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Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse
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Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  649 ratings  ·  48 reviews
This is a nurse's story unlike any other, because Echo Heron is a very special nurse. Dedicated to healing and helping in the harshest environments, she spent ten years in emergency rooms and intensive care units. Her story is unique, penetrating, and unforgettable. Her story is real.
"Compelling reading."
Paperback, 372 pages
Published May 12th 1988 by Ivy Books (first published 1987)
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyThe English Patient by Michael OndaatjeAtonement by Ian McEwanThe World According to Garp by John IrvingA Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
11th out of 164 books — 40 voters
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Medicine and Literature
185th out of 1,010 books — 1,238 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,308)
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Ruth Neese
Mar 28, 2008 Ruth Neese rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Practicing nurses and nursing students
Shelves: nursing
Echo Heron was fired for writing this book. She wrote it when the last nursing shortage was ending and capitated reimbursement was forced on hospitals. That was a VERY stressful time to be a nurse, and some hospital administrations behaved badly toward nurses. Unfortunately, what Heron describes has not vanished completely from health care.
Deena Scintilla
I read this a long time ago and, wow, was it ever deja vu! At times I felt Echo had been peeking thru my windows or following me as I went from nursing job to nursing job trying to get away from the sam ol', same ol' BS found in the bureaucratic hospital and medical systems. Unfortunately according to friends and my experiences, it all still reads too true and validates why I choose not to put up with it anymore.

I loved this book for its honesty, humor, pathos and became friends with the author
As I am a professional nurse like the author, I can relate to her anecdotes especially her service in the ICU. Ms.Heron has the wit and humor in her writing, in her book I found the courage to assert myself in my patient's behalf. In this book I have realized the real role of a nurse of being a patient's advocate.
This was the first book I read by Echo Heron and it inspired me to persue my dream of becomming a nurse.
Carina Grams
Heron's books are in that category of books that are very fun to read, no interest in the book's topic required. I missed my train's stop more than once, absorbed in Heron's stories.

I started to read as many nursing stories as I could find, and Echo Heron is fantastic. Before, I'd read book written English professor turned RN. Her stuff was more current, but also a lot more just alright. Heron's writing is alive and the way she connects different parts of her stories make them hilarious. The th

Intensive Care: The Story of a Nurse by Echo Heron was the first book about nurses I read after becoming a Registered Nurse. At the time i found it daunting...a seemingly impossible job. Echo Heron told the story with warmth and compassion but also in complete candor. She had done it, not because it was easy or comfortable to do but because she was compelled to succeed in giving care and making a positive difference in the world around her.

Some twenty years later I have reread the book and I
Time taken to read - 8 days on and off

Publisher - Ivy Books

Pages - 372

Blurb from Goodreads

This is a nurse's story unlike any other, because Echo Heron is a very special nurse. Dedicated to healing and helping in the harshest environments, she spent ten years in emergency rooms and intensive care units. Her story is unique, penetrating, and unforgettable. Her story is real.

My Review

Echo Heron takes us on her journey of becoming a student, training to be a nurse and then finally through her advent
This book is self-congratulatory swill. It's poorly written, and serves as a means of public self-stroking of the author's ego. Heron is rabidly determined to appear as "cute and plucky", always willing to stand up for herself against the overbearing doctors. This book consumed a day of my life that I will never get back, for which I am still resentful 6 years later.
So there were several WTF moments for me in this book:

1. As a student, Heron makes a patient cry (I cringe when I think of what my clinical instructors would have done if I had done this. I actually think they would've kicked me out.)

