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Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych E.R.
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Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych E.R.

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  2,733 Ratings  ·  464 Reviews
In an absorbing memoir laced with humor, Holland provides an unvarnished look at life in the psych ER. Recounts stories from her vast case files that are alternately terrifying, tragically comic, and profoundly moving, all while she deals with her best friend and fellow doctor's fight with cancer.
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published October 15th 2009 by Bantam (first published 2009)
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Cali Fortin
Dec 26, 2013 Cali Fortin rated it did not like it
I don't usually take the time to write a review, but as a psychology major and a human being, I was very disappointed by the actions of Julie Holland as she recounts them in this memoir.

The stories of patients in the ER were often interesting, but I was consistently bothered by how politically incorrect Holland was in her writing. In regards to mental illness, she commonly used the words "crazy" (a highly stigmatized word) and "insane" (which is not even a word used in psychology, it is used in
Jun 16, 2013 Elby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elby by: Daughter gave me an advanced copy. Wasn't that nice?
Julie Holland, M.D. is the weekend night shift doctor at Bellevue Psych Ward for nine years. Her job isn't particularly difficult unless there is night where the sheer volume of people coming through the door is overwhelming. By her own admission, she isn't very good at her job. From the stories she relates, you can take her at her word that she isn't very good at her job.

Staying with this book through the first half is difficult because the author is so unlikable. She is much more interested in
Dec 08, 2013 Wanda rated it did not like it
I will start by saying that this book was a crashing bore. If you go into the reading of this book to learn about mental illnesses, you will be disappointed. If you go into it to take a journey of self discovery by the author, you will be disappointed. I listened to it on CD and several times forced myself not to skip whole sections. For example, the litany of morning report – who came into the ED last night, what their diagnosis is and the circumstances of their admission to Bellevue. Over and ...more
Jennifer Kronk
I feel like this book is very misrepresented in some of the reviews below. So I would like to clear up a few points while the story is still fresh in my head. First, Dr. Holland did not sleep her way through the entire surgical team. She slept with a few of them, it's true, but so what? It wasn't illegal and it wasn't something that she did to further her career. She was single and had consensual sex. Second, she does not say that talking with a mentally ill person is like talking to a slightly ...more
Kat Hagedorn
Mar 10, 2010 Kat Hagedorn rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, non-fiction

I now never want to go see the doctor again.

Yes, I knew doctors were fallible, but like this? The stories she tells (and which are clearly only sidebars related to the main tale) of the sneakiness, anger and most disturbing of all, the pride of these men and women that keep them from providing decent care to patients-- I just didn't want to know this. I want to know that my doctors are well-trained, alert to my problems, willing to listen to me, and not so dang heavy wit
Oct 03, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: DeAnna, those who are curious about pyschopharmacology
Recommended to Jen by: firstreads

"Julie Holland?"

"Yes, voice?"



"Just who do you think I am?!?"

"Who do you think you are?"

"God, of course!"

"How does that make you feel?"


"Are you happy with that answer?"

"Yes. No! Stop this, Julie! Stand, and give an account of your life."

"Shouldn't you already know everything? Besides, a lot of it is in my book, Weekends at Bellevue- the patients, the internal conflict, co-worker relationships and power struggles, details about sexual activities during residenc
Jul 22, 2009 Andres rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medical, arcs
I should point out two things that may influence my 5-star review: 1) medical narratives fascinate me completely, and 2) I've grown up hearing the kinds of stories found in this memoir from a family member who has worked in a similar setting. So right from the start this book grabbed my attention and just 2 days later left me looking for other similar titles.

The author shares her almost decade long experience working at the Bellevue Comprehensive Psychiatry Emergency Program (CPEP), which is the
Oct 11, 2010 K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of lurid, tell-all memoirs who are not expecting to learn a great deal about Bellevue
What I expected to get out of this memoir (and mostly didn’t get, with a few exceptions):

Something along the lines of Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death from the ER, with vivid descriptions of psychiatric emergency room life and fascinating stories

Some education about the processes in the psychiatric emergency room, such as how interviews are conducted and decisions made

Experiences I could relate to, especially as a budding psychologist

An author I could relate to, espe
Sep 17, 2009 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I knew from the second sentence that I would rate this book three stars, mainly for the author's unique job and view on the world. The writing is functional and easy to read but far from literary.

