Hot Best Seller

Year of the Nurse: A Covid-19 Pandemic Memoir

Availability: Ready to download

Year of the Nurse is Cassie Alexander's poignant effort to come to grips with suicidal ideation and PTSD after being a covid nurse in an ICU in 2020. I'm writing this third person like I give a shit. I don't. This is my therapy book. I'm writing it for me, and for every other nurse out there who is angry at how last year went down. I see you. You are not alone. In addition Year of the Nurse is Cassie Alexander's poignant effort to come to grips with suicidal ideation and PTSD after being a covid nurse in an ICU in 2020. I'm writing this third person like I give a shit. I don't. This is my therapy book. I'm writing it for me, and for every other nurse out there who is angry at how last year went down. I see you. You are not alone. In addition to being a nurse, I'm a professional author, and I kept track of last year as it was happening. So maybe laypeople can peek in a bit and understand what it was like to have portions of your country and family betray you while you went and risked your life. Here's how it begins: On April 25th, 2021 at 10:55 in the morning I messaged my girl’s chat group from where I work as a nurse on an ICU floor: “Nothing like feeling strongly suicidal at a job where you’re supposed to be keeping people alive,” and then tweeted that my “mental health wasn’t great” and deleted the twitter app off of my phone because I didn’t want to “overshare.” That I felt like dying. That I would’ve rather died than still be at work. *** There were roughly four million nurses in America, as of last year. Only 2.7 million soldiers fought in the Vietnam War. Soldiers who came back from Vietnam, after having witnessed -- and in some cases, participated in – atrocities were changed forever. It would be foolhardy to believe that you could send four million people into a wartime equivalent, without there being psychological consequences. And yet, that’s what America has done. We spent a year battling a largely unknown assailant, running low on gear, haunted by the fact that we could bring something deadly home, and getting coughed on by people who pretended that our fights were imaginary and, worse yet, that our struggles – watching people die, day after day, no matter what we did -- were literally unreal. Nurses are fucked up. We are going to continue to be fucked up for quite some time. And unless there’s an acknowledgement and a reckoning, healthcare as we know it in America’s going to be hamstrung for the next decade. I do not know a single nurse who doesn’t want another job right now. (If you don’t and you’re reading this, if you’re a pedi-nurse or something, congrats. Know that I am very jealous of you and your job satisfaction.) Even before covid, burn out levels in nurses were epic. In 2018 31.5% of those 4 million nurses changed jobs due to burn out. A fleeing brain drain is happening right now as I type, as nurses across the nation figure out what their safety and well-being looks like for them. Some people will wind up being stay-at-home-parents, some will go into R&D, and others will just retire a few years earlier then they had planned to, because there’s nothing like watching people die for year to make you think maybe you should go and live. (Unless you’re me, and yeah, we’ll get to that.) And? A large number of us hate a large number of you. (Although likely not the ‘you’ reading this book.) If you spent your pandemic fighting masks, voting for Trump, or going on vacation? Those of us with the blood you caused on our hands actively wish you ill. I’m just being honest. We’re going to remember, as we all go into this, our first safe summer. Because, unlike you, some of us will never get to forget. This really is a therapy book, and I really was (am?) suicidal. But unlike many in my nursing cohort who got through 2020, I am also a professional writer. I don’t know what I’m thinking half the time unless I write it down -- so I do. And I kept track of what was happening with me last year. I’m going to go back and cull through my personal journals, emails, and tweets, and share what being a nurse in 2020 was like with you. This book is going to be a kind of scrapbook in that sense, in that I have ancillary material that I’ll quote and share here, in addition to my original thoughts upon it. (Note: I won’t be cleaning up the grammar and spelling mistakes in my tweets, as they’re a matter of public record.) A lot of it is going to be immediate, and a lot of it is going to be raw. I’m not here to make apologies about how angry this book will be. I can’t, not when that’s the reason I’m writing it. Because I need to do something, anything, to quench this ember of hate I have in my heart. Jesus can’t touch it and neither can love. I need someone – you, if you’re reading this – to try and go there with me. I want to take you along and show you what it was like. I want to make you feel my fear and desperation, and this is going to be a ride far more intense than any Stephen King novel. You might learn some shit along the way – but mostly I just want to not be so alone. I know a lot of people want to shut the door on the past and move on the future, but to that I say, “How can I?” When this thread of betrayal that this country has woven through me is sewn so deep? I think this is the only thing I can do that will help to set me free. And so, now that you’re warned, let’s begin.


