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A Nurse's Story - Tilda Shalof

A Nurse's Story

Author Tilda Shalof

  • Published: 2004-03-09
  • Category: Medical
4.5 Stars
From 18 Customers Review
Price: $13.99


The team of nurses that Tilda Shalof found herself working with in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a big-city hospital was known as “Laura’s Line.” They were a bit wild: smart, funny, disrespectful of authority, but also caring and incredibly committed to their jobs. Laura set the tone with her quick remarks. Frances, from Newfoundland, was famous for her improvised recipes. Justine, the union rep, wore t-shirts emblazoned with defiant slogans, like “Nurses Care But It’s Not in the Budget.” Shalof was the one who had been to university. The others accused her of being “sooo sensitive.”

They depended upon one another. Working in the ICU was both emotionally grueling and physically exhausting. Many patients, quite simply, were dying, and the staff strove mightily to prolong their lives. With their skill, dedication, and the resources of modern science, they sometimes were almost too successful. Doctors and nurses alike wondered if what they did for terminally-ill patients was not, in some cases, too extreme. A number of patients were admitted when it was too late even for heroic measures. A boy struck down by a cerebral aneurysm in the middle of a little-league hockey game. A woman rescued – too late – from a burning house. It all took its toll on the staff.

And yet, on good days, they thrived on what they did. Shalof describes a colleague who is managing a “crashing” patient: “I looked at her. Nicky was flushed with excitement. She was doing five different things at the same time, planning ahead for another five. She was totally focused, in her element, in control, completely at home with the chaos. There was a huge smile on her face. Nurses like to fix things. If they can.”

Shalof, a veteran ICU nurse, reveals what it is really like to work behind the closed hospital curtains. The drama, the sardonic humour, the grinding workload, the cheerful camaraderie, the big issues and the small, all are brought vividly to life in this remarkable book.

From the Hardcover edition.

Top Customer Reviews

  • A Nurse's Story

    From Maggie Muggins May
    It has been a unique pleasure to read of Tilda's and her colleagues efforts to save lives all the while maintaining a watchful eye on the comfort of their patients the critically ill. They were equally as active in their approach to those individuals taking their last breaths. I applaud them with all of their human frailties. It is so disappointing that little credit or acknowledgement is too often not afforded them. The work of these nurses renders new meaning to the phrase, an exhausting day at work. However, these wise compassionate caregivers are simply that. They give well beyond what they likely believe they have the capability to offer. What an educational and eye opening experience it has been to read the true stories of Ms Shaloaf's daily activities. It was an affirming privilege to be a virtual fly on the wall of the different patients' rooms and the eateries they frequented together to "debrief" before going home to their families and their beds which called out to them sensing the need for rest they could oblige. Equally satisfying was to read an account of one's work life that was so familiar. I live what could be said to be a day's trip, if the need was there, from the Greater Toronto Area. I have been hospitalized many times myself and I've had occasion to visit immediate family who were housed in an ICU. Many members of my family live in the Toronto area and I have too made visits to hospitals there. Over the years it seems they have all merged into one. The similarities are gratifying when you pause to question the nature of other healthcare facilities around the world. None of the hospitals I have seen can brag about "a presidential suite". However, unlike our neighbours to the south, healthcare is a right not a privilege. Our sick are treated equally regardless of their finances or stature. I find great comfort in this. Tilda's tale reinforced my beliefs about the sick. Like Tilda, although I'm not a nurse, I have a background in psychology and education. I too question many of the same philosophies. Do we have room for improvement? Absolutely, we do. Is our situation, as is, better than many within the global community. To this I can state a resounding yes. Thank you Tilda! We need more nurses like you. I'm just not sure about the opinion of a lesser one for the MRI. Finally, would I recommend this book to others? Positively, but just not to everyone. If you lack compassion and understanding this book probably would not interest you. That is a pity. Tilda could be an excellent eye opener to these individuals. And now my sadness about coming to the end of this book has turned to anticipation since I learned their are more books by You Tilda.