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I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1937163129
ISBN-10: 1937163121
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Expect to be moved by this anthology of tales from the front line, written by veteran nurses and nurses-in-training. One contributor describes his experiences as a nursing student at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, when the disease was called gay-related immune-deficiency syndrome, particularly his nurse’s intuition, that is, knowing when a patient is going to die. There was a stigma to the work I was doing, he writes. But I eventually got to a point where I wasn’t afraid to say, when someone asked what I did, ‘I work with persons who are dying of AIDS.’ Several of the essayists lace their emotional tales with humor. A University of Pennsylvania nursing student records her friends’ reaction to her job: So you actually cleaned up poop? A woman who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teen becomes an oncology nurse. And a nurse recounts watching a person die for the first time. Essayists note that they’re not supposed to get too close to patients, but they do it anyway. It’s easy to love these empathetic people, and their beautifully written stories. --Karen Springen

Review

Booklist Review
March 15, 2013

Expect to be moved by this anthology of tales from the front line, written by veteran nurses and nurses-in-training. One contributor describes her experiences as a nursing student at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, when the disease was called gay-related immune-deficiency syndrome, particularly her “nurse’s intuition,” that is, knowing when a patient is going to die. “There was a stigma to the work I was doing,” she writes. “But I eventually got to a point where I wasn’t afraid to say, when someone asked what I did, ‘I work with persons who are dying of AIDS.’” Several of the essayists lace their emotional tales with humor. A University of Pennsylvania nursing student records her friends’ reaction to her job: “So you actually cleaned up poop?” A woman who survived Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teen becomes an oncology nurse. And a male nurse recounts watching a person die for the first time. Essayists note that they’re not supposed to get “too close” to patients, but they do it anyway. It’s easy to love these empathetic people, and their beautifully written stories.

— Karen Springen
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: In Fact Books; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937163121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937163129
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Roberts on April 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
This collection of essays really nails the essence of nursing. While there are essays about the "big two" of nursing--birth and death--there are also wonderful essays about the mundane but critical spaces in between. The nurse-writers reveal themselves to be competent, intelligent, caring, conflicted, and compassionate. The writing is very high quality and reveals a diversity of experience. As a nurse of 25 years, I can say that this book illuminated the spectrum of thoughts and feelings that I myself have had as a nurse. This would make a great gift to someone graduating as a nurse or contemplating becoming a nurse, but I recommend it for anyone who loves a good read about life. I'd love for doctors,administrators, and policymakers to read this collection. Nurses make the difference.
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My Mother recently passed, after over two months in the hospital and a few days in hospice. I was fortunate to be able to temporarily leave my job to be with her and got to know some incredible nurses, who helped immeasureably in preserving her quality of life (whatever that was as she was dying from cancer and suffering from dementia.) One CNA, in particular, came to her bedside at the beginning of her every night shift, eliciting a response like that of a kid on Christmas morning woken by Santa Claus. This whole experience made me wonder how these wonderful nurses developed their empathy and understanding, while remaining sufficiently detatched to be good clinicians. This book answered my questions better than I could have ever expected. I call it only a tough read because of my recent experience, but reading it was an uplifting, life-affirming experience.
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Format: Paperback
All in all, this is a pretty solid book and compelling read about what it takes to be a nurse. After reading this, I can tell that nursing is not the career for me, and I admire nurses all the more so for being able to handle all the trials and tribulations that they deal with on a daily basis. The title of the book nicely sums up the stories, which all generally feature high quality writing. Will this book ever be up for a literary award? Probably not. But it's definitely a good way to get a peek into this profession, and once I started the book, I couldn't put it down until I had finished it - I read straight through the night.
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By Jamie on June 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Kept me up too late already, because I had trouble putting it down. As a nurse, I found myself nodding in agreement, laughing, and sometimes crying. It's wonderful insight into the challenges and triumphs of nursing.
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This is an amazing selection of essays written by nurses, ranging from fears of newly-trained nurses, to the reflections of those with decades of experiences. I will never look at a nurse the same again. That said by a physical therapist who has worked along side nurses and already appreciate their risking their own health and wellness while caring for others, usually in an over-worked, under-paid environments. In addition, I suggest this book as a must-read, for patients, family members, and other caregivers so we can all improve in our care and comfort of others.
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True stories about experiences of becoming a nurse and the "eye-opening" or life-changing moments that have helped them to ultimately be better nurses. Great to vicariously experience their truths.
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I'll be a junior nursing student in the fall, so I thought it'd be nice to read some stories from nurses. Some stories were very touching and had me tearing up. It really emphasizes the compassion and humility of nurses. Some stories I found to be boring. It doesn't really have any direct advice (some stories did seem to have a lesson to be learned), but the stories were still interesting. It was comforting to read about others experiencing some frustrations in nursing that I have experienced as a nurse aide and at my clinicals because I could relate. Overall, it was a great book and I would recommend it.
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This is a true portrait of nursing. These nurses describe the feelings both positive and negative that I encountered during my 22 years of practice. There is an overwhelming feeling of fear as a new graduate which becomes an overwhelming respect for the profession as one grows in knowledge and incite. So well written. I loved this book.
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