Friday, April 30, 2010

buy the piano

Have you ever found yourself wondering how oncology nurses can handle doing their jobs? It has to be the hardest job in medicine. And, as is learned from Theresa Brown's new memoir, Critical Care - A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between, you can add the physical stress of working long shifts to the emotional toll of caring for vulnerable patients and their families.

I was originally drawn to this book because I'm intrigued by people who make changes in midlife. In this case, Brown left her position as an academic (professor of literature) to enter nursing school and ultimately become an RN specializing in oncology. It was interesting to read why she made this decision and the impact it made on her family.

Brown writes vividly about her triumphs and struggles to become a fully skilled, professional nurse within the unique work culture of a hospital, and more specifically, a ward on the oncology floor. Did you know that some of the mean girls we encountered in high school later became nursing supervisors? Heads up.

What I found most profound was learning how Ms. Brown's experience with her patients and their families changed her view of life. As she learned to be an effective advocate for her patients, she also found the determination to stand up for herself as a medical professional. And, not surprisingly, she has learned first-hand how quickly your life or someone you love's life can change. Take nothing for granted, or as the author says: buy the piano.

Note: I received an advance reader's edition of Critical Care from Library Thing's Early Reviewer.

If you would like my copy of Critical Care, leave a comment about your view of the role nurses play in our healthcare system. I'll use on the evening of Saturday May 8th to select the winner. Be sure to leave a second separate comment if you follow this blog. U.S. residents only.
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Kathleen said...

I'm always fascinated to learn how nurses chose their profession. In so many ways they have thankless jobs and they work so, so hard and do such important and impactful work. As my parents have gotten older they have been in the hospital quite a lot these past 5 years. I always make it a point to say thank you to every one of the nurses who take care of them when they are there. Thanks for posting about this book. I hope many of us will take the time to read it and appreciate nurses more.

Judy said...

Sherry, I worked as a Hospice social worker for 18 years. I knew a lot of fine nurses who devoted themselves to caring for the dying. I already won a book from you, so don't worry about me. I am officially starting it tonight. I can't wait. I will let you know how I like it.

The Bumbles said...

I follow you - of course.

The Bumbles said...

I believe that nurses, teachers, cops and firemen/women are the tops. The guardians of the community's safety and success. Those that deal with terminal people are gifted and walking saints. Bless them.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

christa @ mental foodie said...

I work in healthcare (not as a medical profession) and work closely with nurses/docs etc. I can't imagine a world without the RNs!

Stephanie said...

I've had some really, really amazing nurses during my hospital stays and during my visits to the ER. I had the best nurse ever during my labor and delivery with my son. Her name was Katie, and she was kind and patient and helpful, and she took everything I said seriously (including my telling her I felt pushy ten minutes after getting in the room. My son was born about 30 minutes later!). I remember her very fondly and think of her often, even though my son is about to turn 8. Nurses can make such a wonderful difference!

stephaniedekeyser at

Katrina said...

I know how important nurses are. THey are literally the people that keep hospitals running. Every time I see a nurse I always treat them with high respect because I seriously look up to them.

ykatrina at hotmail dot com