The changing face of nursing—revealed through relatively lackluster portraits of three working nurses. To predict the present status of a field that has long struggled for true professional standing, Carpineto, a psychotherapist, has selected the pseudonymous ``Dominique,'' a young staff nurse; ``Jessie,'' an experienced nurse manager; and ``Gina,'' a high-tech clinical nurse specialist. All three are employees of the same unnamed Boston hospital, although they have little or no interaction with each other. Carpineto spent several months following the three around, observing the dynamics of their relations with patients, physicians, nurses, and other staff, and interviewing their colleagues. Although she focuses on the nurses' work lives, the author also provides details of their family backgrounds, childhoods, and personal lives in an attempt to make the women come alive. Unfortunately, what she does not do very well is get inside the characters of her subjects, who remain flat on the page. Carpineto's frequent glowing descriptions of the nurses and her inclusion of copious complimentary quotes from their colleagues (about Jessie, for example, one co-worker says: ``She's such a happy person, so thoroughly knowledgeable about oncology'') create the impression that the author is reluctant to see her subjects as less than ideal representatives of nursing. Similarly, her flattering references to the hospital leave the sense that she may have been anxious not to offend those who gave her access. Nevertheless, Carpineto does offer a picture of an occupation in crisis that gives food for thought to anyone contemplating nursing as a career. The frustrations and drudgery of the job are made evident—as are the new opportunities created by advances in health-care technology. Despite its subtitle, not a gripping story of heartache and courage, but a fitfully informative look at where nursing stands today.
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