In THE NURSES, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Alexandra Robbins peers behind the staff-only door to write a lively, fast-paced story and a riveting work of investigative journalism. Robbins followed real-life nurses in four hospitals and interviewed hundreds of others in a captivating book filled with joy and violence, miracles and heartbreak, dark humor and narrow victories, gripping drama and unsung heroism.
Alexandra Robbins creates sympathetic, engaging characters while diving deep into their world of controlled chaos--the hazing ("nurses eat their young"); sex (not exactly like on TV, but it happens more often than you think); painkiller addiction (disproportionately a problem among the best and brightest); and bullying (by doctors, patients, and others). The result is a page-turner possessing all the twists and turns of a brilliantly told narrative--and a shocking, unvarnished examination of our healthcare system.
THE NURSES is a must-read both for the general public, who will learn hospital secrets that could save their own or a loved one's life, and for nurses, who will proudly share the book as a rallying cry for support and celebration.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Journalist Robbins (Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities) trains her sights on the adrenaline-infused world of emergency nursing, offering a disturbing snapshot of the barriers imposed on healthcare providers by colleagues, myopic bosses, and a changing healthcare system. She follows four ER nurses at four hospitals where patients range from the wealthy and privileged to the down and out, aiming to represent the varied perspectives of America’s 3.5 million nurses. During the book’s year-long time line, Molly quits her full-time hospital job to become an agency nurse while also beginning fertility treatments; Lara battles a crumbling marriage and a history of drug abuse; Sam, a novice, grows into a confident practitioner; and unpopular Juliette, despite a lack of encouragement from fellow nurses, saves lives while advancing her career. To illustrate the realities of nursing, Robbins addresses government surveys that “steer focus away from patient health,” a nursing “code of silence” that helps cover up addiction in their ranks, bullying, and the mix of factors that leads to medication errors. The “nurse confessions” section also dishes eye-opening material to the uninitiated. Robbins uses these four women’s trials and triumphs to show how the nursing profession itself remains as overwhelming as a busy ER. (May)
With 3.5 million nurses in the United States, they are the country’s largest group of healthcare providers. So it’s not surprising that after investigating sororities, geeks, overachievers and more, award-winning journalist Alexandra Robbins has turned her attention to The Nurses.
After interviewing hundreds, Robbins narrowed her focus to the personal narratives of four nurses. Although the author relies on pseudonyms and doesn’t identify the names of their hospitals or their locations, their stories are compelling in every way.
While undergoing fertility treatments, “Molly” quits her job at a hospital that treats nurses horribly and signs on with a nursing agency to seek out better working environments. A real-life Nurse Jackie, “Lara” is a highly skilled nurse who accidentally became addicted to narcotics while on the job. “Juliette” is an ER nurse who feels ostracized by a group of clique-y nurses. “Sam” is beginning her career and learning to navigate the ropes, with her first-day mantra being “Just don’t kill anyone.”
Interspersed with these narratives are discussions of nurse bullying, sex, on-the-job injuries, burnout, drug issues, heroism and more. There are horrific anecdotes (a nurse is ordered to keep working after being attacked by a patient, and ends up with a fractured neck), as well as heartwarming moments (Molly wheels a dying man and his wife of 68 years to watch their last sunrise together).
Robbins concludes by offering remedies for the many problems nurses encounter, with suggestions for what patients, families, nurses and aspiring nurses can do to make things better.\
RELATED CONTENT: Read an interview with author Alexandra Robbins.