NURSE by Peggy Anderson


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Anderson attempts to accomplish for nursing what Dr. Nolen did for surgery: make the daily chores and emotional liabilities of a city hospital nurse accessible. Mary Benjamin, R.N., head nurse on Eight Cook, expatiates on favorite and unlikable patients, staffing difficulties and holiday shifts, doctor-nurse relationships, and the support systems and rivalries that characterize large hospitals. Mary herself is somewhat unusual: she prefers the regular contact with patients--medications, bed pans, etc.--and turned down a more prestigious supervisory post because the added responsibilities would mean less time for actual care. She's candid about training prejudices (her three-year degree vs. the four-year B.S.), strutting doctors, sick patients with hovering families, strategies for watching terminal cases, and the strains such work adds to her marriage to a medical student. Benjamin's view is more stiffly professional than other popular versions--none of the easy sex or flagrant abuses of Hospital--but the conversational tone and the frequent references to repeat admissions and her own feelings give this an informal framework. Several surprising omissions: no complaints about understaffing, virtually nothing about orderlies or nurses' aides, and not a word about unions or administrative diversions. Mary Benjamin emerges as a more substantial person than the usual TV cutie: competent, committed, with genuine quirks--you'd want her on your floor.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
Publisher: St. Martin's