Thursday, January 10, 2013

7 Summits, by Patrick Hickey

Patrick Hickey writes a guide to successful living based on his climbs and career in 7 Summits: A Nurse's Quest to Conquer Mountaineering and Life. His target audience is fellow nurses, but the advice he gives applies to anyone searching for positive change in their daily lives. After an introduction to his Mount Everest experience, he provides seven categories for reflection: a balanced life, physical wellness, goals, positive attitude, realization of potential, desiring success, and creating a legacy. Each chapter contains examples from his life (including his upbringing on the family farm, his seven summits experiences, and his travels around the world), how the topic applies to his career in nursing, some advice for fellow nurses, and a checklist for the reader's reflection.

Hickey is a passionate advocate for careers in nursing. He decries the shortage of nurses and has raised funds (including through the sale of this book) for nursing scholarships. He states that he was initially uninterested in nursing, but liked the idea of a job in which he saved lives. From modest academic achievement in high school, he went on to attain a Masters in Nursing and a Ph. D. in public health after a career working in ambulances, emergency rooms, and a surgery center. He reminds his fellow nurses that they need to take care of themselves in addition to their patients, and that they should have a life outside of their careers.

His adventurous spirit led him seek out the Seven Summits. The book primarily focuses on his experience on Mount Everest, though he is sure to mention each of the summits (including Carstensz Pyramid) at some point in the book. He climbed Everest during the 2007 pre-monsoon season via Nepal under Henry Todd's Himalayan Guides service (along with Bo Parfet---see Parfet's Die Trying). As a part of the "B team" he actually makes the last ascent of the season, with a harrowing descent due to inflamed eyes that cause him to lose much of his vision. His success makes him the first nurse to complete the seven summits.

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