Recently I had the pleasure of addressing students, faculty and administrators at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) regarding Odd Nansen’s diary. The talk was co-sponsored by the Tennessee Holocaust Commission.
Doctor Theresa (Tese) Stephens, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, organized the talk in conjunction with a research project she has been undertaking with her PhD nursing students to better help both nurses and their patients to become more resilient. By examining the lives of those who have undergone severe trials and emerged to lead healthy, productive lives, Stephens and her students hope to identify their core characteristics. Once identified, nurses can focus on enhancing these characteristics in themselves and in others.
Odd Nansen’s magnificent diary offers a perfect window into a resilient life, and so From Day to Day: One Man’s Diary of Survival in Nazi Concentration Camps has been used in Stephens’ class as one of its key textbooks. An interview with Dr. Stephens, describing her extensive research, can be found here.
The audience at ETSU was very attentive, and following my presentation asked many good questions about Nansen, his diary, and his life. All in all, it was a delightful afternoon, and I appreciate the opportunity to share Nansen’s story with such an engaged and thoughtful group. My entire presentation, which was recorded on Facebook Live, can be viewed here.