The author was the psychiatrist in charge of the psych ER at Belleview, the most notorious mental hospital in NYC, every weekend for nine years. Her job was basically just to assess the patients as they came in and determine if they were a danger to themselves or others. Then she would either send them
D Books
Dec 26, 2013 D Books rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This particular piece of work is an autobiography from an author of a former psych ER doctor who used to work the renowned Bellevue hospital of New York City. I would say that the book is a mixture of the author’s personal life, mixed in with her time spent as a psych doctor; the mixture being half and half. The patients that are mentioned in this book are sad, but what is even sadder and scarier are the times when this doctor describes her care of these patients. There are times when she is ...more
Dr. Julie Holland shares her experiences working the Psych ER at Bellevue Hospital in NYC for 9 years. She also tells us about her medical training and her family life.
This is a quick and easy read, it is interesting and informative. I don't always like her, I don't always agree with everything she says; but she commands respect and some of the things that she said are things that I will think about in my own life. As the parent of a child newly on a psych med the book came to me at an appropri
Books Ring Mah Bell
Not exactly sure WHY this came up when I searched for this book:

Mental illness and erotic adventures go hand in hand, no?
Ahh, psychosis.
Psychiatrist Julie Holland takes us into the weekends Bellevue for a peek at the madness. While there are plenty of stories about the demented (and simply drunk and disorderly) that come into the hospital, there are plenty of stories about Dr. Holland as well.

It is,
Jan 20, 2012 Megan rated it did not like it
I learned about Weekends at Bellevue on NPR. I was excited to finally have the chance to read it because I love psychology and thought it would be fun to hear about all the wacky cases that passed through their doors. However, from the get go I hated the author. Maybe hate is not a fair word. Detest?

She starts off by saying, "I am smart -- more than that, a smart ass". First of all when you're writing a book, the story is supposed to tell who you are. Second, who describes themselves that way??
I now understand why the mental health care in this country is so terrible. Somehow she was hired and paid to take care of emergency psychological cases at one of the foremost hospitals in the US. This woman set up a patient so that if her story was boring, Dr. Holland could watch Saturday Night Live instead. I am not kidding you. She states this unabashedly and without even an apology brought upon by reflection. She violates ehtics and potentially the law by giving a patient one drug and ...more
Sep 18, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
So...I want to give this book four stars because that rating would reflect my interest/level of engagement in this book and how quickly I read it. I just can't do it, though.

Julie Holland's tales of her work as a psychiatric ER doc are funny, heartbreaking, puzzling, even touching at times. But the patients are only a backdrop to Holland's own life story--this is a medical memoir with more emphasis on the memoir than the medical. Coming into the profession with a self-professed testosterone-fuel
Mar 02, 2010 Goddess1871 rated it it was ok

This book began with such promise. I was intrigued with Dr. Holland after hearing her on some news show on NPR and decided to give it a go.

While the title, Weekends at Bellvue, and the introductory pages imply case studies of the cases there and lessons learned, I quickly got the feeling that this was more a memoir about Dr. Holland herself and generally her transformation from an eager, curious student, into a narcissistic, self-absorbed doctor who is more interested (despite her protestation

Sep 09, 2009 JoAnn rated it really liked it
This is a bluntly honest and most candid reflection of a doctor who holds a mirror before herself. We see first hand, as Dr. Julie Holland, MD, provides a running commentary about working at one of the most famous psychiatric hospitals in the nation. Dr. Holland attempts to provide a view of her world from arms length as she shows the world life inside the ER at Bellevue.

Julie is candid, while also seemingly doing a self report on her own issues, as she delves into the hearts and minds of those
Feb 22, 2010 Colleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
In this admittedly disjointed memoir, Holland reveals just what it takes to run the weekend shift at one of America's most famous mental hospitals for almost a decade. Not one to sugarcoat reality, Holland paints a disturbing picture of our current mental healthcare priorities, and quite frankly of herself. I'll admit there were plenty of aspects of her life and personality which I found off-putting, but the raw honesty she displays is a testament to her commitment. I'm not sure I'd choose ...more
Melissa Cuevas
Apr 14, 2013 Melissa Cuevas rated it it was ok
Shelves: research
I picked this up as research because I have a main character who has been involved in the mental health system as a patient, and I was looking for some insight into what he would have been through, and I certainly got it, just not in a good way.

There isn't much at all about the patients in this work, because as the author says, to her they are transitory, peripheral. Since it lacks that connection, it has to hold its own on the weight of a connection with the author. And quite bluntly, she's un
Nov 23, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok
This is an ultimately disappointing account of the author's years spent as the weekend attending of the Bellevue psych emergency room. In this role she treated the most mentally ill of NYC, including drug addicts and criminals. You'd imagine that the author would have reams of material, but swaths of this book felt forced and irrelevant. It's as if her editor told her that she need more: so write down 20 ideas, now expand each of those into five pages. The author's wedding, relationship with her ...more
Jan 26, 2015 Paul rated it did not like it
I would have liked this book a lot more if it had included a lot less of the author and a lot more stories about the psych ER. The biggest potential drawback to memoirs is, of course, that they're about the author and if the author is inherently unlikeable, it is nearly impossible to enjoy the book.

