Nurses on the Run: Why They Come, Why They Stay
by Karen Buley, RN, BSN

Dog Ear Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-1-608-44336-9.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 12/22/2010

Anthologies/Collections; Nonfiction: Life Lessons

Karen Buley has compiled and edited twenty five stories from nurses who all share one thing: a passion for their profession. Some are new, others are seasoned. All have a special heart for the role they play in a patient's healthcare experience.

The concept for Buley's book began when she was attending a conference in 2005. The question "Who will answer the call lights?" struck a chord within Buley. With a nursing shortage looming, the question kept striking that chord until she had gathered the stories of twenty-five nurses who walk different paths but share many common bonds.

Nurses on the Run resonates with nurses and will likely inspire others to choose nursing for their own careers. In a time when the future of healthcare is hanging in the balance and we see no end in sight to the nursing shortage, this compilation is both thought-provoking and comforting.

The nurses who have shared their stories here practice the art of nursing in a variety of settings, a testimony to the fact that the opportunities in nursing are almost endless. They tell of the joys, the struggles, the heartaches, and the lessons of nursing. I have been a nurse for more than thirty-five years myself, and many of the stories spoke directly to my heart. Perhaps none so much as Lucy May J. Colegado's poignant story, "There Is A Time To Die, But No Time To Cry":

Nursing is such a conflicting job sometimes. We are expected to be human and sensitive so we can take better care of our patients by feeling what they are going through, for their sake. And, yet, we are also expected to detach ourselves from our emotions so we can take care of our patients and make intelligent decisions, also for their sake.

When I think of nurses who have done this for twenty years or more, I wonder how they continue to cope with conflicting expectations. I wonder how they maintain balance and still be good nurses. You know, the kind of nurse who is not immune to human emotions but who does not get overwhelmed by them, either.

Buley has done a commendable job sifting through the stories of our profession and offering up those that are sensitive, reflective, intelligent and heartfelt.

Karen Buley has been a nurse for more than thirty years. She practices her chosen profession in Missoula, Montana. Her publishing credits include A Cup of Comfort for Nurses, Directions in Nursing, Holiday Voices, American Nurse Today, Family Circle, Montana Voices, and the Story Circle Journal. Visit her website.

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