How to Treat People: A Nurse's Notes (Hardcover)
A fascinating and poignant memoir of the body and its care, told through the experiences of a young nurse.
As a teenager, Molly Case underwent an operation that saved her life. Nearly a decade later, she finds herself in the operating room again—this time as a trainee nurse. She learns to care for her patients, sharing not only their pain, but also life-affirming moments of hope. In doing so, she offers a compelling account of the processes that keep them alive, from respiratory examinations to surgical prep, and of the extraordinary moments of human connection that sustain both nurse and patient.
In rich, lyrical prose, Case illustrates the intricacies of the human condition through the hand of a stranger offered in solace, a gentle word in response to fear and anger, or the witnessing of a person’s last breaths. It is these moments of empathy, in the extremis of human experience, that define us as people. But when Molly’s father is admitted to the cardiac unit where she works, the professional and the personal suddenly collide.
Weaving together medical history, art, memoir, and science, How to Treat People beautifully explores the oscillating rhythms of life and death in a tender reminder that we can all find meaning in being, even for a moment, part of the lives of others.
— Henry Jay Przybylo, author of Counting Backwards: A Doctor’s Notes on Anesthesia
Case has produced a serious book, one that deserves a place in the rich contemporary canon of medical memoirs…She is best when describing the conditions that mysteriously hover between physical and psychological…She shows us that the unique role of a nurse is to understand and care for people both physically and emotionally.
This beguiling memoir traces Case’s career as a nurse in various hospitals, and is by turns gut-wrenching in its visceral descriptions of medical emergencies, and filled with the joy and satisfaction of seeing a patient recover…Case’s empathy and compassion are everywhere evident in this beautifully written narrative.
— Sunday Times
How to Treat People gets to the heart of who we are—how we live and also how we die. I was moved twice over—by the work Molly does as a nurse every day, and by the book she has written.
— Nina Stibbe, bestselling author of Love Nina: A Nanny Writes Home