The Shift by Theresa Brown

Brown, a New York Times columnist and practicing registered nurse, takes us on her 12-hour dayshift on the hematology/oncology ward in a busy Pittsburgh teaching hospital.  Her patients:  Mr. Hampton, who suffers from lymphoma and for whom Brown is charged with administering a drug that could either kill or cure him; Sheila, who may have been dangerously misdiagnosed; Candace, a returning patient whose paranoia leads her to bring disinfectants for all room surfaces; and Dorothy, who has myeloblastic leukemia and is awaiting a positive blood count so she can go home. Brown had previously earned a PhD in English and was teaching at Tufts University when she announced to her husband she wanted to go back to school to become a nurse.  She has given us an authentic look at a nurses’ duties, their relationships with various hospital staff and their overwhelming responsibilities. I would urge anyone interested in a health care profession to read this excellent one-day memoir. – Sue Fleming