Cortney Davis follows her 30 year career in nursing, from her experience as a student nurse washing a patient's feet, to dealing as a nurse practitioner with life and death issues in an inner city OB/GYN clinic. Her essays present epiphanies where she realizes what is important in a confusing and ambiguous situation, why she writes poetry even though she is exhausted from her daily work in the clinic, why she is a nurse when the job  sometimes seems overpowering and depressing.  The positive connections with patients--through kindness, caring, truth-telling, touch-outweigh the difficulties.  Tedious routines are often transformed by spiritual insights and empathy. And sometimes what seems like a miracle inserts itself in a time of grief. Whether she is talking to a man in a coma or treating a sexually-abused teenager, her focus is on the care of the patient.


This inspirational collection of essays shows how talented and skillful a writer Corntey Davis is.  She records the sights, sounds, smells of ICUs and inner city clinics in the background of her intense interactions with her patients.  As she comments in several of her essays, the ability to empathisize with her patients and write about her experiences with them provents her from developing a cold objective distance from them.  She captures "clinical time" in "creative time," allowing "what happened for real" to "be recast in the imagination."  Thus she makes the heart's truth of the experiences accessible to her readers.  And we are grateful.


This book won the 2009 American Journal of Nursing's Book of the Year Award.


Kent State University Press

Place Published

Kent, Ohio



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