Narrative Nursing

Have you read, “The Nurses” By Alexandra Robbins? I just started…so no spoiler alerts!

Robbins first caught my attention several years ago with “Conquering Your Quarter Life Crisis” and then again with “Pledge.” I’ve enjoyed her investigative writing and with a subject like nursing? I was certainly going to give it a read.

As a writer, I know the challenges of getting a point across in a story while trying to balance the facts. Robbins’ characters are, of course, conglomerations of different people, personalities and stories. I’m only about 10% through the book, but I’m already starting to witness a bit of a trend in Robbins’ storytelling. Mainly, the nurses are compassionate, heroic, hard working professionals. Yet, it seems the physicians and surgeons are egotistical, uncaring and aloof with both patients and employees.

I personally don’t like to paint with these broad strokes, though I do understand crafting a story. Even though each narrative may not be factual, this still, I feel, exacerbates the divisions of a care team.

Lately, patient experience professionals (like myself) have been emphasizing professionalism and teamwork. It would seem obvious that everyone on the care team would work in tandem to take care of patient needs. I know this cannot be accomplished 100% of the time, but as an ideal for patients, it’s a no brainer.


Do you feel that, in your facility/clinic/job that such striking divisions are true? Why or why not?

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