The Shift is a well written and very readable account of a 12 hour nursing shift in the oncology ward at a busy US teaching hospital. To be more specific, The Shift follows the author, Theresa Brown, a practicing nurse, during one of her typical shifts, trying to balance caring for her cancer patients with compassion and grace with the necessity for meticulous administrative and record keeping duties.
Although based on her true life experiences, the patients and events written about in The Shift are in fact a fusion of the many patients Theresa Brown has cared for over the years. This is in no way meant as a criticism, I only mention it because I find that it adds a certain robustness to her writing, providing wonderful, well-rounded insight into the behind the scenes look of a nurse’s working environment. Theresa Browns writing is fluid and sharp, which gives this non-fiction read a very ‘fiction novel’ feel. It also creates such realistic and vivid scenes that as a reader, I often felt the rush and stress of her job, amazed at the multitasking and prioritizing required, all the while keeping a level head.
I don’t know how close her accounts are to those of nurses in the Canadian medical system but one thing is certain: nurses are an indispensible part of the medical system and should be accorded the utmost respect.
I give The Shift 3/5 stars.
Goodreads Seasonal Reading Challenge Task 10.6 – Back to Reality
Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.