The stories of a nurse’s days and nights start with a fortune teller reading the handwriting of a disbelieving young woman, just out of high school. They take the reader through the medical emergencies the author later faced because of her husband’s diabetes, and the decision to apply to nursing school at the age of 39.
Ms. Crane’s experiences at the bedside come alive as she shares vignettes of twenty-five years of hospital nursing. There are the patients – the young and old, the sweet and the not so nice, the newborn and the dying. The sadness is real as she comforts a grieving widow. There is the pain of her own grief when she loses her husband. There are the humorous moments as the 12-year old boy with a broken leg zips around the floor in his wheelchair pestering the nurses. The final chapters tell of the finding of a new love, and of her decision to leave hospital nursing and take new pathways.
Much is written about the glamour areas of nursing. Books and television programs show the excitement and stress of the Emergency Room, of Intensive Care, and of the Operating Room. Nurses in the less acute areas of the hospital are typically shown in TV series as sitting around the nurses’ station chatting about their personal lives or handing charts to the doctors. Viewers don’t see what the real job of the Medical/Surgical or staff nurse is like.
In these stories the reader can see that a nurse’s role isn’t just shots, bed baths and carrying out doctors’ orders. It isn’t just giving TLC – though that is what good nurses do. Every hour of a shift the nurse is assessing, considering options, making decisions, and communicating, not just with patients and doctors, but also with families, social workers and other ancillary personnel. S/he is teaching – patients, students, nursing assistants. Then there is the paperwork – the many types of documentation that are required for preserving continuity of care and to comply with the laws that govern hospitals and the practice of nursing.
The author strives in writing about her nursing experiences to give a more comprehensive picture of that backbone of the hospital – the staff nurse. For these dedicated men and women, the Medical/Surgical floor has its own excitement, and in spite of the hard work and stress they wouldn’t work anywhere else. Nurse Crane tells these stories in a way which gives the reader a feeling of being right there at the bedside, sharing her experiences of days and nights.