Books by Suzanne Gordon

Released: March 12, 1997

Lavish praise for the nursing profession interwoven with dire warnings about the threat to its future posed by the growth of managed care. At Boston's Beth Israel Hospital, Gordon (Off Balance: The Real World of Ballet, 1983; Prisoners of Men's Dreams: Striking Out for a New Feminism, 1990; etc.) spent over two years following the daily routines of three registered nurses: Nancy Rumplik, an outpatient nurse in an ambulatory cancer clinic; Jeannie Chaisson, a clinical nurse specialist on a general medical floor; and Ellen Kitchen, a nurse-practitioner in the hospital's home-care service. Gordon shows us Nancy dealing with angry, frightened patients, Jeannie sharing her wisdom with younger nurses, and Ellen bicycling to the homes of Boston's homebound elderly poor. By describing in detail the work of three highly skilled and experienced RNs- -together they have a total of more than 50 years of experience- -Gordon shows us nursing at its very best. Empathic, sensitive, knowledgeable, and conscientious, they seem exceptional, but Gordon stresses that there are hundreds of thousands like them. Nursing, she reminds us, is the largest profession in health care and the largest female profession in America. The catch is, bedside RNs are an endangered species. Long regarded as physicians' handmaidens, they are now, reports Gordon, seen as expendable luxuries by the managers of for-profit hospitals seeking to maximize their bottom line. Hospital patients are increasingly likely to be tended by unlicensed ``patient care technicians'' or by temporary and floating staff unfamiliar with either the patients or the hospital's routines. Gordon's paean to nurses thus also serves as a call to arms. In order to protect ourselves, she warns, we must act now to protect the nursing profession. A convincing demonstration that, in a world of impersonal and complex high-tech treatments, a real nurse is the best medicine. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 25, 1990

A call for a more "caring" feminism by the author of Off Balance: The Real World of Ballet (1983) and Lonely in America (1975). Gordon contends that successful, liberated women have simply copied men—embracing a "masculine mystique" and "clawing our way to the top," without changing society to accommodate what she refers to as "caring." As she notes, many professions now demand more than 40 hours a week, few employers allow adequate time off to bring up children, some women flee the marketplace, and others who stay are "haunted by our compromises." America is neglecting many of its children, and has devalued nursing, teaching, and social work (the "caring professions"). Delivering her theses, Gordon cites examples and comments from interviews with more than 100 women (biologist to bank executive, consultant to nurse). Unfortunately, the author buries valid points in a simplistic, vague, repetitive text puffed with jargon like "transformative feminism," "derelationalized," and her favorite, "caring" (used as often as five times on a page). Imprecise and sloppy writing shows scant care for readers who must bat through sentences like "nurturing relationships has been our job description as gender." Also, Gordon expects to convince without clearheaded analysis, and without examining sweeping assumptions about women, now "victims" of the "oppressor" market. Her conclusion: a "National Care Agenda" to include child-care, housing for homeless, and a national pension system. A sermon on sexual politics and social ills, most disappointing to feminists listening for a convincing call to arms. Read full book review >