Compare

Year of the Nurse is Cassie Alexander's poignant effort to come to grips with suicidal ideation and PTSD after being a covid nurse in an ICU in 2020. I'm writing this third person like I give a shit. I don't. This is my therapy book. I'm writing it for me, and for every other nurse out there who is angry at how last year went down. I see you. You are not alone. In addition Year of the Nurse is Cassie Alexander's poignant effort to come to grips with suicidal ideation and PTSD after being a covid nurse in an ICU in 2020. I'm writing this third person like I give a shit. I don't. This is my therapy book. I'm writing it for me, and for every other nurse out there who is angry at how last year went down. I see you. You are not alone. In addition to being a nurse, I'm a professional author, and I kept track of last year as it was happening. So maybe laypeople can peek in a bit and understand what it was like to have portions of your country and family betray you while you went and risked your life. Here's how it begins: On April 25th, 2021 at 10:55 in the morning I messaged my girl’s chat group from where I work as a nurse on an ICU floor: “Nothing like feeling strongly suicidal at a job where you’re supposed to be keeping people alive,” and then tweeted that my “mental health wasn’t great” and deleted the twitter app off of my phone because I didn’t want to “overshare.” That I felt like dying. That I would’ve rather died than still be at work. *** There were roughly four million nurses in America, as of last year. Only 2.7 million soldiers fought in the Vietnam War. Soldiers who came back from Vietnam, after having witnessed -- and in some cases, participated in – atrocities were changed forever. It would be foolhardy to believe that you could send four million people into a wartime equivalent, without there being psychological consequences. And yet, that’s what America has done. We spent a year battling a largely unknown assailant, running low on gear, haunted by the fact that we could bring something deadly home, and getting coughed on by people who pretended that our fights were imaginary and, worse yet, that our struggles – watching people die, day after day, no matter what we did -- were literally unreal. Nurses are fucked up. We are going to continue to be fucked up for quite some time. And unless there’s an acknowledgement and a reckoning, healthcare as we know it in America’s going to be hamstrung for the next decade. I do not know a single nurse who doesn’t want another job right now. (If you don’t and you’re reading this, if you’re a pedi-nurse or something, congrats. Know that I am very jealous of you and your job satisfaction.) Even before covid, burn out levels in nurses were epic. In 2018 31.5% of those 4 million nurses changed jobs due to burn out. A fleeing brain drain is happening right now as I type, as nurses across the nation figure out what their safety and well-being looks like for them. Some people will wind up being stay-at-home-parents, some will go into R&D, and others will just retire a few years earlier then they had planned to, because there’s nothing like watching people die for year to make you think maybe you should go and live. (Unless you’re me, and yeah, we’ll get to that.) And? A large number of us hate a large number of you. (Although likely not the ‘you’ reading this book.) If you spent your pandemic fighting masks, voting for Trump, or going on vacation? Those of us with the blood you caused on our hands actively wish you ill. I’m just being honest. We’re going to remember, as we all go into this, our first safe summer. Because, unlike you, some of us will never get to forget. This really is a therapy book, and I really was (am?) suicidal. But unlike many in my nursing cohort who got through 2020, I am also a professional writer. I don’t know what I’m thinking half the time unless I write it down -- so I do. And I kept track of what was happening with me last year. I’m going to go back and cull through my personal journals, emails, and tweets, and share what being a nurse in 2020 was like with you. This book is going to be a kind of scrapbook in that sense, in that I have ancillary material that I’ll quote and share here, in addition to my original thoughts upon it. (Note: I won’t be cleaning up the grammar and spelling mistakes in my tweets, as they’re a matter of public record.) A lot of it is going to be immediate, and a lot of it is going to be raw. I’m not here to make apologies about how angry this book will be. I can’t, not when that’s the reason I’m writing it. Because I need to do something, anything, to quench this ember of hate I have in my heart. Jesus can’t touch it and neither can love. I need someone – you, if you’re reading this – to try and go there with me. I want to take you along and show you what it was like. I want to make you feel my fear and desperation, and this is going to be a ride far more intense than any Stephen King novel. You might learn some shit along the way – but mostly I just want to not be so alone. I know a lot of people want to shut the door on the past and move on the future, but to that I say, “How can I?” When this thread of betrayal that this country has woven through me is sewn so deep? I think this is the only thing I can do that will help to set me free. And so, now that you’re warned, let’s begin.

30 review for Year of the Nurse: A Covid-19 Pandemic Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Spencer

    This book was a difficult but amazing read. My heart goes out to the author and to all those who are working in healthcare while too much of the world can't be bothered to take even basic precautions. This collection of tweets, journal entries and blog articles over the course of COVID's first year lets readers see the pandemic through the eyes of an ICU nurse who treated some of the sickest patients. We see the difficulties encountered by healthcare providers, and we see these difficulties compo This book was a difficult but amazing read. My heart goes out to the author and to all those who are working in healthcare while too much of the world can't be bothered to take even basic precautions. This collection of tweets, journal entries and blog articles over the course of COVID's first year lets readers see the pandemic through the eyes of an ICU nurse who treated some of the sickest patients. We see the difficulties encountered by healthcare providers, and we see these difficulties compounded by people taking dangerous and inconsiderate risks, as well as by a healthcare system that runs on profit. It's one thing to hear about COVID stressing hospitals in the abstract; it's quite another to see how this pandemic has affected the physical and mental health of medical providers. This raw and powerful memoir shows readers not just what the pandemic looked like, but also what it could feel like. You may need to take breaks while reading, but this one is definitely a must-read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Claire O'Dell

    Alexander has written a powerful memoir about 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. The book is a scrapbook of her tweets and entries from her journal, interspersed with tech-nerd essays about nursing and medicine. Even if you think you understand the medical crisis we all faced (and are still facing), you still need to read this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ladzinski

