Nurses Stories in a Book

Carolyn Jones and her team spent 5 years photographing and interviewing nurses across the country, after her experience with breast cancer.

She has published a book and a documentary, both titled, The American Nurse.

These are Carolyn Jones’ stories from her  TEDMED Talk taped in November 2016.

What I loved most about Carolyn Jones TEDMED talk was her language describing what she has experienced with her nurses and has witnessed in other nurses:

When Carolyn Jones had breast cancer-  “Joann was my oncology nurse. She made me feel normal. She didn’t treat me with kid gloves. She told me that my life would get back to normal. She believed it, so I believed it. Over the course of my weeks receiving chemo, we talked about my chemo questions and experiences in-between her stories about her boyfriend and apartment hunting in NYC.  How did she know so instinctively just how to talk with me?”

Bridgett, from Cameroon, works in the Bronx in critical care where she helps her patients express and satisfy their diverse needs. She makes possible the use of all items that symbolize comfort and support to her patients, such as a significant feather for her Native American patient.

Jason works in the Appalachia Mountains as a home health nurse where he travels where ambulances cannot reach. This mountain man sat and treated his patients so intimately and with such compassion.

Brian is a soldier and military nurse in San Diego. He was often the first person a wounded soldier would see and hear when they woke up with the words, “you’re not going anywhere, you’ve given enough, brother.”

Sister Steven runs a long-term care facility in Wisconsin. She brings farm animal babies into her residents so they can rejoice in the circle of life, even though they may not be aware of much else. She showed how loving someone so much means letting them go. Sister Steven rolled more life into that setting than I have ever experienced anywhere else.

“Once again, I fell dependent on the guidance of nurses in ICU after my mother fell and broke her hip just 4 days after my father died. The nurses knew the importance of putting a pretty gown on my mom for our sake, even though my mom was unresponsive. They knew just when to wake me up for my mother’s last breath. They knew just how long to leave me with her in her room after she died.”

Carolyn Jones- “I don’t know how nurses know these things, but I am eternally grateful for how they have guided me.”  

These stories are like so many stories about nurses found in books, commercials, etc. that make us feel good.

Our next step is to hear these organic stories

rising up unprompted through the course of the day …

in our work settings.

That would feel good every day. 



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