The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives

Theresa Brown. Algonquin, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61620-320-7
Books about nurses abound, but this meticulous, absorbing shift-in-the-life account of one nurse’s day on a cancer ward stands out for its honesty, clarity, and heart. Brown, a former Tufts University English teacher who later became a nurse, juggles the fears, hopes, and realities of a 12-hour shift in a typical urban hospital with remarkable insight and unflagging care. “To be in the eternal present of illness and unease, never knowing the future,” a weary Brown writes at the end of her long day, “it’s where my patients live so I, ever hopeful, live there with them.” Brown’s shift on one cold November day is focused on four patients. Dorothy, whose leukemia is in remission, is waiting to go home. Sheila’s excruciating abdominal pain turns into a life-threatening surgical emergency. Richard will get a drug that will help his body kill its cancer cells—unless the drug kills him first. Candace, enduring a long hospital stay for an intravenous infusion of her own cancer-free cells (an autologous transplant), says it “feels like an emotional chess game.” Brown notes that “an oncology nurse’s favorite words to a patient are ‘I hope I never see you here again.’” Her memoir is a must-read for nurses or anyone close to one. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/27/2015
Release date: 09/22/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 204 pages - 978-1-61620-542-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-2837-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-5047-2836-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-5047-2835-5
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