Healing: When a Nurse Becomes a Patient

Algonquin. Apr. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9781643750699. $27.95. HEALTH
With her aptly named and timed work, best-selling author and oncology nurse Brown (The Shift) weaves her multiple worlds together in this deeply personal memoir of her times as both registered nurse and cancer patient. Brown recognizes her privileged space within the U.S. health care system: she writes that she’s not only a highly educated and trained health care professional but also a highly personally motivated one (due to her breast cancer diagnosis), as well as being cishet and white. Even with all her privilege, navigating the health care labyrinth is fraught with difficulty, she argues. Brown’s in-depth account of caring for the health of patients while simultaneously navigating her own health care is especially timely as the world enters another year of pandemic. Brown’s own journey is largely described positively, but she lays bare the wounds inflicted by an imperfect health system. Her clear-eyed and eloquent examination of illness—from the inside and from the outside—is illuminating.
VERDICT This moving and enlightening memoir is recommended for memoir readers and those interested in health care journeys and struggles.
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