Top Summer Reads Take Two

Beautiful Woman Relaxing In Hammock. Beautiful Woman Reading Boo

I can’t speak for you, but my idea of a summer soiree is an ice-cold glass of lemonade and a great book. Which is why we are officially rounding up my latest top 5 nurse reads for the SECOND time!

I have a lot of questions, though. Is it considered a follow up to my last ‘Top Summer Reads’ blog post if it was a solid 3 years ago? Also, do I suddenly get taken more seriously as a blogger now that I’ll kind of have a series going on?? (Provided that the answer to question #1 is ‘yes’) My goodness! Is it even worth it to go down this route with all these existential questions?!?!?!?

*Breathe in. Breathe Out*

We’re doing this.

And for my full, beautiful rant on how summer is mind over matter, click here. Also, you’ll get more great summer reads😊 And now for my top 5!

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

Medicine is medicine. Or so you would think. Right? Except you’d be surprised to what extent culture plays a role in medicinal practices and beliefs. This book tells the true story of a young girl with a seizure disorder and the clash between her American doctors and Hmong family. They each desperately want to help this poor child but have completely opposing ideas on how to go about doing so. The resulting standoff unfortunately leads to tragedy and a life lesson for all health care professionals. Bottom line is, a patient is a real person; a person with his/her own views, culture and religious beliefs. And as their health care provider you must respect that and when possible take it into consideration. A somber, yet important read.

The Hospital at the End of the World by Joe Niemczura

The great thing about this book is that it’s got a bit of everything going on. Interested in reading a travelogue? This is the book for you! Want to hear a bit of philosophy? Covered as well. Medical thriller your cup of tea? Check, check and check! In short, this book is the story of an American nurse and his adventures as a teaching nurse in the far-flung hospitals of Nepal. Despite a lack of modern medical equipment, he forges relationships with students, patients, their families, other nurses, doctors and most of all himself. It’s a heartwarming and inspirational read and makes you feel as if you’ve physically joined him on his journey.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby

This book is INCREDIBLE! It was written by a man who after having a rare stroke, woke up in a ‘locked-in’ state. In other words, his brain was fully functional, yet he couldn’t do a thing. He was in essence, trapped in his own body. In fact, the only way he could write this book was by blinking in response to an alphabet sequence. It’s the story he tells, though, that is a true eye opener. He talks of having a perfectly healthy mind in a useless body and of how he was treated; sometimes with a tremendous amount of compassion and other times as if he were merely a lump in a bed. A must read.

Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care by Suzanne Gordon

Read the title again. That is literally the best synopsis I can give for this book! All kidding aside, I’d look at this book as an overall assessment of the current healthcare industry; particularly nursing. For example, what has gone wrong? Why are nurses constantly being undermined by doctors? What can be done to fix the flaws in the system? If you’re passionate about these hot topics and would join an open discussion on the matter any day, this book will keep you on your toes.

Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between by Theresa Brown

What struck me most about this stunning memoir, is what Brown, a regular contributor to the NY Times Well blog, said about actually putting pen to paper. “I wrote Critical Care in a rush, and when I was done felt a huge sense of relief — at last, all those pressing memories were out of my head.” The book basically describes what it was like being a first-year oncology nurse, and in the process brings awareness to issues such as mortality and the meaning of life. And to continue Brown’s words, “What I love, though, is that nurses who read the book inevitably find themselves in it, whether they just started practicing or have been nurses for 30 years. Our common experiences as nurses connect us.”

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