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Nursing Assignment: A Brief Biography of Irena Sendler



Students are required to write a nursing assignment paper about a specific nursing leader addressing the following:

  • In your own words provide a brief biographical outline of the life of the nursing leader you have selected.
  • Identify and describe two attributes/values of an effective leader that were evident in the leader you have chosen. Provide example of how the leader demonstrated the attributes/values.
  • Describe two significant contributions/achievements of this person to the nursing profession?
  • Reflect on what have you learned from your research on this leader and describe how this knowledge will inform your own professional identity?


1. Biographical life of Irena Sendler
Irena Stanislawa Sendler, or simply referred to as Irena, selected herein nursing assignment was born in 15 the February in the year 1910 in Poland. She was a Polish nurse and a social worker that served in “Polish Underground Resistance”, during the time of World War II in Warsaw, which was occupied by Germans at that time. In 1939, when Nazi forces from Germany captured and invaded Poland, Irena had been working in “Department of Social Welfare”, in Warsaw (Mayer, 2011). She was a nurse and has been in a potential charge of providing proper nutrition to impoverished children present in the city, in which potential camps proliferated more than 400000 Jews mostly containing children, elderly people and women (Wieler, 2006).

Irena joined “Zegota”, which was a clandestine society, which favoured Jews and managed to enter camps occupied by Nazi forces. She nursed children and elderly patients and offered help to families. She had to struggle for gathering collaboration and set out potential rescue to many people. Irena was able to deliver above 2500 children from Nazi captivity in trash-bags, luggage boxes, ambulances as well as coffins (PulgarinBilvao, 2012). Irena was subjected to torture being caught at one time and her feet and legs were broken.

She did not give up her will and miraculously was set free. In 1991, Irena was made an honorary citizen in Israel and in 1996; she has been awarded “Commander’s cross of Order of PoloniaRestitua”. Irena passed away on 12th May 2008, whichis celebrated as “Day of the Nursing Professional”. Irena has been responsible for serving people in crisis during the World War II and has been an efficient form of nursing leader, in global context (Hegge, 2013).

2. Identification and Description of two values and attributes of effective leader, evident in Irena Sendler

Social Justice as a Value
The effective nursing value, which was evident in Sendler was “Social Justice”, that encompasses potential empathy and caring and results in promotion associated with patient’s dignity. In this concern, Sendler stated after the WWII that each child that she saved comprised of justification of her existence and not any title of glory. During “Third Reich Struck”, there has been increased form of severity against Poland in the war. Irena did not lose hope or panicked at that time (Muñoz-Pino, 2014). She did not even think about her own life and focused on saving lives of elderly people, children and women who were staying in captivity of Nazi forces. It clearly demonstrated her compassion as a valued approach towards her patients.

Additionally, Irena delivered above 2500 children from captivity in different toolboxes along with ambulances; noteworthy of them was “ElzbietaFicowska”, who was only six months old when she was taken to freedom in wooden box under proper influence of sedatives (Poorchangizi et al. 2019). When Sendler was tortured being caught, she did not surrender; rather she stated that nobody could break her will. This clearly demonstrates Sendler’s value of social justice, which being a nurse and assured most significant part of leadership in nursing and social work attributes.

Communication as an Attribute
It is worthy to mention that Sendler communicated with her patients in secret during serving the children and elderly people held in captivity. She invoked the trust among her patients, which allowed her to rescue them. She had been the professional, who dedicated to both caring for her patients along with helping her patients in a general sense. Efficient communication is a critical attribute of a nurse or a nursing leader (Kaya & Boz, 2019). A nurse’s roles and responsibilities rely on efficiently communicating with other nurses, patients and families for providing best possible service.

In this concern, Irena demonstrated proper ability towards interpreting as well as conveying communication in a correct manner. She also was efficient in gaining trust of children during the WWII crisis (Al-Banna, 2017). She has been an excellent communicator that helped children to feel safe and prioritised. It helped her to provide them safer care not only to their medical and nutritional needs but allowed her to rescue them and bring them freedom from captivity of Nazi forces.

3. Significant contributions in nursing profession
Sendler enhance bigger achievement in terms of defining best possible “nursing practice”, through assuring a clear vision and plan that helped her to care for those in need during WWII. One of the biggest achievements of Sendler is an ability to demonstrate “Problem-solving skills”, even during one of the biggest crisis of the world in WWII. She clearly representedprofessional form of communication skills with children and elderly people and helped them out of the torture in captivity through her brilliant mind. She demonstrates efficient use of leadership style and assures that inclusion of proper continuity of care enhances direct services to those who need them (Schmidt & McArthur, 2018). She had a clear ability for envisaging concept of health needs, of her patients and worked to provide freedom and social justice to them through rescuing them from captivity. She illustrated mutual trust aspects and need for communication skills with an efficient decision-making approach, that allowed her to act even in the time of crisis, resulting in saving more than 2500 children in need during WWII.

