I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out by Lee Gutkind
True Stories of Becoming a Nurse

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It is beautifully wrought, but more significantly a reminder that these “semi-invisible” people, as Lee Gutkind calls them in this new book, are now the “indispensable and anchoring element of our health care system.”
-NY Times

Synopsis

This collection of true narratives reflects the dynamism and diversity of nurses, who provide the first vital line of patient care. Here, nurses remember their first “sticks,” first births, and first deaths, and reflect on what gets them though long, demanding shifts, and keeps them in the profession. The stories reveal many voices from nurses at different stages of their careers: One nurse-in-training longs to be trusted with more “important” procedures, while another questions her ability to care for nursing home residents. An efficient young emergency room nurse finds his life and career irrevocably changed by a car accident. A nurse practitioner wonders whether she has violated professional boundaries in her care for a homeless man with AIDS, and a home care case manager is the sole attendee at a funeral for one of her patients. What connects these stories is the passion and strength of the writers, who struggle against burnout and bureaucracy to serve their patients with skill, empathy, and strength.
 

About Lee Gutkind

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Editor Lee Gutkind has been exploring the world of medicine through writing for over 20 years. He is the author of Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation, and the editor of four anthologies about health and medicine: Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives; Rage and Reconciliation: Inspiring a Health Care Revolution; Healing; and Becoming a Doctor. He is the founder and editor of the magazine Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary journal to exclusively publish nonfiction, and has also published the essay collection Forever Fat and two books on writing, The Art of Creative Nonfiction and Keep It Real, among other titles. Gutkind currently teaches creative writing at Arizona State University's Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes.Francine Prose is a literary critic and author whose nonfiction works include Reading Like a Writer and biographical profiles including Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife and The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired. She has also written 12 novels, including My New American Life, Touch, and the National Book Award finalist Blue Angel. Prose is the president of the PEN American Center, and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College.
 
Published February 25, 2013 by In Fact Books. 320 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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NY Times

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Reviewed by Jane Gross on May 20 2013

It is beautifully wrought, but more significantly a reminder that these “semi-invisible” people, as Lee Gutkind calls them in this new book, are now the “indispensable and anchoring element of our health care system.”

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