The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives by Theresa Brown, RN

I found this buried in a pile of old advances on my bookshelf. It came out in September of 2015, and if you like true stories of empathy and healthcare professionals, you’ll love Theresa Brown’s story of one 12-hour shift at the hospital she works at. Theresa’s a nurse on the oncology floor, and her four patients: Candace, an over-dramatic patient who has returned for a transplant, Richard, a frail, elderly man whom Theresa has to give a black box lymphoma drug that may just kill him based on it’s strength and his fraility, Sheila, who doesn’t have cancer but who has a unique clotting disorder and may have been seriously misdiagnosed, and Dorothy, who was there to make sure her immune system is strong enough for her to go home after remission. By the end of the book, Dorothy leaves and Theresa inherits Irving, an older patient who is back because of a mysterious boil on his back. It sounds like a lot to keep up with, but Theresa lays out all of her patients history and current ailments and infuses all of them with a healthy dose of humanity. She charts the obstacle course of emotions she no doubt repeats every day at the hospital: sadness at seeing old friends are back in the ward to fight again (Ray the firefighter) and at patients decompensating (Mr.King), horror at misdiagnosis that has really put the patient at a higher risk and her small role in it (Sheila), patience of a saint (Candace- I would’ve let her have it!), joy (Dorothy going home and Richard’s miracle), and finally, when her shift comes to an end, exhaustion mixed with exaltation. Yet the reader feels her love for her job overrides the tilt-a-whirl her emotions are usually on, and the reader also benefits from an insider’s look at the behind-the-scenes in a hospital and how some decisions come to be made in the place that never sleeps. Well done, Theresa Brown, and kudos to you for all that you and the other nurses of the world do! 

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~ by generationgbooks on May 1, 2017.

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