Another major achievement of Sendler to nursing profession is to illustrate “Interest of coordinated and total care”, to her patients and people in need for attaining freedom even during primary crisis of WWII (Pickles et al. 2019). Her potential compassion with a collaborating attitude helped in assuring a measure of potential form of constancy along with proper continuity. She has been tremendous in terms of being ‘calm under pressure’, while being attentive to details. She even used sedatives in a proper manner to six-month-old child, for rescuing her to freedom in a wooden box comprising holes in them.

It needed emotional form of strength and marking analytical approach to assure best possible form of critical thinking while treating her patients with dignity and respect. Her bravery also contributes to her profession through her dedication to potential excellence along with enhancing best possible mentorship during her serving years. Her wartime efforts assured her to receive “Order of the White Eagle”, enhancing highest form of civilian decoration recognition of award. Furthermore, in this concern, she has been also subjected to get awarded the “Jan Karski Award”, “For Courage and Heart”, provided through ACPC, in Washington (Fernández-Feito et al. 2019).

It is critically notable that Irena had been efficient and one of the most noteworthy modern nurse that taught the world to act and serve for people in need with outrageous courage. Her passing day is celebrated “Day of the Nursing Professional”, which again illustrates her coordinated care and social justice serving capability to her patients and to people in need of treatment (Wieler, 2006). Therefore, it can be stated that Sendler, has been efficient in terms of achieving problem-solving skills and enhance “integrated total care and coordination”, to patients, that she served during WWII, marking her significant achievement in modern nursing profession (Kaya & Boz, 2019).

4. Reflection
Conduction of this research has helped me to understand Irena Sendler’s role as a potential nursing leader and her serving years, which allowed her to rescue more than 2500 Jewish children during German invasion of Poland in WWII. Her modesty and outrageous bravery assured her to communicate effectively with children and elderly people at her care. It helped me to understand that communication is a major quality, which is needed for nursing profession, and it helps in bringing out potential details, that can be helpful during treatment purpose. Irena has been efficient in providing “Social Justice”, to the children held in captivity. It clearly demonstrates her empathy and willingness to provide a better life for her patients. It will help me to understand that a good nurse illustrates empathy towards their patients, while making true form of efforts to help them in need.

I have also learnt from this research that Irena tried to mark a potential commitment towards “Patient Advocacy” even risking her own life. It is an excellent quality of a nursing leader, which I think needs to commit towards patient advocacy through delivering them highest quality of care and service. In other words, this quality implementation in my career as a nursing professional will help me to be a potential advocate for my patients while delivering special form of attention towards enhancing their overall safety.

Her “Problem-solving skills “, assured critical thinking, which is very important in a nurse. Having a proper ability to incorporate effective form of critical thinking will help me to enhance best possible time-management as a future nursing professional, which will help me to concentrate on most critical issues on first basis. Finally, Sendler’s bravery and potential achievement to “coordinated total care”, to patients teaches me to bring better attention to detail and determine patient’s safety and care above all other things. I have been able to understand through this research that helping others in need is a major trait in nursing profession and it will help me to grow on better terms in my future nursing career.

Al-Banna, D. A. (2017).Core professional and personal values of nurses about nursing in Erbil city hospitals: a profession, not just career. Nurse Care Open Acces J, 2(6), 169-173.

Fernández-Feito, A., Palmeiro-Longo, M. D. R., Hoyuelos, S. B., &García-Díaz, V. (2019). How work setting and job experience affect professional nurses’ values. Nursing ethics, 26(1), 134-147.

Hegge, G. (2013). Sendler, Irena. In Encyclopedia of Social Work.

Kaya, A., &Boz, ?. (2019).The development of the professional values model in nursing. Nursing assignment Nursing ethics, 26(3), 914-923.

Mayer, H. J. (2011). Life in a jar: The Irena Sendler project.Long Trail Press.

Muñoz-Pino, I. P. (2014).Experience of nursing students upon their first care encounter with terminally ill patients. Investigacion y educacion en enfermeria, 32(1), 87-96.

Pickles, D., Lacey, S. D., & King, L. (2019).Conflict between nursing student’s personal beliefs and professional nursing values. Nursing ethics, 26(4), 1087-1100.

Poorchangizi, B., Borhani, F., Abbaszadeh, A., Mirzaee, M., &Farokhzadian, J. (2019).The importance of professional values from nursing students’ perspective. BMC nursing, 18(1), 1-7.

PulgarinBilvao, L. P. (2012). Irena Sendler. A nurse example of love of freedom. Investigación y educación en enfermería, 30(2), 277-288.

Schmidt, B. J., & McArthur, E. C. (2018, January).Professional nursing values: A concept analysis. In Nursing forum (Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 69-75).

Wieler, J. (2006). The Long Path to Irena Sendler-Mother of the Holocaust Children. Social Work & Society, 4(1), 176-181.


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