2. As a student, Heron outright refuses to medicate a dying man, angrily confronts a doctor, angrily confronts her instructor, and is directly responsible for a man violently extubating himself...and suffers absolutely no consequences for any of these actions (uh, y
Juanita Baltz
Once again a medical non fiction. Plus the author has a neat name. Echo comes across as a real person with a real life so when I learned who she prayed to or should I say called on in an emergency I was very excited. This may not be your book if you feel the trinity has you covered.
This book told of a girl's life in nursing school, as a nurse, through burn out. I really enjoyed this book. I would not recommend this book to just anyone. I am sorry to see from the posts that Ms. Heron got fired for writing this book! Too bad-what a great nurse.
This woman drive me nuts! Apparently she is the only person capable of anything if her story is to be believed. I found her personality interferred with the story, (I just wish she would shut up about her self and how wonderful she is).
If you ever wondered what its like to be a nurse read this book. She takes a very honest real look at nursing. I think it explains both why you would go into the profession and even why you could end up leaving it or just wanting to leave.
I read this a long time ago, but I remember it and how timeless it was.
This is a great book on the memories of a nurse, starting from nursing school. The world of nursing is portrayed as heavy in personal connections with patients, something I have yet to experience or see nurses doing, but the reason for some distance between nurses and patients is dramatized in the book near the end. Eco (yes its an odd first name, I cant imagine what it must have been like in grade school with such a name) later joins an intensive care unit (ICU) where patients die frequently, c ...more
Echo Heron writes a memoir about her nursing career, from her earliest days as a nursing student to the early years with her experience as a registered nurse. She has a very distinct "nurse" sense of humor (if you are a nurse, you'll get it, if you're not.. Well, find a nurse somewhere and you'll pick up on it), and it comes through in her writing.

I didn't completely enjoy this book as much as I thought. I could relate to much of it, having gone through the terrors of nursing school and being an
So many MDs write about their patients and their experiences, but few nurses do (or maybe fewer nurses are able to get published). Heron writes well and clearly and with feeling about critical nursing.
This was a pretty decent read, but I could not handle the nightmares. I get that this book was mostly truth, only slightly fiction, but dream sequences always come across as cheating to me, even if they're based on truth. I just didn't get it.

Other than that, it was a pretty good read, but I wish she would have gone into her abusive relationship a bit more, though that may just be because I love reading about abusive relationships.

That probably says more about me than it does about the author.
Molly Samson
I read this book for my high school anatomy class and I thought it was okay. The middle of the book was by far the most interesting (I suppose that is usually the case) but the beginning was relatively dull and the ending left a lot to be desired. I felt as if she quickly finished the book and the whole tone of the story was changed. I understand that this is a story about her life but I felt as if she should have elaborated a little more in the end.
Caroline H
Author pulled together stories from her experiences as a nursing student on into her early work as a critical care nurse, delightful read,
Heron gave us glimpses into her growth from a young student to a mature, caring professional caregiver, mostly in critical care areas.
As a similarly aged RN, I could relate to virtually all of the stories!
Jenell Hollett
A very interesting read, especially when you realize how open and vulnerable Echo allows herself to be for her readers. As a writer, I enjoyed the book and her writing style. As someone with many family members in the medical field, I was glued to the details. Thank you Echo for a book that kept me anticipating the next chapter. Well done!
Brenda Kowinski
I read this book while in my early nursing years at least 10 yrs ago. I still talk about it with other nurses as a must read. I laughed and cried, and there aren't a whole lot of books out there that do that anymore. She tells a story about nursing that most nurses would relate with, especially in ICU.
Inspiring......made me excited about my career choice while I was in nursing school. Honest, told the bad along with the good, about herself as well. Now that i've been a cardiac critical care nurse 23 years, would like to read again. Read she was fired for writing this book, not surprised.
Apr 24, 2008 Holly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: true stories, nursing stories, single mother stories
Recommended to Holly by: My Mother
Shelves: true-life
This is a nurse's story unlike any other, because Echo Heron is a very special nurse. Dedicated to healing and helping in the harshest environments, she spent ten years in emergency rooms and intensive care units. Her story is unique, penetrating, and unforgettable. Her story is real.
The first few chapters were relatable. As the book progressed, I realized I am not a nurse like the author; assuming the story is true. What she wrote about nursing school and hospital politics all seemed plausible. I just think it could have been handled in a different manner.
Katie Chaney
Loved this book when I read it before becoming a nurse myself. I find it even more fun and can relate so much better now that I have almost 10 years nursing under my belt. She is by far the best author of nursing stories I have read to date. Enjoying the re read!
Really enjoyed this book which starts from when she is accepted into nursing school to about ten years later. The only problem is that it ends with her being burned out, so I REALLY have to get her next book. I just can't believe she would leave it at that!
As someone who works in the health profession and would like to continue my education to become a nurse I enjoyed every minute of Echo Heron's stories and would recommend to anyone entering the medical profession
Beautiful, heartfelt, funny, smart, and intense look at her first ten years of being a cardiac care/emergency room nurse. I don't even like blood and guts but would recommend this book to just about anyone.
Tracey Axnick
Great book - read this after my son spent 6 mos in intensive care, as I'd become close to several of the nurses. Really a great autobiography - highly recommended!
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