Nurses have long suffered from a poor public image in the eyes of a misinformed public. This intriguing and affecting description of what nursing is today will go a long way to correct the misperceptions. The authors, both RNs, succinctly describe the crisis facing the profession--why nurses are in such short supply, and why we should be concerned about it--and then leave it to the practicing nurses whose interviews comprise this volume to elaborate and drive the point home. These women and men, say the authors, are educated, experienced, and committed; they here lay out "the problems they have finding time to practice nursing in today's health care system." Rather than the "strong back and weak mind" that the old saw maintained were the makings of a good nurse, what is needed, they convince us, is "a strong back, a keen mind, and a very strong will." We hear first from bedside nurses--the role that pulls many into the profession, and certainly the experience of nurses that most affects the public. "When the sun does down, anxieties go up"--and anyone who has ever been cared for by a first-rate bedside nurse knows what a difference good nursing can make. A hospice nurse, an obstetrical nurse, a cardiac care nurse, a nurse who cares for dying children all tell their stories: "I try to protect myself emotionally, because it does hurt too much. I was twenty-one when I first cared for a child dying of cancer. I remember him turning his face on the pillow, looking at me with those large eyes and saying, 'Bye'. . . It breaks your heart." We also hear From a group of nurses who acted strongly on matters of conscience (including a man who disconnected a terminally ill patient's respirator); nurse specialists; nurses whose work involves personal risk (prison nursing, etc.); nurse entrepreneurs; and many others, including some leaders in the profession. Modestly and matter-of-factly told by alt the interviewees, with minimal--but effective--comment by the authors, this has real dramatic impact; and sets the record straight on nursing.