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Medicine

Learning to Heal

, and | Filed under: Forthcoming, Literature & Literary Criticism, Literature & Medicine, Medicine
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What is it like to be a student nurse? What are the joys, the stresses, the transcendent moments, the fall-off-your-bed-laughing moments, and the terrors that have to be faced and stared down? And how might nurses, looking back, relate these experiences in ways that bring these memories to life again and provide historical context for how nursing education has changed and yet remained the same?

In brave, revealing, and often humorous poetry and prose, Learning to Heal explores these questions with contributions by nurses from a variety of social, ethnic, and geographical backgrounds. Readers meet a black nursing student who is surrounded by white teachers and patients in 1940, a mother who rises every morning at 5 a.m. to help her family ready for their day before she herself heads to anatomy class, and an itinerant Jewish teenager who is asked, “What will you become?” These individuals, and many other women and men, share personal stories of finding their way to nursing school, where they begin a long, often wonderful, and sometimes daunting, journey.

 


Diploma Mill

| Filed under: Forthcoming, Medicine
Diploma Mill cover by David Alan Johnson

The absence of medical licensing laws in most states during the years following the American Civil War made it possible for unscrupulous individuals to exploit the weak oversight and unregulated state issuance of school charters. Diploma Mill traces the rise and spectacular fall of Dr. John Buchanan—educator, author, and criminal—and the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania (EMC) over the course of its three decades’ existence. Founded as a legitimate educational institution, the EMC aspired to carry the banner of eclectic medicine in the eastern United States.

 


Human Voices Wake Us

| Filed under: Literature & Medicine, Medicine, Poetry, Recent Releases
Winakur Cover

Doctors today are struggling: debt, divorce, substance abuse, burnout, suicide. They succeed or fail on professional treadmills; patient encounters measured out with coffee spoons. The doctor-patient relationship is crumbling. Bureaucratic and corporate masters make their never-ending arguments of insidious intent. The overwhelming questions: Now where to turn? How do physicians—and their patients—avoid being crushed by the demands of science, of perfection, of expectations? How do we recover the awe we once felt in this world in which we expend our life force every day? How can we find joy once more?

 


Recollections of a Civil War Medical Cadet

and | Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Medicine, Recent Releases, Understanding Civil War History
Reid Cover

Richard M. Reid’s introduction captures the ways the war dramatically reconfigured the American medical landscape. Prior to the war, the medical community was badly fragmented, and elite physicians felt undervalued by the American public. The war offered them the chance to assert their professional control and to make medicine more scientific and evidence-based. The introduction also includes an extensive historiographical analysis of Civil War medicine and situates Wilder’s recollections in the changing direction of the field.

 


Mysterious Medicine

| Filed under: Literature & Literary Criticism, Literature & Medicine, Medicine, Recent Releases
Dunn cover

Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe were masters of mystery and fantasy, but they also engaged real controversies surrounding individual health, health care practice, and biomedical research in nineteenth-century America. During this volatile era, when mesmerists, phrenologists, and other pseudoscientists reigned and “regular” physicians were just beginning to consolidate power, Hawthorne and Poe provided important critiques of experimental and often haphazard systems of care, as well as insights into the evolving understanding of mental and physical pathologies. As writers, they responded to the social, historical, and medical forces of their own time, yet they also addressed themes of bioethics, humanism, and patient-centered care that remain relevant in the twenty-first century.

 


What’s Left Out

| Filed under: Fiction, Literature & Medicine, Medicine
baruch cover

Conventional medical narratives often fail to capture the incoherent, surreal, and logic-twisting reality of the contemporary healthcare experience, where mystery, absurdity, and even cruelty are disguised as logic, reason, and compassion. In this new collection of stories by physician and writer Jay Baruch, characters struggle in their quest for meaning and a more hopeful tomorrow in a strange landscape where motivations are complex and convoluted and what is considered good and just operates as a perpetually shifting proposition.

 


When the Nurse Becomes a Patient

| Filed under: Award Winners, Literature & Medicine, Medicine
Davis cover

In the summer of 2013, Cortney Davis, a nurse practitioner and author who often writes about her interactions with patients, underwent routine one-day surgery. A surgical mishap led to a series of life-altering and life-threatening complications, resulting in two prolonged hospital stays and a lengthy recovery. During twenty-six days in the hospital, Davis experienced how suddenly a caregiver can become a care receiver and what it’s like to be “on the other side of the sickbed.” As a nurse, she was accustomed to suffering and to the empathy such witnessing can evoke, but as a patient she learned new and transforming lessons in pain, fear, loneliness, abandonment, and dependency; in the fragility of health and life; in the necessity of family support; and, ultimately, in the importance of gratitude.

 


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