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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between by Theresa Brown


Luckily Ms. Brown is not only a nurse, but she also used to teach writing on the college level. This is not a straightforward memoir with a solid-line narrative, but instead it's a series of long vignettes about her experiences changing to a nursing career later in life.

Just like any job, there are difficult people to work with and bad work environments. She also talks about heartbreaking patients, the difficulty of learning all the medicine, and some truly gross situations (don't read this book while eating!) She works in oncology (cancer) so naturally some parts are sad. At one point (not at work) she is injured which slows down her training, but ultimately makes her a better nurse.

She is passionate about her career change choice, she's a good writer, and she relates stories well, but it just didn't grab me. I think the fact that there wasn't a through-narrative created some distance, and didn't get me as emotionally invested. Also, while she does mention her family a couple of times, the book is 95% about her work, and doesn't feel like it's about her whole life. The patients, the other nurses and doctors all just come and go, again without anyone being a character through the whole book, which also added to the distance and the lack of investment. While I did enjoy the book I think due to these narrative choices, it is likely to mostly appeal to people interested in nursing, though it had the potential to break out to a larger market.

I got this book from a friend.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Oh that's too bad... it sounds like it had potential! I could see where current nurses or those who are studying to be nurses would enjoy it. I remember in college I would try to get my hands on everything I could find about "real life" social workers, LOL.