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A Nurse's Story 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0771080876
ISBN-10: 0771080875
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Frequently Bought Together

  • A Nurse's Story
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Editorial Reviews


“Tilda Shalof’s A Nurse’s Story is the first time the work of nurses has been documented in print in Canada in such an honest, no-holds-barred account. . . . Shalof has seen it all, and writes about it, too.”
The Calgary Herald

“But her book isn’t a doom-and-gloom account of overworked nurses. Interspersed with tales of tragedy are accounts of the funny, often bizarre events that transpire on an ICU.”
Canadian Press

“A compelling book laced with humour.”
Times & Transcript

“There are genuinely heart-rending, disturbing and thought-provoking stories to be found in the pages of A Nurse’s Story. If this book doesn’t give you pause, you’re made of stone.”
Edmonton Journal

“In a post-SARS world where nurses are finally being recognized for the heroes they always were, A Nurse’s Story is the best-seller no one can put down.”
–Montreal Gazette

“This is a difficult book. Its content is difficult. Its tone is difficult. But it is also difficult to put down, so compelling and beautifully written are these stores.… Shalof’s stories are naked and vulnerable. Nothing is held back in her portrayals of her most memorable experiences from the early ‘80s to the SARS crisis.… Shalof’s colleagues point out during one of their ongoing discussions about the value of their work, that eventually everyone needs a nurse. And for that reason alone, A Nurse’s Story would worth reading, in order to understand where it is most of us will end up sooner or later, what it is that might be visited upon us and just who it is that will be looking after us.… A Nurse’s Story helps us understand where it is most of us will end up sooner or later.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Readers may approach this book with the hope of reading dramatic tales such as those seen on television shows such as “ER.” While such readers are not likely to be disappointed, they are likely to discover more than they had hoped.… By turns sad, funny and touching, the author has done an admirable job of providing an insightful look into the real world of an ICU.”
Brandon This Week

“A cracking good read.… Despite the overt moralizing, this is undoubtedly a strong memoir. I hope it’s not the only story Shalof has to tell.”
Quill & Quire

From the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

The team of nurses that Tilda Shalof found herself working with in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a big-city hospital was known as "Laura's Line." They were a bit wild: smart, funny, disrespectful of authority, but also caring and incredibly committed to their jobs. Laura set the tone with her quick remarks. Frances, from Newfoundland, was famous for her improvised recipes. Justine, the union rep, wore t-shirts emblazoned with defiant slogans, like "Nurses Care But It's Not in the Budget." Shalof was the one who had been to university. The others accused her of being "sooo sensitive."
They depended upon one another. Working in the ICU was both emotionally grueling and physically exhausting. Many patients, quite simply, were dying, and the staff strove mightily to prolong their lives. With their skill, dedication, and the resources of modern science, they sometimes were almost too successful. Doctors and nurses alike wondered if what they did for terminally-ill patients was not, in some cases, too extreme. A number of patients were admitted when it was too late even for heroic measures. A boy struck down by a cerebral aneurysm in the middle of a little-league hockey game. A woman rescued - too late - from a burning house. It all took its toll on the staff.
And yet, on good days, they thrived on what they did. Shalof describes a colleague who is managing a "crashing" patient: "I looked at her. Nicky was flushed with excitement. She was doing five different things at the same time, planning ahead for another five. She was totally focused, in her element, in control, completely at home with the chaos. There was a huge smile on her face. Nurses like to fix things. If they can."
Shalof, a veteran ICU nurse, reveals what it is really like to work behind the closed hospital curtains. The drama, the sardonic humour, the grinding workload, the cheerful camaraderie, the big issues and the small, all are brought vividly to life in this remarkable book.

"From the Hardcover edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Emblem Editions; 1 edition (February 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771080875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771080876
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gen of North Coast Gardening TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was in the hospital a lot as a teen, for numerous surgeries on my lungs, and I developed an interest in medical non-fiction as a way of understanding the emotionally complicated world of medicine. I have read about twenty non-fiction books by doctors, nurses, interns, and others involved in the field, and Shalof's really stands out from the rest.