This is case with Dr. Holland, who alternates between wanting the reader to empathize with her while she grieves the loss of a friend/coworker/mentor and describes the agonizingly slow process of beco
Meh. I was expecting to love this book -- I'd heard good things about it and it's about one of my favorite topics (that is, mental illness and its' treatment; I have a mental illness myself). But instead I found it merely "okay" and awfully self-indulgent.

Of course, with any personal narrative you have to allow for some self-indulgence, but the author was supposed to be writing about her job, not her personal life. I thought Dr. Holland would focus more on the patients she encountered, rather th
Aug 02, 2009 Abby rated it really liked it
Dr. Holland tells brisk, engaging tales about the nine years she spent in the psychiatric emergency room at Bellevue Hospital. Her sarcastic, competent tone comes clearly through, which can be distracting or appealing, depending on the reader’s preference. Holland bravely and honestly details the highs and lows of being an emergency room psychiatrist – complete with internal feuds, sexual harassment, and the detrimental effect to one’s own psyche. Holland’s stories move along at a rapid, ...more
Cait Poytress
A little more Bellevue and a little less Dr. Holland would have made this a 4 star book.
Jan 20, 2014 Debbie rated it did not like it
Just to echo others if you are looking for a book on mental illness keep walking. I picked this book from the library because I was interested in learning about some of the patients the author encountered during her time at Bellevue Hospital, however I found this book to be more about the author with some commentary on the experiences involving the patients she encountered. We hear more about how a patient was brought in than why.

Like many others I could not finish this book, the stopping point
Jan 13, 2010 Dri rated it liked it
Dr.Julie Holland worked in the busiest psych ER in New York for 9 years. She chronicled her patient cases and specifically how her work impacted her transformation and growth as a person. I heard Dr.Holland is a huge fan of TV medical dramas like "ER" when she was interviewed by NPR, and I felt her book was constructed very much like a medical drama. Except, instead of dealing with medical emergencies, she's dealing with the absolute dregs of society-the mentally ill tortured souls of New York. ...more
Feb 14, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
For some reason, I couldn't settle on a book to enjoy in the days leading up to Christmas, and I've no idea why. Maybe because I'd been running around like a crazy person with school and home renovations and holiday preparations? So perhaps I chose Holland's book unconsciously as a way to make sure that I'm not as crazy as I feel. I guess it worked, and so I got my money's worth out of the book. But I don't think I would recommend it to other readers, really.

Don't get me wrong - it's a page tur
Tara Chevrestt
Aug 28, 2009 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, arc, memoir
This is my first medical memoir and I enjoyed it immensely. For me, it was educational, as well as entertaining. The world behind the automatic doors of Bellevue hospital is exposed to us thru the eyes and experiences of Julie Holland, M.D. Julie exposes the nitty, gritty, funny, strange, and just plain sad cases that walk in the door either by choice or in cuffs for her to assist, interview, or diagnose. Among the many attempted suicides, there is a lady that walked across the bridge carrying ...more
Dec 20, 2009 Felicity rated it liked it
OK, first of all, my oft-stated criticism of people in their thirties who write memoirs. And yes, this is a memoir. If you get details of someone's sex life, their psychotherapy, wedding, pregnancies, and journey from freshman year to attending physician, then, yes, it's a memoir. If I think it's a problem, I shouldn't read them, but I didn't realize it was a memoir when I picked it up...and I'm not going to begrudge her that too much (this time). But really, no one's life is that important in ...more
Sep 16, 2009 Joy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads! Let me just say it was fun to win an advance copy since I rarely win anything. If you're going to win something, a book is the best and this is a great one!

I'm always interested in books about psychiatric issues and this is the first memoir I've read written by a psychiatrist. She had me hooked when she referenced the old Barney Miller show saying,"Take him to Bellevue." She has a very witty, wry sense of humor and seems like someone I would like to kno
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Dr. Julie Holland is a board-certified psychiatrist in New York City. From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Holland ran the psychiatric emergency room of Bellevue Hospital on Saturday and Sunday nights. A liaison to the hospital's medical emergency room and toxicology department, she is considered an expert on street drugs and
More about Julie Holland...

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“emblazoned with the name of a new antipsychotic” 0 likes
“I was enraptured by the brain and how it could misfire, but it wasn’t just the hardware that intrigued me, it was the software with the bugs.” 0 likes
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