    Content warning: PTSD, suicidal ideation, COVID death, illness, bodily fluids, graphic discussion of medical procedures Fucking harrowing as we get a front line view of the COVID pandemic from the very beginning through the first half of 2021. Nurses shouldn’t have to be this resilient. Told across several bits of media from texts to tweets to blog posts, Cassie Alexander tells a brutally honest account of her experience working the COVID wards. What also works is how well Alexander knows her audi Content warning: PTSD, suicidal ideation, COVID death, illness, bodily fluids, graphic discussion of medical procedures Fucking harrowing as we get a front line view of the COVID pandemic from the very beginning through the first half of 2021. Nurses shouldn’t have to be this resilient. Told across several bits of media from texts to tweets to blog posts, Cassie Alexander tells a brutally honest account of her experience working the COVID wards. What also works is how well Alexander knows her audience. There’s an empathy in the discussion and excellent laying out of specific terms and concepts. It’s easy to read from the standpoint of understanding the medicine, but difficult when it comes to even wrapping your mind around this lived experience. This is the most important book I’ve read this year, and I don’t use that term lightly.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    As someone disconnected from the medical field, I had a vague understanding that things were bad in hospitals last year, but this book gave much more context to just how stressful, horrifying, and traumatic the pandemic has been for medical workers. Read this if you want a better understanding of what ICU nurses actually had to deal with, including the disconnect between treating COVID patients while so much of the world ignored that the pandemic was happening. With the increasingly alarming repo As someone disconnected from the medical field, I had a vague understanding that things were bad in hospitals last year, but this book gave much more context to just how stressful, horrifying, and traumatic the pandemic has been for medical workers. Read this if you want a better understanding of what ICU nurses actually had to deal with, including the disconnect between treating COVID patients while so much of the world ignored that the pandemic was happening. With the increasingly alarming reports about the Delta variant, part of me wishes I'd waited to read this until we were truly out of the pandemic. This was emotionally draining, and maybe it would have been less overwhelming if I'd had more distance. But since this is still our reality, the other part of me is glad I read it now. My heart aches for the trauma and stress medical workers are still going through. We're all ready for this to be over, but we don't want to pretend we're done prematurely. This book was a good reminder of what could happen if cases continue to trend upwards. If you read this, know it will make you angry and grieved at how badly the US has failed our medical workers, especially since this is still happening and that so much of the stress and suffering could have been prevented. I received a free copy of this book from the author and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This past year has been physically and emotionally draining, and I've just been on the periphery of everything, hiding out. I don't even have words to express the combination of gratitude for the people (healthcare, essential services, teachers, and so many more) working on the front lines of the pandemic, and dismay at what they had to experience. To me, this was an important book to read. This past year has been physically and emotionally draining, and I've just been on the periphery of everything, hiding out. I don't even have words to express the combination of gratitude for the people (healthcare, essential services, teachers, and so many more) working on the front lines of the pandemic, and dismay at what they had to experience. To me, this was an important book to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I also worked as a covid nurse, and though our experiences were not exactly the same, this book helped me feel understood.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Note: I received an advanced copy of this book. I read quickly, but not that quickly. And this is not a book to read quickly. Quite a few times, I put it down to put myself back in the moments described, guideposts for what experience of mine I could share with Cassie. While 2020 was hard for everyone, as every advertisement ever likes to remind us, it was disheartening, impossible, and deadly for nurses. Like Cassie says, you have to be a bit of a rubbernecker to be an ICU nurse, and similarly I Note: I received an advanced copy of this book. I read quickly, but not that quickly. And this is not a book to read quickly. Quite a few times, I put it down to put myself back in the moments described, guideposts for what experience of mine I could share with Cassie. While 2020 was hard for everyone, as every advertisement ever likes to remind us, it was disheartening, impossible, and deadly for nurses. Like Cassie says, you have to be a bit of a rubbernecker to be an ICU nurse, and similarly I was very interested in what her experience was- there was news coverage of what our "heroes" were doing in 2020, but not nearly enough, as she relates. This book is a textual scrapbook of her experience, from headlines to group chats to private journals. It was not always an easy thing to read, as someone who empathizes strongly with people, but it was a very important and enlightening thing to read. As we continue in the pandemic, as it turns bad again, anyone interested in reading this book will want to know this experience, this mindset. We're all so tired. But this perspective is so, so important. Even the "luckier" nurses, geographically, resource-wise, or administration-wise, were ground to the bone in 2020. We can't let them down, not when protecting them is so easy. Read the book. That's really, after 2020, watching the Delta variant numbers rising, that's all I've got.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy Keyes

    Must-Read Nursing Memoir of COVID-19 Pandemic Compellingly told in chronological order of events (with insight from the present), this memoir of nursing through a pandemic emphasizes how incredible the toll has been on healthcare workers and how unnecessarily the degree of difficulty was amplified in so many ways.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Monson

    An uncomfortable, necessary read A personal, firsthand account from the frontlines and the toll it took on those who are there to care for us. To those who wouldn't lift a finger to protect others as you would yourself, and to those who continue to push the lies about the ineffectiveness of masks and vaccines while being the first in line for both, I just can't express how horrible you are. You need to read what went on this past year and consider it didn't have to happen and it is still happenin An uncomfortable, necessary read A personal, firsthand account from the frontlines and the toll it took on those who are there to care for us. To those who wouldn't lift a finger to protect others as you would yourself, and to those who continue to push the lies about the ineffectiveness of masks and vaccines while being the first in line for both, I just can't express how horrible you are. You need to read what went on this past year and consider it didn't have to happen and it is still happening. You need to own up to what you did. As a person who masks, got vaccines as soon as possible, did all the right things, and continues to mask up; I thought I knew something. This book showed me how woefully ignorant I was and still am. If you did everything I did, get this book and settle in for a very uncomfortable ride where you will experience the range of the emotional spectrum. You will need to set it down often, but you will finish it because you will be compelled to honor the hwc in the trenches.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    Heartbreaking and beautiful and scary and so, so amazing. I want to hug the author. It's fine. We're both vaccinated. Heartbreaking and beautiful and scary and so, so amazing. I want to hug the author. It's fine. We're both vaccinated.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Iola

