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The Making of a Surgeon Paperback – May 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0922811465 ISBN-10: 0922811466 Edition: Gift Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Mid List Press; Gift Edition edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0922811466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0922811465
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The style is conversational and engaging.
Bufford D. Moore
Of the thousands of books I have read, this is one has had a lasting impact on me all these years.
carpoozie22
And if you plan to be at bellevue, this is mandatory reading!
Samantha Price

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Bufford D. Moore on September 21, 2003
I wanted to be a doctor; more I wanted to be a surgeon. In 1960's Houston, however, boys from public schools and working class families did not get ANY encouragement. One day, purely by accident (literally a draw from a hat) I was assigned to read The Making of a Surgeon. When I closed the book, I knew that I would someday make it. Why?
The central lesson of the book was that the best surgery residents were those that got up at night and actually saw patients. Dr. Nolen made it clear that surgery residency was primarily a matter of attention, compassion, and work. Not brilliance, not political connections, not a long family history in medicine. A real revelation for a small town Texas boy. I mean, I could work!
Some of the procedures are technically dated, and some diseases are hardly seen now, but the face of surgery residency in New Orleans in 1988 was remarkably similar to that in the New York of Dr. Nolen's book. The style is conversational and engaging. The only real regret is that Dr. Nolen will not be writing any more.
Should be required for every child that thinks they can't possibly be a surgeon.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 2001
I thought this was one of the best medical books I've read. The book was somewhat outdated though in its reference to surgical procedures and residency, but that also makes you appreciate the advancement of surgery over the last 30 years. I didn't really pay attention to how old the book was though, as the main point was Dr. Nolen's maturation from a clueless intern into a competent surgeon. He describes many different facets of surgical training from the first appendectomy to life outside of the hospital. I believe Dr. Nolen wrote an excellent book and meticulously gives a full perspective into the life a surgical resident. I enjoyed his writing style, which was very clear and straight forward. I think this book is a must read for anyone considering a surgical career.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By olafva on March 16, 2002
I read this book many years ago and still recall many things from it today. The book is well written and documents first-hand experience beginning as an intern in Bellvue Hospital. One can picture oneself accompanying William Nolen on his rounds and facing many dilemas both medically, politically and physically. I understand that today we face a declining number of medical students who choose to go into surgery whether due to demographics, creature comforts or whatever. This book "tells it like it is" from the point of view of an individual thinker who doesn't mind "rocking the boat", a la the current book "Heart Frauds" by Dr. Charles McGee.
In summary, a very enjoyable read that brings us "behind the scenes".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. BOZKURT on April 23, 2008
It grabbed my attention while I was looking for medical books. Being a medical student, I know the difficulty of getting personal details of the hard times an intern encounters. It's almost impossible to get an anecdote once they finish up and become a specialist (yes I know they may share one or two from time to time, but such numerous examples with details?) Dr. Nolen perfectly shares all his mistakes, his regrets, his experience and etc. A bit dated of course but you should stop to ask yourself, why such an old book like this (where the price of rent in New York were about 300$) is still in the hands of readers? I wished it was lengthier, couldn't put it down, flows smoothly, a good week read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristin E. Lang on April 13, 2007
An excellent book! My father introduced me to this work, as he knew William Nolen personally, and in fact was a character in the book, Jack Lesperance. Our real last name is Peterson, but it was a pleasure to get some insight into my father's residency at Bellevue Hospital in NYC.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Young on November 9, 2006
Verified Purchase
Surgical training and practice has changed a great deal since Bill Nolan wrote this book, but I find myself thinking about this book almost weekly in my job as an academic general surgeon. I think Dr. Nolan, better than any other author before or since, explained one of the essential tenets of surgical practice "when someone calls you, you need to get out of bed". Even when exhausted, and even when he was on services (including path) where he had no interest and even less aptitude, he did his job to the best of his ability. I would also strongly recommend his two later books, although they may be impossible to find.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Windes on February 22, 2012
I've noted that many of the people who have thus far reviewed this work are involved in the medical profession. While Nolen's book is, no doubt, a great read for the professional, I believe it is just as interesting for the typical man on the street, or if you will, the potential patient.

I picked up the book almost by accident. Needing a book to read on a long flight, I almost thoughtlessly picked up an old copy off a friend's shelf. Once I started it, however, I found that it was every bit as engaging as the best page-turner. Dr. Nolen was apparently not only a brilliant surgeon, but a gifted writer. There are so many interesting facets to this book, I hardly know where to start.

As is the case with anyone who watched the old television show "ER" knows, doctors go through a number of years of practical training beyond the four years they spend in college and the four years they attend medical school. This in itself is amazing to me, as a typical residency is around four years also, most doctors will be 30 years old before they are able to start their individual careers. I believe Dr. Nolen spent five years in his surgical residency. This book focuses on that time period. As many of us are aware, the residency period is an incredible marathon. Nolen well-conveys the level of stamina the resident must possess, to the point where the up-and-coming resident must virtually give up all vestiges of a private life.

He also highlights the great divide between the internist and the surgeon. While I was aware of the technical differences in the way internists and surgeons approach treatment of the ill and injured, I had little idea of the great psychological divide between the two. In a way, the surgeon approximates the personality of a test pilot.
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