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Sue Barton, Student Nurse

(Sue Barton #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  997 ratings  ·  91 reviews
This is the story of Sue Barton's first year of training as a probationer and then as a student nurse. Sue, with her red hair and eager spirit, is a very likable person - direct, outspoken, capable of mistakes, capable also of warm attachments and a courageous devotion to the service which she soon loves. With her pals, Kit and Connie, she submits to the discipline and rig ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published 1955 by Random House (first published 1936)
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Sue Barton, Student Nurse by Helen Dore BoylstonSue Barton, Senior Nurse by Helen Dore BoylstonCherry Ames, Visiting Nurse by Helen WellsCherry Ames, Student Nurse by Helen WellsCherry Ames, Senior Nurse by Helen Wells
Classic Nurse Fiction
75 books — 6 voters
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyThe English Patient by Michael OndaatjeAtonement by Ian McEwanThe World According to Garp by John IrvingThe End of Miracles by Monica Starkman
197 books — 73 voters

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  997 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently finished reading this for the first time in at least 25 years, but I'd read it so many times in my youth that EVERY WORD was as familiar as if I'd written the book myself. Since this book (and its immediate sequel) are so deeply ingrained in the fiber of my bookish self, it's hard for me to write about it cogently. Let's see, I'll start with childhood impressions. This was the only nursing series I read as a child, and I found all the medical details, and the portrait of hospital life ...more
Nate D
Apr 06, 2013 marked it as read-in-2013  ·  review of another edition
So I've been threatening to read an actual nurse novel ever since Francis Johnson and today the actually totally amazing selection of dollar books outside of Book Thug Nation has allowed me to do so. This is apparently a classic of the genre from the 30s, here reissued by Teen Age Book Club in the 50s. Following the fairly mundane adventures of our plucky heroine as she makes it through the roughly first year of her nursing education at a big city hospital. With its general school-friend sense o ...more
Ginny Messina
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I don't know how I missed the Sue Barton books when I was growing up; my library must not have had them. But I'm happy to have the chance to read them now—-although I had to go all the way to Australia (via the internet) to find affordable copies of the first two.

First published in 1936, this is a fascinating portrayal of nursing in the 1930s. (Boylston herself graduated from nursing school in 1915, and the book is about her own experiences as a nursing student. But a conversation with a soldie
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book still holds its charms even though I must have read it a billion times and it is close to 70 years old. It manages masterly to combine a progressing story with the description of nursing training and presenting interesting characters both among staff and patients. The author imparts on the reader her own love for the hospital, its people and the job. No wonder I for years wanted to become a nurse after reading these books.
I don't know many people outside of my family who read these, but they've been comfort reads for me for a long time. Boylston started writing them in the 1930s and continued into the 1950s, telling the story of a young woman who becomes a nurse, from nursing school through settlement work in New York City to marriage and nursing in a rural New Hampshire community.

The gender roles are fairly dated (especially in the third book, which deals with Sue's dilemma between her nursing career and her do
1) I always wish her rich friend had gone by Constance instead of Connie
2) There was a Sue Barton in my freshman dorm at college. She just looked at me blankly when I asked if she had considered nursing school instead! Maybe the Lexington, MA library didn't carry these books?
3) It is a pity that nurses these days don't wear caps but I guess the men wouldn't like it.*
4) Not to risk starting a war with that Eleanor woman but Sue was definitely better than Cherry!
5) Overall, I love this series; esp
This is a charming book, with a refreshingly human heroine who is also very dedicated to her profession. The storyline is quite simple, but it is delightfully written and a lot of fun. I love the dialogue between Sue and her friends, Kit and Connie, and some of the crazy escapades they get into. (view spoiler) There are also some parts that I found to be quite funny.

I love the hospital culture that books like
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a step back in time. I read these ages ago, growing up - these, Cherry Ames, that series about airline stewardesses... This series is the best of the bunch, I think.

There's a casual approach to its plot - I remember that first English class where I learned about rising action and climaxes and falling action, with a helpful little graph drawn on the board. There's nothing so direct here. Instead, the story is almost a series of anecdotes told in chronological order. They're interesting not
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the umpteenth reading of one of my favorite series. Sue Barton is a young woman entering nursing school and the book tells of her adventures and mishaps learning nursing in a large hospital. The book is set in the 1930s and it's amazing how menial the chores of these nurses were. Bed-making, dusting, and serving meals? Wow. Still love it though. ...more
Sue Barton, Student Nurse was written in 1936 by Helen Dore Boyleston and it ignited a desire in me to become a nurse that didn’t die for the next ten years. I was absolutely captivated by all of the books in this series and it inspired me to volunteer as a Candy Striper at the local hospital.

The first in the series, this book is about Sue Barton and her first year as a probationer and then as a student nurse. She attends nursing school far away from her home town, meets new friends, catches the
Rebekah Morris
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun reread for me. I loved the older style of writing since this book was first published in the 1930s. Sue was such a fun character, and her friends, Kit and Connie, were equally enjoyable. I chuckled over some of the situations these student nurses found themselves in, got dreamy about the hospital, and found the whole story delightfully relaxing.

There were one of two euphemisms. This is not a Christian book, but there is nothing objectionable in it.
Aug 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet but dated story.
Sue leaves home for a new life and career as a nurse, starting three months of probation that need to be survived in order for her to make it to the rank of Student Nurse. She faces the scary Miss Cameron, angry patients and the night shifts from Hell with the help of her devoted friends Kit and Connie, and the friendship of young Dr Bill Barry.