    Year of the Nurse isn't the kind of book I normally read. I read fiction. Christian fiction. Year of the Nurse is a memoir written by a non-Christian. It's full of black humour and swearing, and blames a lot of stuff on God (and Trump, Fox News, and Evangelical Protestants in general). In other words, it's everything I usually try and avoid in my recreational reading. Yet I was hooked from the opening page. It's written by an ICU nurse in California who volunteered to nurse on the Covid ward in 20 Year of the Nurse isn't the kind of book I normally read. I read fiction. Christian fiction. Year of the Nurse is a memoir written by a non-Christian. It's full of black humour and swearing, and blames a lot of stuff on God (and Trump, Fox News, and Evangelical Protestants in general). In other words, it's everything I usually try and avoid in my recreational reading. Yet I was hooked from the opening page. It's written by an ICU nurse in California who volunteered to nurse on the Covid ward in 2020, the Year of the Nurse as proclaimed by the World Health Organization to honour the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. The memoir is an edited compilation of her tweets, blog posts and private journal, interspersed with commentary about what it all means. Some of it is pretty technical, but the author has the ability to translate complex medical principles into language a non-professional can read and understand. It's a hard read. The author starts before the USA has its first case of Covid-19, when she's watching the TV news and sees nurses in Italy proning patients (positioning them on their stomachs). I saw those clips, but they didn't mean anything to me. Alexander explains why it's a big problem. She talks about the early days, when the nurses didn't have enough PPE (and when they were told to reuse PPE in a way that would have gotten them fired three months earlier). She talks about the easy times, and they're hard to read because I've watched the news and I know worse is coming (thanks anti-maskers, who refuse to understand that wearing a mask isn't about my rights. It's about protecting the sick and the elderly and the children). She talks about the hard times, and they're hard to read because she's literally watching people die and can't do anything to save them. And it's hard to read because I've watched the news and I know worse is coming. She talks about the relief she feels when a vaccine is announced and when she is able to get the vaccine, and it's hard to read because I've watched the news and I know worse is coming (thanks, anti-vaxxers who convince too many vaccine-hesitant that the vaccine has microchips or 5G or makes you magnetic or will kill you in three or five or twenty years). She finishes in May 2021, when cases are down and the future is looking bright, and even that's hard to read because I've watched the news and I know worse is coming (thanks, Delta variant). But the hardest part to read is how far she has gone from the Christian faith she was raised with, and I wonder how many other people have lost their faith because of actions of America's "Christian" right over the last five years. We've recently commemorated the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, when 6,000 people were killed in four coordinated acts of terrorism. We celebrate the heroes of 9/11, the emergency workers who ran into the buildings when everyone else was running out. Yet more American healthcare workers have died of Covid-19 in the last eighteen months than everyone who died in 9/11. And we're not celebrating those heroes. They're ignored at best and vilified at words, like Vietnam veterans. all while they're trying to save lives. Christians, we are called to care for the widows and orphans, to love our neighbour as ourselves, and to draw people into the kingdom of God. Not to spread disease and make widows and orphans, and to turn people away from God. Recommended for readers who want to better understand the difficulties faced by healthcare workers, those who'd like an inside look at healthcare in the pandemic, and Fox News viewers who can't understand why so many people disagree with them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Graff Fuller

