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I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse
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I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,050 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
This collection of true narratives reflects the dynamism and diversity of nurses, who provide the first vital line of patient care. Here, nurses remember their first “sticks,” first births, and first deaths, and reflect on what gets them though long, demanding shifts, and keeps them in the profession. The stories reveal many voices from nurses at different stages of their ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by In Fact Books (first published February 25th 2013)
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Petra Eggs
All of the essays in this book were written by nurses who are writers too, nonetheless the quality of the writing varies considerably. The stories illuminate both nursing as different from doctoring and the nurse's own experience.

Most of the nurses are very caring people who don't flinch from some of the nastier jobs of looking after people with horrible personalities and/or disgusting illnesses that involve nausea-inducing exudations, vomit, pus and all the rest. One or two of them are very en
Kevin McAllister
Jul 09, 2013 Kevin McAllister rated it it was amazing
Defiantly an interesting title. And reading this book it becomes very clear that nurses have to be strong.Nur sing is one of the most physically and emotionally challenging jobs out there and sadly their voices aren't always heard. This book is long over due. Doctors grab all the glory in the medical field and nurses are all to often the unsung heroes. This book sings their songs; loud & strong.
Deborah Wellum
May 24, 2016 Deborah Wellum rated it it was amazing
This audiobook made me laugh and made me cry. It struck such a deep chord in me aa a nurse because it was pure, raw and true. It was therapy for my nurse soul. So glad to not just read but to have experienced this book.
Jan 12, 2017 Denise rated it it was amazing
No other career do I admire more than that of a nurse. This book only reinforces my admiration. A fabulous read!
Elisabeth Manley
Jan 18, 2015 Elisabeth Manley rated it it was amazing
I honestly think anyone could read this book and enjoy it. It was a great collection of real stories from nurses when they were starting out and anyone could appreciate them. As a current nursing student it was great to read about things I'm going through now in my clinical placement. Or to read about research processes and "nursing diagnoses" and know that what we've learned will actually be applicable down the road. I loved every story in here and both laughed and cried at what they had to say ...more
May 21, 2013 Heather rated it liked it
This book was a compilation, so some of the essays were better than others. It was an interesting look at the emotional strain of being a nurse and an inside view into the world of nursing. Reading it gave me an even greater respect for people who choose to go into nursing. It is not a career for the fainthearted.
May 26, 2016 Ela rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-2016
A really great collection of stories, especially for someone heading into nursing. Some stories are funny, some are heartbreaking, but I think anyone could find something in this collection that spoke to them personally.
Emily Pittsley
Apr 26, 2014 Emily Pittsley rated it really liked it
Very much enjoyed. Makes me feel like I'm not alone w/the feelings I still get sometimes as a "new" nurse. I recommend to any nurse, new or old!
Basically Chicken Soup for the Nurse, and I've never enjoyed those books, although I know many who do. Admittedly, I only read three stories in, but couldn't see myself finishing it.
May 15, 2017 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
if you know anyone who just graduated nursing school or who is about to embark on their first nursing job or if you yourself are that person, buy them this book/read this book! this is such a wonderful, honest, heartfelt look into the day to day lives of nurses from all fields. most are women, a couple are men, some work in the ICU, some in emergency, OB/GYN, psych, long term care, you name it.

