This collection of true narratives reflects the dynamism and diversity of nurses, who provide the first vital line of patient care. Here, nurses remember their first “sticks,” first births, and first deaths, and reflect on what gets them through long, demanding shifts, and keeps them in the profession.
The stories reveal many voices from nurses at different stages of their careers: One nurse-in-training longs to be trusted with more “important” procedures, while another questions her ability to care for nursing home residents. An efficient young emergency room nurse finds his life and career irrevocably changed by a car accident. A nurse practitioner wonders whether she has violated professional boundaries in her care for a homeless man with AIDS, and a home care case manager is the sole attendee at a funeral for one of her patients.
What connects these stories is the passion and strength of the writers, who struggle against burnout and bureaucracy to serve their patients with skill, empathy, and strength.
Advance Praise for I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out
"...Required reading for anyone beginning a career in healthcare—nurses and physicians alike.”
~ Margaret Overton, MD, author of Good in a Crisis
"A startling collection of stories from the bedside."
~ Paul Austin, author of Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER
“This collection exposes not only the strong, beating heart of nursing, but its brain, muscle, sinew and nerve endings—alive, pulsating, raw, real.”
~ Sayantani DasGupta, MD, MPH, co-editor of Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies
"Like most physicians, I have a long list of nurses who have mentored me, influencing my practice of medicine in the way they live their lives and care for their patients. This book is a testament to those wise nursing colleagues—and to the paths that have brought them their wisdom."
~ Marion Bishop, MD, PhD, Emergency Medicine physician and essayist