    I wish more people would read this book. Now, saying that...comes with some caveats. This book is NOT an easy read. I enjoyed the honesty and the boots on the ground perspective, BUT the author/ICU nurse has a "no holds barred" attitude. She is RAW. She cusses like a sailor, but through it all, the humanity in this woman is NEVER lost. She's a nurse, and her job is to save as many lives as she can...and COVID-19 has been so mismanaged, that the anger and frustration has to be vented somewhere. Hen I wish more people would read this book. Now, saying that...comes with some caveats. This book is NOT an easy read. I enjoyed the honesty and the boots on the ground perspective, BUT the author/ICU nurse has a "no holds barred" attitude. She is RAW. She cusses like a sailor, but through it all, the humanity in this woman is NEVER lost. She's a nurse, and her job is to save as many lives as she can...and COVID-19 has been so mismanaged, that the anger and frustration has to be vented somewhere. Hence the book. I don't always agree with her political views, nor do I ever agree with her religious views, but I do believe her. This should not have happened, when it did, it should've been handled with more love and care for the people dying. AND, we as a culture NEED to secure our future, by protecting and supporting our nurses. The callous ways that our hospitals have treated them is criminal. SO, if you are like me...want to learn from the past mistakes and listen to those who have the answers (bc they dealt head on with the problem), then read this book. I usually breeze through books in a day or two. This one took me longer, because the topic was so heavy and REAL. We all lived through this time period, but most of us have been sheltered from this "up close and personal" experience with non-stop death. I had to step away. Imagine being a nurse...during COVID-19 and NOT being able to step away. Please read this book. It was an eye-opener for me. I have always worn my mask and I got vaccinated...and have been encouraging others to do so too, but some people don't listen and NEVER think anything bad will ever happen to them...until it does. Thank you, Cassie for this book. Much appreciated. You are in my thoughts and prayers (along with all our nurses and healthcare workers). Thank you for standing in the breach for us.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Full disclosure; I read an early version of this for free from the author. That said, I think this is a desperately important book. It is emotionally grueling but at the same time, oddly validating, even though I'm not a nurse and have not had to put myself in danger during this pandemic. Cassandra does a remarkable job of including headlines and tweets and essays that give context in a way that pulls you through the past over a year and lays out the case for the next health emergency that is com Full disclosure; I read an early version of this for free from the author. That said, I think this is a desperately important book. It is emotionally grueling but at the same time, oddly validating, even though I'm not a nurse and have not had to put myself in danger during this pandemic. Cassandra does a remarkable job of including headlines and tweets and essays that give context in a way that pulls you through the past over a year and lays out the case for the next health emergency that is coming for so many of us, even most of us don't recognize that yet. This book is a must-read, but be sure to take breaks while you do.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This book is such a roller coaster ride of emotions as Cassie takes you on a journey through the Covid-19 Pandemic that completely took its toll on the world and the horrors that the nursing staff has been through and seen and the toll it has taken on there mental health throughout it all and it is still with us as cases are rising get again so the nurses have to carry on trying to save lives and make patient comfortable as they go through this deadly disease. This book is raw and the decisions This book is such a roller coaster ride of emotions as Cassie takes you on a journey through the Covid-19 Pandemic that completely took its toll on the world and the horrors that the nursing staff has been through and seen and the toll it has taken on there mental health throughout it all and it is still with us as cases are rising get again so the nurses have to carry on trying to save lives and make patient comfortable as they go through this deadly disease. This book is raw and the decisions that have to be taken of life and death and I felt so many emotions that I can't even describe how it made me feel as I felt I was there with Cassie on this journey and what she had to face day after day with no rest bits from the emotional toll that they are all facing. This pandemic has taken it's toll on the world with many deaths of our loved ones including my mum and all though she didn't die from Covid it still caused untold suffering for those left behind as everything had shut down and there was a travel ban which made it difficult for anyone to see there loved ones who died with none of there family around them except for these exceptional nurses who battled through regardless and there dedication is something that they should be totally proud of and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thank You Cassie for writing this book and for giving us an insight into your world as a nurse and I really appreciate the time that you have taken and as part of your subscribers newsletter I have be fortunate to read about your journey. I definitely recommend you read this book and you will definitely not be disappointed. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Very raw emotions, and so much righteous anger. As a nurse who was insulated from COVID for the most part, I felt like a fraud when I was hailed as a ‘hero’, and I knew it was so much worse for the nurses who were dealing with it. I want to give her a hug so bad, and tell her it will get better, but for all the reasons she talked about, I agree with her that we are never going back to the way things were. Wishing CA all the best in her writing career, and going to check out her other books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    BoxerLover2

    The topic makes this a difficult read, but I am glad I did. The book chronicles a year in the life of an ICU nurse in 2020. Not too technical. Just the facts. Warning -- there are curse words. When writing about the year 2020 how can there not be cursing? 5 Stars

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Kumpula

    A definite must-read This is a raw, frequently painful firsthand account of being an ICU nurse when COVID hit. If you don’t finish it both sad and absolutely furious for our healthcare workers and about how this pandemic was handled in the US, I seriously doubt your humanity. You will also learn a lot about a variety of ICU things and the references in the back are extremely comprehensive.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shan

    A valuable account of the (first wave of the) Covid pandemic, from an ICU nurse, based on the journal she kept and the tweets she posted at the time. Her stories, her frustration, and her anger are similar to what I heard from my ER nurse friend in real time. The author brings us into the ICU to see what really happens when a patient is intubated, what really happens when the family finally decides to 'pull the plug' (it's not an instant peaceful slipping away), and all in the context of hospita A valuable account of the (first wave of the) Covid pandemic, from an ICU nurse, based on the journal she kept and the tweets she posted at the time. Her stories, her frustration, and her anger are similar to what I heard from my ER nurse friend in real time. The author brings us into the ICU to see what really happens when a patient is intubated, what really happens when the family finally decides to 'pull the plug' (it's not an instant peaceful slipping away), and all in the context of hospitals with shortages of PPE and other necessities. It's not easy reading. It isn't just the content, but the style - it's like reading a whole long discussion thread on the internet, so you get repetition, stream of consciousness stuff, and lots of emotional reactions and politics. (The fact that I'm reading it on my phone adds to that sensation.) The author is frustrated with Trump's nonsense, and also with the regular people who refuse to take Covid seriously. I think about that a lot now, in our "I've got to see it with my own two eyes!" society that we're in. About how people can't believe what they see unless it happens, and profoundly enough at that, to someone they know. The same things that perplex her also perplex me. How do we get past this national belief that my uninformed opinion is as valuable as actual information from people who spend their whole lives studying a topic? I do recommend this, especially for people who are on the fence about Covid precautions. I don't think it will convince hard core talk radio listeners; I see some 1-star reviewers complaining about the outspoken politics in the book. Update: After the library took this one back, a friend lent it to me so I could finish it. I couldn't get through it in the 21 days allotted, and other people were waiting for it so I couldn't renew it. This isn't 3 weeks worth of reading, but I kept putting it down. The third of it that I read after writing my original review above was more of the same, up to about the 3/4 mark, when it transitioned from Cassie at the hospital dealing with Covid day by day to Cassie on mental health leave once vaccines were widely available and the numbers were going down. It's less repetitive because she wrote more of it intentionally for the book. It provides some insight into the challenges people face getting therapy, even if they have money and insurance, and it's a glimpse into life with depression. There are plenty of mental health memoirs out there, so the last quarter of the book felt less fresh than the rest. By the time I got there, I was ready to be done with the book. The author ends with some recommendations for the healthcare industry and some for the general public; the latter boils down to listen to the science.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    Poorly written, a disgrace to the nursing profession The writer is very shallow and narrow minded. It was a democratic governor who sent the covid patients into the nursing home and killed my family member. I’ve been a Critical Care nurse for 21 years and this writers smut attitude would not be tolerated. Nurses are not in this alone. All bedside personnel have had to deal with this world wide pandemic. Many of them only make minimum wage but they suck it up and do their job. We are a team and w Poorly written, a disgrace to the nursing profession The writer is very shallow and narrow minded. It was a democratic governor who sent the covid patients into the nursing home and killed my family member. I’ve been a Critical Care nurse for 21 years and this writers smut attitude would not be tolerated. Nurses are not in this alone. All bedside personnel have had to deal with this world wide pandemic. Many of them only make minimum wage but they suck it up and do their job. We are a team and we work together for the good of all of our patients. Not even deserve it of the one star rating.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    This book is everything. Everything I have wanted to say to my family, my friends, my patients…

