Sunday, April 24, 2011

Nurse as Writer, Writer as Nurse Theresa Laurel Brown, BA, MA, PhD, BSN, RN, OCN®

Nurse as Writer, Writer as Nurse

Theresa Laurel Brown, BA, MA, PhD, BSN, RN, OCN®


The first column I ever wrote for The New York Times, called “Perhaps Death Is Proud, More Reason to Savor Life,” generated a firestorm of attention. Literary agents sent me e-mails, my piece hit The New York Times “most e-mailed” list, and within three days I’d been offered a book contract with a major publisher.


The column described a sudden and grisly cardiac arrest where a patient with lung cancer exsanguinated. I felt happy and lucky when The New York Times accepted it. I thought the piece would come out and my friends would read it, and that’s where the endeavor would end. Instead, from that one piece, I ended up becoming a professional writer about nursing. My book, Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between (HarperCollins), was published in June 2010 and comes out in paperback in April 2011. In addition, I am a regular contributor to The New York Times’ Well blog.


Whenever I talk about my two careers, people often ask the same questions. I have answered some of those recurring questions here, in part, because that is what interests other nurses, but also because those questions get at the heart of how I combine these two very different jobs.

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