Nursing in the 90s (Nurses: The Human Touch)

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nurses-michael-brownStars: ****

Ivy Books (1992)
Interviews/Life Stories
318 pages

Synopsis: “Registered nurse Michael Brown has interviewed over fifty practicing nurses, spanning forty-one states and most nursing specialties. …he takes you to the front lines of his profession, where split-second, life and death decisions are made very day. You’ll experience firsthand the combat like tension of an inner city emergency room, the nonstop action of a Mobile Intensive Care Unit, the sound, sight and feel of an operation in progress, harrowing daily life in a psychiatric hospital and the joys of welcoming in the newly born.” – back cover

I picked this up at a used book store. I love reading about medical professions and I liked the idea of getting the viewpoint of the nurses as I’d mostly read about doctors up to this point.

Nursing in the 90s

Since it was written in the early 90s the stories are dated but it’s still a good read. In fact it’s even more interesting to see what nursing was like in the 90s in the USA. Major nursing shortages and AIDS scares are the two biggies that were mentioned in more than one story. Reading about what they had to go through, their work conditions, fears and such were interesting. However a few times I felt it was too much and it took away from the stories about what the nurse was doing and thinking in regards to the patients. I skipped over a paragraph or two here and there for this reason.

More Like Memoirs Than Interviews

Although the book says the author interviewed the other nurses, the chapters read like memoir type stories, not an interview. I like it much better this way as I’m not a fan of reading typical interviews for the most part. According to the author’s note, the book combines descriptive narrative with first-person perspectives.

Includes Many Types of Nurses

It’s common to read about or see on TV “typical” nurses such as those that work in emergency rooms or medical-surgical floors. This book covers nurses you don’t typically hear about in media including nurses in the recovery room, nurse practitioners, speciality units, teaching and even a mobile unit. There is even a male nurse’s story which includes a bit about his experiences with the differences between how male and female nurses and even doctors are treated.

Combines Shocking Reality with Humour and Wonder

I appreciate that the stories aren’t all happy rainbows or depressing storms but all of it and more. Nursing is not all positive or all negative so a book about the nursing profession shouldn’t be all or nothing either. This book will have you worried, upset and happy.

A Quote…

“Well, shall we get this over with?” she asks. When performing tasks she hates, like going through someone’s belonging looking for items that might be dangerous or doing a strip search, Penny will usually try to make light of it, tell them she went to nursing school to satisfy and urge to be nosy; that she knew if she became a psych nurse, she could look through people’s dirty laundry. “Let’s do this scene from Girls Behind Bars and then go have a cup of tea.”

Pam removes her shirt and does a twirl, showing her there is nothing to see. Penny has her unlatch her bra and hold it away from her body.

“Just shake it,” Penny tells her so Pam won’t have to take it all the way off.

Pam stares flatly at her.

“I beg your pardon,” she says, arching an eyebrow.

“I meant the bra.”

And they both start laughing.

Source: pg 194 – ch 7 – Psychiatric Floors (Nurses: The Human Touch by Michael Brown RN)


About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.