  21. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Incredibly moving memoir of a nurse’s journey through our covid pandemic from when the first news came out of Wuhan to July 2021 all while working with a severe case of PTSD. Although I struggled with some of the language and the resentment against Christians, I felt connected to the author in her anger at the stupidity of the U.S. government and those of the public who believe covid isn’t a big deal. Canadians fared somewhat better, but we are still struggling (September 2021) with the anti-vax Incredibly moving memoir of a nurse’s journey through our covid pandemic from when the first news came out of Wuhan to July 2021 all while working with a severe case of PTSD. Although I struggled with some of the language and the resentment against Christians, I felt connected to the author in her anger at the stupidity of the U.S. government and those of the public who believe covid isn’t a big deal. Canadians fared somewhat better, but we are still struggling (September 2021) with the anti-vaxxers actually protesting outside our hospitals!!! Of all the places to protest :( it is beyond despicable. There are many unvaccinated people inside those hospitals dying of covid, being cared for by burnt-out nurses. I do want to mention a couple of things. At the beginning of the pandemic, I had to serve a man holding his child when they were both seriously ill and coughing without covering their mouths. Both looked extremely ill and already our small community was seeing covid cases and deaths. I asked my boss if we could put up a sign saying that people exhibiting flu-like symptoms would not be served, and she said, “No! No one would read the sign so there’s no point.” Oh, my goodness. That showed how much management cared about staff safety! The only reason we ended up getting signs, sanitizer, plexiglass shields and face masks was because our excellent provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, mandated them. OUR LEADERS ARE IMPORTANT! They save lives! Also, re the anger at church-going folks: not all Christians act like fools. I am a Christian and I STILL only watch online church services, wear a mask indoors, got double vaccinated, AND I believe God hears our prayers at home (in answer to the last excerpt below). And they’re hacking with their smoker’s cough, and all I can see is what I think of as germs billowing out of their mouth and plastering themselves against the outside of my shield’s plastic screen, covering me up in a fine film of death-mist. Who held their hands, or tried to, through gloves? Who held phones and iPads up so that they could hear your last words and maybe see your face one last time? Who took care of them for hours, days, weeks, months, greeting you on the phone by name, until your loved one’s final passing? Who tried to give them dignity, in a place and time where it was sorely lacking? Who tried to show them the compassion when portions of the outside world were saying that covid—the very thing that was clotting their blood and stealing their breath—was a lie? It was us. The nurses. 11/9/20 Oh my gosh, this vaccine news is so heartening!!!!! Everyone who volunteered for this vaccine trial is a legit hero. Honestly, you, as a parishioner—do you think your God is so small that he doesn’t recognize your prayers at home, one on one? Do you think that if He can’t hear your choir then He forgets His name if you all aren’t all together, singing it? Do you think that maybe He can give you a pass during a FUCKING PLAGUE YEAR?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    AN ABSOLUTELY MUST-READ BOOK! 5* The author’s collection of memories would be enough to traumatise a person at least as badly as soldiers coming back from battle, unable to leave behind the horrors leading to PTSD. We now talk about mental health more and more as a direct result of the isolation, loneliness, uncertainty, fear, and life-disrupting consequences of living through a pandemic. What the health professionals on the other hand went, and are still going through, is this unrelenting demand AN ABSOLUTELY MUST-READ BOOK! 5* The author’s collection of memories would be enough to traumatise a person at least as badly as soldiers coming back from battle, unable to leave behind the horrors leading to PTSD. We now talk about mental health more and more as a direct result of the isolation, loneliness, uncertainty, fear, and life-disrupting consequences of living through a pandemic. What the health professionals on the other hand went, and are still going through, is this unrelenting demand with no let-up in our desperate need for their compassion, willingness to help, professionalism and humanity. For how long can we ask these healthcare professionals to be sympathetic and empathetic to human suffering and death without a terrible toll on their health? In Englan, our esteemed Prime Minister had, in his boundless gratitude awarded them a 1% pay rise last year. I spent over 2 decades as a medical scientist and had still learned about reasons for nursing practices and protocols that I was never aware of. This book is something that everyone should read and really think about the information revealed. Sure, it is hard to balance the economic forces that need to be oiled against the need to saving lives. We are on the other hand, living through an unprecedented pandemic and if this book is anything, it is a plea for taking this seriously and asking for everyone to cooperate in getting rid of this virus and stop the unparalleled suffering throughout the world. Please read this book which will give an exceptionally unique viewpoint of what it is like to deal with this infection every day. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Jack

