The Comfort Garden

The Comfort Garden

by Laurie Barkin

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The Comfort Garden by Laurie Barkin

The Comfort Garden is about the plight of people who have survived staggering trauma long enough to get to a hospital. The real-life stories unfold to highlight the astonishing impact of trauma on patients, family members, friends, and the caregivers who treat them.

The context is a trauma unit in a city hospital where the reader is invited in as a participant. The writing skillfully draws you to the bedside, has you sit with the rawness of the experience of loved ones, and provides a chance to listen in on the conversations about life and death that are common to a trauma unit. The reader gains an understanding of the complex and challenging experiences of patients, nurses, surgeons, social workers, and physical therapists, each providing texture to the fabric of the trauma unit experience.

This book will appeal to healthcare professionals, firefighters, police, war veterans, social workers, journalists, students, teachers, public defenders, judges, and anyone whose life is touched by trauma.

"The Comfort Garden reveals the real world of human-to-human caring at its highest level." -- Jean Watson, RN, PhD, author of Human Caring Science: A Theory of Nursing

"Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the intricate and sometimes cruel challenges of trauma and the path to healing. One cannot walk away from this book without being transformed by its content. As the author richly articulates, "It is as real as it gets..." -- Geoffry Phillips McEnany, PhD, APRN. BC Professor of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

"Laurie is that rare health professional with a gift for narrative and a story to tell. This is an important book for any health care worker, but especially for those of us who aretraumatic stress specialists. It reinforces the values and the spirit that brought us into the field. It reminds us of the obstacles we face every day: human cruelty, social injustice, dwindling resources. Read this. You'll be better for it." -- Frank M Ochberg MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University

"In an age when hospitals have been turning to quicker-acting medications, faster discharges, and fewer deep and meaningful conversations with patients, Laurie Barkin takes the opposite position. She urges us to make the time to use our knowledge of psychodynamic psychotherapy to help traumatized people early in the course of their distress." -- Lenore Terr MD, psychiatrist

"How permeable the line is between the cared for and the caregiver." -- Cortney Davis,The Heart's Truth: Essays on the Art of Nursing

Danielle Ofri MD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of The Bellevue Literary Journal and author of Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue and Medicine in Translation.

“Like a pebble hurled into water, a patient’s story ripples outward, lapping relentlessly into the lives of the caregivers. These stories penetrate caregivers in ways that can be wrenching, uplifting, unsettling, dispiriting, corrosive, inspirational, or numbing. The Comfort Garden is one of the first books to examine the effect of these stories on the caregiver. Laurie Barkin takes us into the taut, jarring world of the trauma unit where nurses and doctors face daily battles, both emotional and physical. Barkin tends these battle wounds with empathy, precision, and insight.”

The Comfort Garden, an engrossing journey into the contemporary world of hospital psychiatry… speaks eloquently to the humanity, compassion, and vulnerability of mental health professionals who help their patients navigate through some of the most difficult crises of their lives.” -- Jack Coulehan MD. Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine SUNY; Fellow, Center for Medical Humanities and Bioethics; Author of Medicine Stone

“The Comfort Garden is a great read. With its conversational, personal, yet professional style, this book contains essential information and inspiration for all trauma workers.” -- Laurie Anne Pearlman PhD, Author of Risking Connection: A Training Curriculum for Working with Survivors of Childhood Abuse.

Told against the backdrop of patients who survived motor vehicle accidents, falls, fires, fists, bullets, and knives, The Comfort Garden is a metaphor for the emotional support caregivers need. The story illuminates the issues of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma that may develop in caregivers when exposure to tragedy becomes routine.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016280622
Publisher: Fresh Pond Press
Publication date: 02/08/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 364
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Winner of the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year and Nautilus awards, Laurie Barkin has worked as a staff nurse and head nurse on in-patient units and day treatment centers, as a psych liaison nurse, and as a psych nursing instructor at University of San Francisco School of Nursing. Before writing The Comfort Garden: Tales from the Trauma Unit, Laurie worked for 22 years as a psychiatric nurse. Along the way, she has designed and facilitated nurse retreats and led support groups for staff. She is a consultant to the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry, providing support for psychiatric staff at San Francisco General Hospital. She is an active member of the Bay Area Red Cross Disaster Mental Health group.

Laurie Barkin began her nursing career on a surgical ICU before transferring to psychiatric nursing. After five years working on in-patient units in and around Boston, she returned to Boston University School of Nursing and earned a masters degree in adult psychiatric nursing with a focus on psychiatric consultation-liaison nursing. During those years, Laurie sang jazz standards in dinner clubs and hotel lounges in the Boston area. These days, Laurie has neither lost her voice nor her love for singing: she practices daily and sings with friends and family at neighborhood and holiday parties.

With her husband, attorney Brian Brosnahan, Laurie raised three children.

In combining her creative spirit with her passion for nursing, Laurie continues writing and welcomes stories you would like to share about the work you do.

She has said, "In my role as a psychiatric nurse working on the surgical trauma unit at San Francisco General Hospital, I listened to hundreds of trauma stories. When I listened deeply and without judgment, my patients seemed to feel heard and validated, an uncommon experience for many. Together we examined the twists, turns, and tragedies that had complicated their lives--and the feelings that accompanied them. Working with patients in this way required all of my skills as a psych nurse. The work was meaningful and fulfilling."

Laurie Barkin is available for lectures and workshops.

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