in 2002.
Teddy Jones is a nurse practitioner and nurse educator whose initial collaboration in this project was limited to critical reading of the developing manuscript and encouragement for her friend and colleague, McConnell. She also made a promise to complete the work should anything happen to prevent McConnell from doing so. Jones’ participation as co-author began when McConnell bequeathed her the research material and the partial manuscript. Or perhaps it began when she made that promise.
Both McConnell (BSN, MSN, Ph.D.) and Jones (BSN, MSN, Ph.D.) have numerous publications in nursing and health care. This is their first work of biographical fiction.
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