An eye-opening resource illustrates one more facet of how race affects health care.

Discrimination Experienced in the Nursing Profession by Minority Nurses

A veteran nurse and educator compiles firsthand accounts of nurses who have faced racism in New York City hospitals.

In this debut collection of interviews, seasoned nurse and nursing teacher Semper pulls back the veil on the racism and discrimination in New York hospitals in the 21st century, giving a platform to 50 minority nurses to share their frustrations and battles with prejudice and intolerance within their field. These caregivers range in age, experience, and, especially, background, including but not limited to Latino, Indian, Asian, and African-American nurses as well as immigrant caretakers who have come to New York from as far away as Russia and Guyana. Despite these differences, each illustrates a consistent pattern of minority nurses being ignored or exploited, paid less than their white counterparts, and segregated to working only night shifts. Those wronged have few places to turn for aid, as most human resources officials are influenced by institutional racism or are unable to protect complainants from retaliation, while organizations like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are largely staffed by nonminority workers as well. It is clear some of those interviewed have given up hope, discouraging other minority nurses from pursuing their careers, but others, though not optimistic, offer pragmatic solutions, pushing for racial-awareness training, suggesting more on-the-job nurse advocates, and stressing the importance of education and effective mentors. Most striking in these accounts, besides the great bravery each nurse demonstrates in coming forward, is the near-identical hardships they describe. Furthermore, each clearly illustrates the impact these discriminatory environments have on patient care, with mental and emotional abuse leading to burnout or breakdown, decreasing the quality of treatment and forcing much-needed skilled workers out of the field. Individually the essays are rather abrupt, and while this makes them no less believable, the heartbreaking similarities across all 50 stories are largely what tie these diverse voices together. Some broader statistical information would have been welcome, but even without it, the final product is more than just a collection of grievances. It’s a cacophonous call to action.

An eye-opening resource illustrates one more facet of how race affects health care.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4917-9751-8

Page Count: 126

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

It's being called a novel, but it is more a hybrid: short-stories/essays/confessions about the Vietnam War—the subject that O'Brien reasonably comes back to with every book. Some of these stories/memoirs are very good in their starkness and factualness: the title piece, about what a foot soldier actually has on him (weights included) at any given time, lends a palpability that makes the emotional freight (fear, horror, guilt) correspond superbly. Maybe the most moving piece here is "On The Rainy River," about a draftee's ambivalence about going, and how he decided to go: "I would go to war—I would kill and maybe die—because I was embarrassed not to." But so much else is so structurally coy that real effects are muted and disadvantaged: O'Brien is writing a book more about earnestness than about war, and the peekaboos of this isn't really me but of course it truly is serve no true purpose. They make this an annoyingly arty book, hiding more than not behind Hemingwayesque time-signatures and puerile repetitions about war (and memory and everything else, for that matter) being hell and heaven both. A disappointment.

Pub Date: March 28, 1990

ISBN: 0618706410

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1990

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Old-fashioned short fiction: honest, probing and moving.

A PERMANENT MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

One of America’s great novelists (Lost Memory of Skin, 2011, etc.) also writes excellent stories, as his sixth collection reminds readers.

Don’t expect atmospheric mood poems or avant-garde stylistic games in these dozen tales. Banks is a traditionalist, interested in narrative and character development; his simple, flexible prose doesn’t call attention to itself as it serves those aims. The intricate, not necessarily permanent bonds of family are a central concern. The bleak, stoic “Former Marine” depicts an aging father driven to extremes because he’s too proud to admit to his adult sons that he can no longer take care of himself. In the heartbreaking title story, the death of a beloved dog signals the final rupture in a family already rent by divorce. Fraught marriages in all their variety are unsparingly scrutinized in “Christmas Party,” Big Dog” and “The Outer Banks." But as the collection moves along, interactions with strangers begin to occupy center stage. The protagonist of “The Invisible Parrot” transcends the anxieties of his hard-pressed life through an impromptu act of generosity to a junkie. A man waiting in an airport bar is the uneasy recipient of confidences about “Searching for Veronica” from a woman whose truthfulness and motives he begins to suspect, until he flees since “the only safe response is to quarantine yourself.” Lurking menace that erupts into violence features in many Banks novels, and here, it provides jarring climaxes to two otherwise solid stories, “Blue” and “The Green Door.” Yet Banks quietly conveys compassion for even the darkest of his characters. Many of them (like their author) are older, at a point in life where options narrow and the future is uncomfortably close at hand—which is why widowed Isabel’s fearless shucking of her confining past is so exhilarating in “SnowBirds,” albeit counterbalanced by her friend Jane’s bleak acceptance of her own limited prospects.

Old-fashioned short fiction: honest, probing and moving.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-185765-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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