    Raw, Real Memoir from a Nurse in the Pandemic Trenches As an RN who has worked during the pandemic, though not as directly as this nurse author, I was fascinated by this book when I saw it at a book review site. The book is real and raw... and a surprisingly gripping read. The author wrote it as part of her therapy while recovering from suicidal ideation because of what she was dealing with every day as a COVID nurse. She wants to inform people about the realities of COVID, especially the deniers Raw, Real Memoir from a Nurse in the Pandemic Trenches As an RN who has worked during the pandemic, though not as directly as this nurse author, I was fascinated by this book when I saw it at a book review site. The book is real and raw... and a surprisingly gripping read. The author wrote it as part of her therapy while recovering from suicidal ideation because of what she was dealing with every day as a COVID nurse. She wants to inform people about the realities of COVID, especially the deniers, as well as to be heard and feel like she has retroactive companions on the journey (we readers). While everything was happening, from March 2020 to July 2021, the author documented her nursing experiences on social media and in private journals. The book is structured by month, and we see her social media posts, journal entries, and paragraphs when she pulls it all together for analysis or adds extra detail. She also explains some nursing/medical realities for readers who are not nurses. I even learned from some of that because I am not an ICU nurse and never have been; I’ve been a general med-surg and addictions RN. Everyone who is a COVID denier should read this book. If you want to know what it's like for someone on the front lines during the pandemic, working directly with very ill COVID patients, you should definitely read this book. However, if you don't like profanity or don't have a strong stomach for the realities of nursing in trying times, you may want to skip the book. Still, the book has a lot of value, if you can take it. Highly recommended. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review. My book blog: https://www.readingfanaticreviews.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    I follow this author on twitter and saw a lot of what she talks about in this book. I wanted to read this book because I know how I felt since Covid hit, but wanted to see how it was from a Nurse who was out there working in the trenches day in and day out. Even in a normal world where there is no covid, there is no way I could be a nurse, I don't have it in my. I do admire those that can and know they get stuck with so much gross stuff, but for those that are sick they are the touchstone as the I follow this author on twitter and saw a lot of what she talks about in this book. I wanted to read this book because I know how I felt since Covid hit, but wanted to see how it was from a Nurse who was out there working in the trenches day in and day out. Even in a normal world where there is no covid, there is no way I could be a nurse, I don't have it in my. I do admire those that can and know they get stuck with so much gross stuff, but for those that are sick they are the touchstone as the person goes through their illness. I liked how the author laid out the book, each chapter was a month, so I could only read a couple of chapters at a time. I both liked and hated this book. Liked because it gave a great perspective on things, hated it because I often felt like Cassie and reading it made me all ragey thinking back about all that "we" (read everyone in the US) went through that we didn't have to. I was one who listened and stayed home, wore my mask, basically hibernated until 2 weeks after my second vax shot (and even then only went out sparsely), all the while seeing co-workers and friends live their lives like nothing was going on. This book should be mandatory reading for everyone in the country. I really fear for how things will go in the future when all the nurses and other medical professionals leave their jobs. I don't blame them one bit, they need to do what they can for their own sanity, lord knows so many people were fighting against the basic things they asked us to do to help them out.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    DNF at 38%, but not for bad reasons! Really, it just ended up redundant for me, since I have a family member in the medical field on the front lines of COVID, and I hear all this EXACT SAME stuff from them in real time! It was a relief, actually, in a weird way, to know that my loved one isn't alone, that other healthcare workers are dealing with the same stress, etc. I recommended this book to them, since they were feeling really isolated and I figured having their experiences reflected in book DNF at 38%, but not for bad reasons! Really, it just ended up redundant for me, since I have a family member in the medical field on the front lines of COVID, and I hear all this EXACT SAME stuff from them in real time! It was a relief, actually, in a weird way, to know that my loved one isn't alone, that other healthcare workers are dealing with the same stress, etc. I recommended this book to them, since they were feeling really isolated and I figured having their experiences reflected in book form would help them understand they aren't alone. This book feels absolutely important as a historical document, as a primary source from a healthcare worker on the front lines. If I ever teach a history class about COVID times, I'll be assigning this as a required text. Of course it's not a complete, perfect overview of the pandemic; It's a very personal one from the point of view of the author, and thus leaves out other frontline medical care workers to focus only on nurses. At times, it feels like it forgets that anyone *but* nurses was on the frontlines, but, eh, like I said, it's by and about a nurse so what do you expect? I also found the "scrapbook" format to be a bit choppy to read flow-wise. But as a raw primary source, this really gets a lot of important stuff down for the historical record, and I'm glad it's been published.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Krause-Chivers

