Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between
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Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between

3.9 38
by Theresa Brown
     
 

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"Doctors heal, or try to, but as nurses we step into the breach, figure out what needs to be done for any given patient today, on this shift, and then, with love and exasperation, do it as best as we can."—from Critical Care

"At my job, people die," writes Theresa Brown, capturing both the burden and the singular

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Overview

"Doctors heal, or try to, but as nurses we step into the breach, figure out what needs to be done for any given patient today, on this shift, and then, with love and exasperation, do it as best as we can."—from Critical Care

"At my job, people die," writes Theresa Brown, capturing both the burden and the singular importance of her profession. Brown, a former English professor at Tufts University, chronicles here her first year as an R.N. in medical oncology. As she does so, Brown illuminates the unique role of nurses in health care, giving us a deeply moving portrait of the day-to-day work nurses do: caring for the person who is ill, not just the illness itself.

Critical Care takes us with Brown as she struggles to tend to her patients' needs, both physical (the rigors of chemotherapy) and emotional (their late-night fears). Along the way, we see the work nurses do to fight for their patients' dignity, in spite of punishing treatments and an often uncaring hospital bureaucracy. We also see how a twelve-hour day of caring for the seriously ill gives Brown herself a deeper appreciation of what it means to be alive. Ultimately, this is a book about embracing life, whether in times of sickness or health.

As she takes us into the place where patients and nurses meet, Brown shows us the power of human connection in the face of mortality. She does so with a keen sense of humor and remarkable powers of observation, making Critical Care a powerful contribution to the literature of medicine.

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Editorial Reviews

Mehmet Oz
“Theresa Brown’s arresting account of life on the wards offers palpable testimony that nurses are first responders and primary healers in our times of crises.”
Julie Salamon
“If Theresa Brown tends her patients as well as she tells her story, they are lucky patients indeed. This absorbing dispatch from the front lines of medical care captures the daily travails and triumphs of nursing with humor, compassion, and sometimes terrifying immediacy.”
Richard M. Cohen
“Critical Care is a gift from an English-teacher-turned-nurse who writes from a deeply human context about her first year in a hospital oncology ward...A book of stirring stories about how we live, care for the sick and die.”
Suzanne Gordon
“Brown shows us what it means to be a nurse and helps us understand that nurses need as much intensive care as their patients. Sometimes more!”
Pauline Chen
“A beautifully written account of a nurse’s first year on the wards, a medical memoir that combines lyricism and compassion with searing honesty and well-timed laugh-out-loud wit...I loved this book.”
Elizabeth Cohen
“A must read for anyone who wants to understand healthcare. This extraordinary book will open your eyes to the reality of nursing. If you or your loved one ends up in the hospital, you’ll wish you had someone like Nurse Brown at your side.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061791550
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Pages:
189
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

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What People are saying about this

Julie Salamon
“If Theresa Brown tends her patients as well as she tells her story, they are lucky patients indeed. This absorbing dispatch from the front lines of medical care captures the daily travails and triumphs of nursing with humor, compassion, and sometimes terrifying immediacy.”
Pauline Chen
“A beautifully written account of a nurse’s first year on the wards, a medical memoir that combines lyricism and compassion with searing honesty and well-timed laugh-out-loud wit...I loved this book.”
Suzanne Gordon
“Brown shows us what it means to be a nurse and helps us understand that nurses need as much intensive care as their patients. Sometimes more!”
Elizabeth Cohen
“A must read for anyone who wants to understand healthcare. This extraordinary book will open your eyes to the reality of nursing. If you or your loved one ends up in the hospital, you’ll wish you had someone like Nurse Brown at your side.”
Richard M. Cohen
“Critical Care is a gift from an English-teacher-turned-nurse who writes from a deeply human context about her first year in a hospital oncology ward...A book of stirring stories about how we live, care for the sick and die.”

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Meet the Author

Theresa Brown, R.N., lives and works in the Pittsburgh area. She received her B.S.N. from the University of Pittsburgh and, during what she calls her past life, a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. Brown is a regular contributor to the New York Times blog "Well." Her essay "Perhaps Death Is Proud; More Reason to Savor Life" was included in The Best American Science Writing 2009 and The Best American Medical Writing 2009. Critical Care is her first book. She lives with her husband, Arthur Kosowsky, their three children, and their dog.

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Critical Care 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
LorraineNY More than 1 year ago
Everyone who ever questioned the value of the nursing profession should read this book. Theresa Brown offers insight into what a typical work day is for a nurse and how much nurses give of themselves to safely and effectively care for their patients.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a nurse i found this book easy to read & easy to relate to. It took me back to my first year in nursing. It gave me a few good laughs. Im not sure this book would be interesting if you werent a nurse or in nursing school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had trouble putting this book down, except to pause to talk about what I'd read in it. Theresa Brown's account of her first year as a nurse on a cancer floor -- after an earlier career as an English professor -- is wonderfully written, thoughtful, poignant, funny, and enlightening. It speaks to all of us who have ever interacted with the medical system or have contemplated starting a new job. A great read!
Anonymous 3 months ago
This book is great for anyone whi wants to pirsur a nursing career. Theresa gives her own personal accounts as well as her personal opinions on each situation. The book gives the reader great insight on what being a first year nurse is like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!  I started out as an Oncology nurse in a Pittsburgh hospital so this could have been written by me!  It brought back so many memories of my past nursing career.  Al who are considering a nursing career should read this book!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very realisric view of rewards and frustration of nursing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will have to buy for my daughter, also a nurse, now - looking forward to Theresa's next book. Her writing in the New York Times Well blog is thought-provoking.
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