For one thing, nurses put in more time with each patient than doctors and surgeons do, so there is an emotional minefield ready to be explored. Shalof writes with such direct and unmistakeable honesty about her conflicting emotions in different situations, her thoughts and opinions about each patient's journey in the system, and in a broader sense with the incredibly frustrating and at the same time very gratifying field of nursing.

She brings up fascinating insights that the other books I have read didn't touch on, and the writing is so accessible and personal that I couldn't wait to get back to this book when I put it down.

I am really hoping for more from Shalof, because her writing is both beautiful and refreshingly frank.
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Format: Paperback
I have read many books written by doctors and nurses about their experiences and this one is definitely the best I have ever read. Not only is Tilda and incredible nurse but she's an incredible writer.

I can speak from experience, not as a nurse but as a patient. I have had six neurosurgeries, 2 of which required short stays in the ICU. I went through hell with every surgery and I learned that nurses can have a huge influence on how you feel both physically and emotionally.

Throughout these surgeries, I had a wide range of nurses. At the top were the nurses who were wonderful. They sometimes went above and beyond what they absolutely had to do. A couple of them even managed to bring a smile to my face when I was feeling so sick that I wanted to die. In the middle were the nurses who were kind and caring but didn't necessarily do anything special that set them apart from the rest. At the bottom were the nurses who showed very little empathy and didn't do a thing to help me through the trauma I was going through. I had a couple of nurses who were downright cold and even mean to me.

By reading this book, I can tell that Tilda, along with some of the other nurses she talks about, would definitely have been at the top of that list. So, Tilda, if you are reading this, we need more nurses like you!

This is a great book for anyone, whether they are in the medical profession, have been a patient themselves, or are simply interested in reading about this sort of thing. It was like reading a novel that you just can't put down. Definitely a 5 star book!
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Format: Hardcover
Initially purchased title, recommended by a collogue, to augment my clinical research on our medical care crisis, shortage and inadequacy of nursing care, high prescription costs, etc., here in Maine, vis a vis our Northern neighbors. Was hoping to find Ms. Shalof's work informative; but very pleasantly surprised to find it so very engrossing and moving, as well.
Must've feared receiving a dry recitation of facts and figures, with a few bare-bones character sketches sprinkled in. Hardly the case, fortunately. Quite detail-rich and filled with a myriad of fascinating characters, both care givers and patients. Confess I finished it, and it's not slim by any means, in 48 hours (my Inbox is now suffering for it!).
Must note, Tilda's work personalized the sometimes heroic challenges high-pressure, medical care practioners struggle with, particularly ICU; at the same time it opened a fascinating window on patient perspective I suspect could not've seen otherwise. Insight on quality of care issues, as well as the "essence" of the nursing experience, will certainly inform my project recommendations. Personally, intrigued by the Canadian nursing perspective -- which, as it turns out (least for this nurse) is not so unlike the best of ours here in the states.
Finally, must comment: top-notch writing! Don't usually lavish praise, but having just finished (for recreation) Hemingway's "Farewell to Arms," I found the unadonred, yet touching directness of her prose, esp. for a first-time author, to've stood up well; in particular, reminiscent of the emotional impact of Hemingway's Catherine in Childbirth scene. Must confess, found as entertaining as P.D. James' "Shroud for a Nightingale," too. Read this book! Won't disappoint on any level.
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Format: Paperback
I'm 7mo into my nursing career in a Pediatric Cardiac ICU. I'm at the point where the "honeymoon" is over. The charge nurse is giving me more difficult assignments and the senior nurses are expecting more from me. Most days its great, its nice knowing that the senior staff has the confidence in you to assign challenging pts. Other days... well its nice to read a book reminding you that this is our profession and even with the bad days, its wonderful. I loved this book, couldn't put it down. Several times when reading I just had to laugh out loud and say, "I've done that." or "I've felt that way."
After reading it, I bought six more copies and gave them away as gifts to some co-workers. Do yourself the favor and read this book...
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