In this lively, fast-paced narrative, New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Robbins digs deep into the subculture of nursing, drawing readers into a brilliantly captivating in-depth investigation of the extraordinary working lives of nurses and the shocking behind-the-scenes secrets that all patients and their loved ones need to know.
The Nurses is told through the real-life stories of four women in different hospitals: Molly, funny, well-loved, and confident enough to quit a longtime job after her hospital ramps up its anti-nurse policies. Lara, a superstar nurse who tries to battle her way back from a near-ruinous prescription-drug addiction. The outspoken but compassionate Juliette, a fierce advocate for her patients. And Sam, a first-year nurse, struggling to find her way in a gossipy mean-girl climate she likens to “high school, except for the dying people.”
Readers will root for these bedside heroes, who operate in a world filled with joy and violence, miracles and heartbreak, dark humor and gripping drama. It’s a world of hazing—“nurses eat their young.” Sex—not exactly like on TV, but more prevalent than many imagine. Drug abuse—disproportionately a problem among the best and the brightest. There are true-life archetypes—the handsome, suave doctor, the patient brought back from death, the hunky male nurse. And bullying—by peers, by patients, by hospital bureaucrats, and especially by doctors, an epidemic described as lurking in the “shadowy, dark corners of our profession.”
The result is a riveting page-turner, insightful and thought-provoking, that will leave readers feeling smarter about their healthcare and undeniably appreciative of the incredible nurses who provide it.
Thanks to Net Galley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Alexandra Robbins is familiar with bringing the reader into a closed society; she is the author of Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities. Her research is exhaustive, thorough and massive. For THE NURSES, she has interviewed hundreds of nursing professionals, active and retired, along with intensive reading of healthcare related books.
The plot is exactly as described–we are following the stories of four nurses as they navigate their way through their workdays at different hospitals. The workplaces are vastly different; one is in a low income area and very dangerous, another is in a better area but understaffed, yet another employs a staff that is closeminded and cliquey. Each chapter covers a different subject, such as interpersonal difficulties, healthcare in general, the physical danger to nurses, availability of loose drugs and therefore the potential to become hooked, and the doctor’s and healthcare industry’s attitude towards nurses in general.
As I read, I simply could not believe what I was seeing. My perception of nursing changed 180 degrees as I made my way through the book. Discard your vision of a glamorous, overpaid, angel in white. Be prepared to hear about nurses getting fired for following doctor’s orders, drunk patients wreaking havoc and causing serious permanent injury, staff surfing the Internet and being “too busy” to give aid to their coworkers, and the overwhelming, constant burden of having too many patients under your care.
The more I read, the less I want to be anywhere near a hospital.
Gore and lengthy descriptions of medical procedures are not a part of this book. Rather, there are recountings of conversations, incidents, and situations that these nurses found themselves dealing with on a daily basis. The book is detailed and can be a bit long winded, just a bit, especially with some of the statistics that seem to go on for a while, but they are relevant and serve to educate the reader.
I’m interested to see what the nursing community has to say about this book–will there be an outpouring of agreement, or is Robbins sensationalizing the truth? Either way, THE NURSES is well written and thrusts you into a world most of us don’t normally see. Most of us probably aren’t even aware that this shady underbelly of medicine exists. Kudos to Robbins for bringing it to the forefront.
Want your own copy? You can pick it up here.