May 11, 2016
@KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here for #NursesWeek with Theresa Brown, RN.
Her book, The Shift, is as eye-opening as it is riveting. Brown is a practicing nurse and New York Times columnist and she invites readers to experience not just a day in the life of a nurse but all the life that happens in just one day on a hospital’s cancer ward.
Theresa Brown is also a PhD in English Literature and, before she took up nursing, was a former professor at Tuft's University.
In the span of just 12 hours,
lives can be lost, life-altering medical treatment decisions made,
and dreams fulfilled or irrevocably stolen. In Brown’s skilled
hands--as both a dedicated nurse and an insightful chronicler of
events--she offers an unprecedented view into the individual
struggles as well as the larger truths about medicine in the US
today, and by shift’s end, readers have witnessed something
profound about hope and healing and humanity.
Every day, Theresa Brown holds patients' lives in her hands. On this day there are four. There is Mr. Hampton, a patient with lymphoma to whom Brown is charged with administering a powerful drug that could cure him--or kill him; Sheila, who may have been dangerously misdiagnosed; Candace, a returning patient who arrives (perhaps advisedly) with her own disinfectant wipes, cleansing rituals, and demands; and Dorothy, who after six weeks in the hospital may finally go home. Prioritizing and ministering to their needs takes the kind of skill, sensitivity, and, yes, humor that enable a nurse to be a patient’s most ardent advocate in a medical system marked by heartbreaking dysfunction as well as miraculous success.