Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this book, Suzanne Gordon describes the everyday work of three RNs in Boston-a nurse practitioner, an oncology nurse, and a clinical nurse specialist on a medical unit. At a time when nursing is often undervalued and nurses themselves in short supply, Life Support provides a vivid, engaging, and intimate portrait of health care's largest profession and the important role it plays in patients' lives.

Life ...

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Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines

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Overview

In this book, Suzanne Gordon describes the everyday work of three RNs in Boston-a nurse practitioner, an oncology nurse, and a clinical nurse specialist on a medical unit. At a time when nursing is often undervalued and nurses themselves in short supply, Life Support provides a vivid, engaging, and intimate portrait of health care's largest profession and the important role it plays in patients' lives.

Life Support is essential reading for working nurses, nursing students, and anyone considering a career in nursing as well as for physicians and health policy makers seeking a better understanding of what nurses do and why we need them. For the Cornell edition of this landmark work, Gordon has written a new introduction that describes the current nursing crisis and its impact on bedside nurses like those she profiled in the book.

"...vividly recounts the stories of three RNs at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital to provide insight into their re- sponsibilities & relationships with doctors, patients, & families...critiques managed care & hospital restructuring."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nurses contribute greatly to the medical and emotional well-being of their patients but are often undervalued in the contemporary health care system, argues journalist Gordon Prisoners of Men's Dreams in this enlightening, involving, in-depth study. She interweaves the history and philosophy of nursing with on-the-job observations of three nurses at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital: Ellen Kitchen, a geriatric-home-care practitioner; Jeannie Chaisson, a clinical specialist, charged with giving support to bedside nurses; and Nancy Rumplick, an oncology nurse. Profiling a variety of cases the three worked on, Gordon lets the nurses speak for themselves, effectively illustrating their commitment to their profession and involving readers in real-life dramas, which often turn out to be ironic. Gordon describes Rumplick's ability to ease the fears of chemotherapy patients even when nausea is complicated by spousal abuse; Kitchen's dedication to her homebound clients, who may need as much help with housecleaning as with taking medication; and Chaisson's "situational teaching," on topics from swallowing for stroke patients to helping a prostate patient insert a catheter. The author sees the current trend toward managed care as a push for profits that will take precedence over patients and threaten the existence of quality nursing care. Mar.
Kirkus Reviews
Lavish praise for the nursing profession interwoven with dire warnings about the threat to its future posed by the growth of managed care.

At Boston's Beth Israel Hospital, Gordon (Off Balance: The Real World of Ballet, 1983; Prisoners of Men's Dreams: Striking Out for a New Feminism, 1990; etc.) spent over two years following the daily routines of three registered nurses: Nancy Rumplik, an outpatient nurse in an ambulatory cancer clinic; Jeannie Chaisson, a clinical nurse specialist on a general medical floor; and Ellen Kitchen, a nurse-practitioner in the hospital's home-care service. Gordon shows us Nancy dealing with angry, frightened patients, Jeannie sharing her wisdom with younger nurses, and Ellen bicycling to the homes of Boston's homebound elderly poor. By describing in detail the work of three highly skilled and experienced RNs—together they have a total of more than 50 years of experience—Gordon shows us nursing at its very best. Empathic, sensitive, knowledgeable, and conscientious, they seem exceptional, but Gordon stresses that there are hundreds of thousands like them. Nursing, she reminds us, is the largest profession in health care and the largest female profession in America. The catch is, bedside RNs are an endangered species. Long regarded as physicians' handmaidens, they are now, reports Gordon, seen as expendable luxuries by the managers of for-profit hospitals seeking to maximize their bottom line. Hospital patients are increasingly likely to be tended by unlicensed "patient care technicians" or by temporary and floating staff unfamiliar with either the patients or the hospital's routines. Gordon's paean to nurses thus also serves as a call to arms. In order to protect ourselves, she warns, we must act now to protect the nursing profession.

A convincing demonstration that, in a world of impersonal and complex high-tech treatments, a real nurse is the best medicine.

From the Publisher

"A beautiful, profound, and profoundly important book. . . . Gordon's message is simplicity itself: sick people need skilled, humane, and insightful care that keeps their interests paramount. Registered nurses have historically provided that care, but now their ability to fulfill their crucial role faces the greatest jeopardy in the history of the profession. . . . Life Support belongs in the august company of Silent Spring, The Other America, The Feminine Mystique, and other pivotal works with the power to shape the nation's consciousness."—Washington Post

"In this enlightening, involving, in-depth book, Gordon interweaves the history and philosophy of nursing with on-the-job observations of three nurses at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital. Gordon lets the nurses speak for themselves, effectively illustrating their commitment to their profession and involving readers in real-life dramas."—Publishers Weekly

"For patients, physicians, nurses, and health policy analysts, Gordon's passionate and accessible account of the impact of managed care on skilled nursing provides clear grounds for concern."—Health Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801464997
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2012
  • Series: Culture and Politics of Health Care Work
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 466,838
  • File size: 723 KB

Meet the Author

Suzanne Gordon is coeditor of the Cornell University Press series, The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work, and was program leader of the Robert Wood Johnson-funded Nurse Manager in Action Program.

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Table of Contents


Foreword to the Cornell edition by ix
Claire M. Fagin, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
Preface
Chapter 1 The Tapestry of Care 3
Chapter 2 Nancy Rumplik The Care of Strangers 21
Chapter 3 Jeannie Chaisson Not on the Charts 55
Chapter 4 Ellen Kitchen A Special Visitor 93
Chapter 5 Nancy Rumplik The Meaning of Illness 121
Chapter 6 Jeannie Chaisson A Mentor of Their Own 151
Chapter 7 Ellen Kitchen Collaborative Care 170
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