DISTRICT NURSE by Patricia Jordan


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Overlooking the 1950s-juvenile jacket and starched prose, one can settle into this case history of a district (visiting) nurse in northern England. Born in Belfast, Patricia Jordan trained in England after an abruptly broken engagement and remained there when she married one of her first patients nearly 30 years ago. She sounds a model of propriety, a bit sanitized for some tastes, but there's no doubting her competence or command of any situation. When tried by cheeky patients, she's quick with icy rejoinders but she also knows how to give the needle: she told the local policeman, a former patient, to drop his pants and bend over when he tried to ticket her car. Although many patients require only routine care, a number are more memorable for gallantry, gripes, or the occasional deep attachment, and these are vividly recalled. She's seen a pregnant madonna with a devoted lover by day, a loving husband by night; a woman whose prostitution was calculated to improve her children's lot, and did; a warm, supportive family valiantly coping with the father's disseminated sclerosis; and a big-mouth auxiliary confuse a (heart) vulvcotomy with a radical vulvectomy and search in vain for the scar. Staid but enjoyable.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's