some are new nurses, some are students, some are experienced nurses who have been at it for thirty plu
Ioana Voicu
Dec 18, 2016 Ioana Voicu rated it it was amazing
Wonderful collection of essays! Not only is this book extremely versatile - as it gives an insight into various types of nursing approaches - but it is also an endearing testimony of what this field is really about. This book focuses on the struggles of a nurse, bringing some light onto the real meaning of caring, which is revealed throughout every single story.
This book is great for people who are in the nursing field because it will help them identify different emotions that they have experie
Aug 11, 2016 Sal4gal rated it it was amazing
I listened to the Audible version.
"Different than I expected"
My son is in nursing school so I knew that I would enjoy this book. However, it deals more with the mental trials and feelings associated with nursing. I think that if you understand that going into the book, it will be more enjoyable. There are a few gross parts but they are very tame compared to the real world of nursing. I also enjoyed it because my son is an adrenaline junkie and is so different than those featured here. He lives f
Jun 13, 2013 Ginny rated it liked it
Interesting essays by various nurses at various points in their nursing careers. Being a nurse a neighbor thought I'd like to read this after he finished it. It is not a book I would have thought to read as I have encountered many of the situations of these nurses. The challenges, traumas, and learning experiences that nursing brings to one's professional and personal life is hard for those outside nursing to understand and these essays may help but for me, it was interesting to read but didn't ...more
Doranne Long
Sep 30, 2014 Doranne Long rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing selection of essays written by nurses, ranging from fears of newly-trained nurses, to the reflections of those with decades of experiences. I will never look at a nurse the same again. That said by a physical therapist who has worked along side nurses and already appreciate their risking their own health and wellness while caring for others, usually in over-worked, under-paid environments. In addition, this book as a must-read, for patients, family members, and other caregiver ...more
Jan 16, 2017 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: health-medicine
These stories are by nurses, most of whom are also writers. They illustrate the incidents and psychological adjustments that nurses go through as they grow into their careers. I wasn't too impressed by the stories (or it might have been the editing) in the first half or so of the book, but liked the second half better overall. The stories had a lot of trauma, death, and the authors' discomfort. I guess that does more to change a person (nurse) than the routine stuff and the happy endings.
Mar 03, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book! I'm a nurse & I think this very accurately displays just SOME of the things we as nurses feel & think sometimes. There were many quotes & stories that I could relate to, even if it wasn't my particular field of nursing. I laughed in parts, while I shed tears in others. I would love to read this book again sometime. I will also be recommending this book to all my nursing friends.
Feb 24, 2014 Kathy rated it it was amazing
An amazing collection of nursing experiences in short stories from a wide range of perspectives. Very well written and easy to read. Really enjoyed it. Favourites being: The haunting, Healing Wang Jie's bottom, Docking in Togo, Listening and other lifesaving measures, Four sticks, All alone and afraid: becoming a person through nursing, Individually identifiable, Approaching death and The nurses whispered. Touching, thought provoking and recommended!
Jun 07, 2013 Zoe rated it really liked it
Loved reading these nurses' stories. Their experiences were both inspiring and familiar to me. I look forward to working with patients whose lives touch mine, and to developing my strength throughout my nursing career. This book was like chicken soup for the nursing student's soul!
Jul 23, 2016 CatBookMom rated it liked it
This was a contender in the 2016 Audies, and I didn't want to listen to the whole book. Not available on OD when I was looking, so I bought a used copy. An interesting read, lots of different perspectives, good editing (very few typos!).
Jun 24, 2013 Marion rated it it was amazing
Great set of vignettes about the life and work of nurses. I get tired of hearing the story only from the side of the physician, even if he is as smart as Gawande, so this presents a welcome set of voices.
I'm half way through the book and I am already feeling that I have a much better understanding of the important work of the registered nursing workforce.
Terri Jacobson
Dec 20, 2013 Terri Jacobson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nursing-medicine
A collection of essays by nurses in different fields of nursing by practitioners of all ages. Very moving stories.
May 01, 2015 ANGELA JACKSON rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking

Anyone considering a career in nursing should read this book for an insight into the past and present. This was interesting.
Feb 02, 2017 Tj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was blown away by the hospice nurse. They are truly undervalued.
Dec 21, 2016 Patrick rated it it was amazing
What I appreciated about this compendium, was that it stuck true, mostly, to the thoughts that run through a nurses head. Being a Registered Nurse myself, I was initially apprehensive about reading a book such as this. However, I'm glad I did. I particularly enjoyed the variety that was exhibited in the essays. Every nurse was different, and came to nursing from different pathways and for different reasons. This books exposed us nurses for what we are. Imperfect People trying to help ourselves a ...more
Mar 15, 2017 Grape rated it really liked it
Great collection of essays from people with past nursing experiences that span the breadth of the profession. Especially interesting for people considering this career path.
Sheila DeChantal
Oct 11, 2016 Sheila DeChantal rated it liked it
So this particular listen is both right up my alley – and not. I do enjoy a good non fiction read. At the same time I knew this one would be a bit touchy for me on a personal level and I was nervous going into this listen. While there were moments that hit a little too close to home, this audio was not only doable – but interesting.

This book of short personal stories of these nurses is both enlightening and heartbreaking. Yes there were moments for me that were harder to listen to than others. I
Tim Jin
May 16, 2016 Tim Jin rated it did not like it
"I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse{" is a collage of letters of whining nurses. I understand why my family doesn't like to talk about their professions and what goes on at the hospital. No one likes to listen to whiners and be reminded what went on a 16 hours shift. Most of the true stories that were presented in the book were very sappy.

There were very little clinical information on what it's like to be an RN, LVN, and CNA. This book is a diary of e
Aug 19, 2015 Ermalisa rated it really liked it
“…these essays are survivor stories, narratives about how to get through the trauma and drama and the awful sadness that come from the day to day work in their profession.”

“…no other professional gets to walk with people during the most stressful, joyous, fearful, blessed times of their lives.”

Nurses are one of few professions that is more than an occupation, it is an identity. This collective of essays written by nurses is a powerful insight into what they endure from long hours, fear of HIPAA
Jun 15, 2013 AJ rated it really liked it
A truly captivating series of essays by nurses about their profession. At times I had a hard time putting this book down.

To me, the most astonishing part was in the forward where the editor mentions that he can't remember any interactions with nurses, even after spending some time in the hospital. I was in the ER for a while, and I had two nurses, and both of them shaped my experience in different, yet equally important, ways. One was extremely present and comforting, while the other one was ne
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Lee Gutkind has been recognized by Vanity Fair as “the godfather behind creative nonfiction.” A prolific writer, he has authored and edited over twenty-five books, and is the founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary magazine to publish only narrative nonfiction. Gutkind has received grants, honors, and awards from numerous organizations including the National Endow ...more
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