Thursday, May 23, 2013

True Stories of Becoming a Nurse

My life lately has been filled with nurses.  Between my father going into a skilled nursing facility, my son needing lots of doctor appointments, and watching Call the Midwife, I think about and interact with nurses all the time.  More than I realize.  Funny that way, doctors are the important ones, the ones we see for problems, but nurses really have all the answers, comfort, and common sense.  
Reading, I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse made me actually consider becoming a nurse.  Each essay, written by a different nurse, was thoughtful, articulate and presented me with a side of nursing I had not before considered.  The authors were mostly female, from all over the US and Canada, and most had discovered second careers in writing and had written about their working life with humor, pathos, and insight. 

There were nursing students, nursing home nurses, pediatric nurses, ER nurses, nurses in rural china, and nurses on ships that sailed to impoverished nations to aid the poorest of the poor, suffering from common ailments that would never bother us.  I read about nurses who dealt with AIDS patients in the era when no one would touch one and nurses who arrived at people's homes to check on them in their darkest hours.  There were hospice nurses, and nurses who survived cancer to go on and become nurses themselves and one beautiful essay about nurse whisperers: told from the point of view of the person watching the nurse care for her aging parents.  Great one!

I enjoyed every essay and would like to write to one woman who raises issues about HIPPA and confidentiality that I have always thought about and considered in my own career with writing circles and incarcerated women.  She articulated some of the things I think about with regard to storytelling beautifully.

The epigraph on the front of the book says, "required reading for anyone going into healthcare" I would go one further and say it is required reading for anyone needing healthcare.  Truly, that good.  Good work. Thanks Nurses!


Steph said...


Anonymous said...

Recommending to several friends who just finished nursing training. MKP