I first read this book way back in the 80's after a long spell in hospital and I was fascinated by this story. It is set in the 1930's in an urban hospit
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are books my mom read when she was growing up, and then gave to me. We actually still have the 1964 paperback editions, which means that they're literally falling (or have already fallen) apart in my hands. They're set in the 1930's, so that makes part of the medical descriptions a little laughable--like learning how to use drops of chloroform in a paper funnel to keep a patient sedated for surgery. Also, nurses do not so much wear the white uniforms with the aprons and caps anymore. So th ...more
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm astonished to find this was first published in 1936 - I first read it in the late 1970s and it never struck me as old-fashioned or out of date. I've always loved Sue, with her brown eyes (yay! More heroines should have brown eyes) and alert humour. I never felt the slightest inclination to follow her into nursing but I read all the books many times.

In this, the first book, the story starts as Sue sets off to the hospital where she is to train. She is very young - this comes across clearly -
May 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got a copy of this at a library book sale that prices by the bag, so some books that I may not have ordinarily picked up found their way into my to-read pile.

Sue Barton, Student Nurse has a breezy, episodic feel, and I liked the old-fashioned style. The characters are pretty transparent and stereotypical, but I still enjoyed them. The most interesting parts were the details about both the day-to-day lives of the nurses and the vintage medical practices of the hospital.

I'd read more of these i
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
OK, I read all the Sue Barton books, probably 50plus years ago. I loved each and every one!!! I loved Sue and I loved her boyfriend and you know what? I became a nurse!!!! Don't know whether I read them because at the time I wanted to be a nurse or did they affect me to become a nurse!
But how come her back never hurt like mine did!!!! after a day at work!
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
Had a 24-hour bug this week and Sue was a great comfort.

I would have started reading even sooner, had I known that on her first day on the ward, Sue (view spoiler)!

Connie Glasgow
So looking forward to reading about Kit, Connie & Sue. My mother was reading this series when she was pregnant with me - that's how I was named Connie! Written in the 50's the wording and information is so funny. "the cats meow" just one of the many.

So excited to read all 7. On to #2
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: vintage, historical
I love love love this look at nursing in the 1930s. Sue and her friends seem so real and the details are captivating. I have the next few on request and can't wait to get through the whole series. ...more
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh, how I wanted to be Sue Barton, a beautiful, idealistic nurse who marries the handsome doctor and proves that a woman with an education is the best wife any man can have!
I want to know first off, why I didn't ever try this series in the first place! Thank you Bethany for recommending it.:)

I would consider this a classic, because it is one of the few series that isn't written in a pulp-fiction style. Sue Barton is taken from an experienced point of view, and written with plenty of humor, feeling, and character development.

It starts off as she leaves her family on the train station platform, and travels off to nursing school at a old but dear hospital. There s
Kristine Morgan
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This is the first book in the series. It starts with Sue joining forces with her soon to be best friends Kit and Connie on a wonderful and sometimes frightening adventure in nursing school. This is the way nursing should be taught ......with the students living in the hospital having classes in the morning and working with patients part of the day.

This book gives a delightful view of a bygone era. I highly recommend this series for all ages.

An interesting bit of trivia......Helen Boylston was li
A reread to discover the nostalgia of reading this years ago when I was young. Enjoyed it and look forward to reading the whole series. I couldn’t get them all then, but now I have them.
Jane Hinton
Sep 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved these books when I was a kid and discovered them on the shelves of the public library. They were old then, and it’s fun to find the series available via eBook now.
Remember reading this when very young and liking the series. I'd no idea back then that that author was BFF (and possibly a lot more) to the daughter of favorite writer at the time Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The series wouldn't hold up today, but was fun reading back then.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it liked it
There was a lot that I liked about this novel, but I really could have done without the farce aspects, which is why it only gets three stars. It seems to be drawing on some of the same tropes as girls boarding school books.

I did very much like that Sue is serious about her career, and the author actually shows Sue arguing against some of the sexism she encounters, which was a pleasant surprise.
Maria Elmvang
As the first book in the series, Sue Barton, Student Nurse is a quick read (took me no more than an hour or two), but a good one. It's a wonder I've never wanted to be a nurse or a doctor, as much as I love reading about their work. It's a feel-good book of the old-fashioned style and I greatly enjoyed it. I'll be looking forward to reading the rest of the series. ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
My mother loved these books when she was a girl and read them often. They're out of print now and hard to get ahold of, but if you can find them it would be worth your effort. Let it be said that they are obviously books from a different time and era, and because of that they are totally priceless. I loved them for their 1920's insight into woman's experience. ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I am amazed that the Sue Barton books are still in existence! I read (I think) the whole series when I was in fifth grade (many years ago) and I LOVED them at the time. I've no idea how they would read for today's readers, but am pleasantly surprised by the favorable reviews. ...more
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An only child, Helen Dore Boylston attended Portsmouth public schools and trained as a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. Two days after graduating, she joined the Harvard medical unit that had been formed to serve with the British Army. After the war, she missed the comradeship, intense effort, and mutual dependence of people upon one another when under pressure, and joined the Red Cross to ...more

Other books in the series

Sue Barton (7 books)
  • Sue Barton, Senior Nurse (Sue Barton, #2)
  • Sue Barton, Visiting Nurse (Sue Barton, #3)
  • Sue Barton, Rural Nurse (Sue Barton, #4)
  • Sue Barton, Superintendent of Nurses (Sue Barton, #5)
  • Sue Barton, Neighborhood Nurse (Sue Barton, #6)
  • Sue Barton, Staff Nurse (Sue Barton #7)

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