When Being a Nurse Was Fun recounts Ann Watt’s 31-year critical care nursing career, with the aim of encouraging others to enter the field.
Before she moved to an off-hospital e-ICU telehealth position, Watt’s career was primarily spent in a cardiovascular thoracic (heart/lungs) unit. She details how the staff of nurses certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support pulled together when a patient was admitted from the ER or after surgery, dividing their many duties including phlebotomy (blood draws), medications or charting.
Humor often helped Watt and her colleagues handle the demands of patient care, from teasing an intern whose patterned boxers were visible under his scrubs to pranking each other with fake phone calls. She recalls a busty nurse leaning over a cardiac patient in need of resuscitation. As the nurse performed emergency CPR, her cleavage bounced with each compression. The patient awoke, and, with big eyes, asked “Am I dreaming?”—eliciting laughter from everyone in the room.
More seriously, the author provides helpful information for new or potential nurses about working holidays and night shifts, providing patient hygiene (she’s “seen it all”), handling interns, residents and sexist patients, and learning to deal with dying patients and their loved ones.
Watt’s style is conversational, as if sharing stories among friends, often for a laugh. Her recollections are vivid, realistic, and instructive as she transforms from a naive young nurse to one determined to fight for her own mental health via job changes while also standing up to other medical providers or her own institution to ensure the best patient care.
While general readers might enjoy some of her stories, the book is principally for those new to the field or considering a nursing career. This audience will appreciate learning of the challenges and the triumphs of providing critical care for vulnerable patients.
Also available as an ebook.