Book Review: ‘The Human Side of Nursing’
If you ever find yourself disenchanted by the nursing profession or struggling to remember why you put up with such a demanding job or questioning what on earth possessed you to start nursing school, a few minutes with Lois Gerber’s “The Human Side of Nursing” will bring you instantly back to why you wanted to be a nurse in the first place. Through touching and poignant vignettes, Gerber illustrates the personal and profound impact a nurse can have on an individual, a family and a community.
Though fictional, “The Human Side of Nursing” is inspired by Lois Gerber’s real life as a community health nurse. Her accounts are based on nurses and patients she’s encountered throughout her career. Any nurse can see themselves and their patients in her stories. There’s the story of Dominic, a 75-year-old widower with macular degeneration and aortic stenosis who has been refusing cardiac surgery. And Carrie, a young female cancer patient who maintains an emotional wall, but surprises with a touching letter that lets us know that sometimes the patients who say nothing are the most affected of all.
At times the book can read a bit too much like “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and some of the dialogue and characters feel forced. Gerber would have made a stronger impact with a little less “telling” and a lot more “showing.” Still, her detailed accounts bring her patients to life and I found myself more than once a little moist eyed.
“The Human Side of Nursing” is the kind of reading every nurse should keep at his or her bedside. It can be read in its entirety, or one story at a time whenever the mood strikes.
Gerber does more than share her perspective after decades as a nurse. She inspires the reader to find the joy in nursing again and makes you want to smile when you hear a patient say, “The nurse is here.”