    A stunning journal by an ICU nurse about being one of the first front-line nurses to treat covid patients in the SF Bay area. Her views about the pandemic are based on personal experience and they are terrifying. In fact, if you are dismissive about the chances of dying from this dreaded disease, you'll run to the nearest medical facility to get your vaccine. Cassie has seen what this thing does, and she makes no excuses or apologies. Run, hide, and get your vax. It's not over, people. And hug a A stunning journal by an ICU nurse about being one of the first front-line nurses to treat covid patients in the SF Bay area. Her views about the pandemic are based on personal experience and they are terrifying. In fact, if you are dismissive about the chances of dying from this dreaded disease, you'll run to the nearest medical facility to get your vaccine. Cassie has seen what this thing does, and she makes no excuses or apologies. Run, hide, and get your vax. It's not over, people. And hug a nurse virtually, or send flowers, chocolate or anything to the nearest icu — because they deserve to be appreciated. Cassie describes the horrendous personal tole on front line staff during the worst days, the need for ongoing therapy and self-care to get through it, and the heart-wrenching times of telling people that their loved one has died, or seeing the stroke victim come through those doors long after having had covid. Death may not scare you, but how does living in a wheelchair unable to breathe or not being able to swallow food sound to you? Who will pay those bills when you can't work from chronic fatigue? This virus has long lasting and serious side-effects. Don't play Russian roulette with your life. Stay safe. Getting vax. Stay home.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Xerlan

    I have always admired nurses. I loved this Nurse, this book, this writer, this realness. Cassandra Alexander has foregone being a hero and showing us all the self-dissected innards of her real human thoughts, feelings, challenges being truly on the front line taking care of Covid patients. I will not apologize for her truth, directness and impassioned words. She says what so many of us have been wondering, afraid to say out loud, said out loud, and have gotten in arguments with people we thought I have always admired nurses. I loved this Nurse, this book, this writer, this realness. Cassandra Alexander has foregone being a hero and showing us all the self-dissected innards of her real human thoughts, feelings, challenges being truly on the front line taking care of Covid patients. I will not apologize for her truth, directness and impassioned words. She says what so many of us have been wondering, afraid to say out loud, said out loud, and have gotten in arguments with people we thought we knew, or couldn't get the words together without spitting, crying or sounding crazy. I dare you to read this book if you have been vaccinated. I dare you to read this book if you have not been vaccinated. If you don't like science, read this book. If you love science, read this book. This book will make you think. It might even give you a little more courage. Buy this book, support a nurse. Read this book and share it with others. Support all your vaccinated healthcare people! How about we support people, all the people and quit even tolerating those that would harm any people! Read this book and never vote republican again!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Schulz

    If you have common sense, you know the pandemic is horrible, and that health care workers are under tremendous, traumatic stress, and hundreds of thousands of people are dying. One of my son's friends has a co-worker who was married and pregnant. She got Covid, it affected her brain and she needed both lungs transplanted. The baby was taken by Caesarian and survived, but the mother lost part of her memory and didn't remember being married or being pregnant. On the other hand, one of my neighbors If you have common sense, you know the pandemic is horrible, and that health care workers are under tremendous, traumatic stress, and hundreds of thousands of people are dying. One of my son's friends has a co-worker who was married and pregnant. She got Covid, it affected her brain and she needed both lungs transplanted. The baby was taken by Caesarian and survived, but the mother lost part of her memory and didn't remember being married or being pregnant. On the other hand, one of my neighbors declared she hoped she got Covid, because she wouldn't have to go to work and could have some time off!!! Argh! She probably voted for Trump, who repeatedly pooh-pooh'd this ridiculous rumor of a flu. The Republicans were probably all covered by paid health insurance plans, which they wouldn't vote for us citizens to have, and probably expected immediate entry into the best hospitals which have 'plenty of beds' available. It is amazing to read this book to get a glimpse of what Cassie and other healthcare workers have been going through. I realize that Cassie had to re-live her experiences when she wrote this book, and I appreciate her efforts in bringing this to our eyes and education.

  29. 4 out of 5

    TaniaRina

    How does one rate a book 5 stars when the author (and her co-workers/colleagues) were suffering from anxiety & depression, having their medical knowledge invalidated left & right, triggering their PTSD, worrying about those who should never have gotten COVID (by their actions of those of other people), etc.? In addition to watching patients die more horribly than usual. Without enough Personal Protection Equipment... I didn't even want to go to the hospital to have a lump in my breast removed in F How does one rate a book 5 stars when the author (and her co-workers/colleagues) were suffering from anxiety & depression, having their medical knowledge invalidated left & right, triggering their PTSD, worrying about those who should never have gotten COVID (by their actions of those of other people), etc.? In addition to watching patients die more horribly than usual. Without enough Personal Protection Equipment... I didn't even want to go to the hospital to have a lump in my breast removed in February. It was only Stage 0 and I've had many surgeries/procedures done since 1st grade. Oh, and I already had received my second vaccination. But that's how anxiety-ridden I was about COVID... [It's merely a flesh wound!]. I read this in Oct/Nov 2021, with 1.5 years of staying in most of the time (I STILL mask while taking the stairs/elevator of my apartment building and anywhere indoors). How did any of these nurses find the emotional bandwidth to last this long? And to continue!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Schaff-Stump

    Alternatively gut-wrenching, horrifying, and compassionate, Cassandra Alexander's memoir of a year in COVID ICU is a stark account of what we've allowed our country to do to our healthcare professionals in the last year. Alexander is the human face of how nurses and healthcare have been wrongly politicized. Alexander's work in the hospital is juxtaposed with national statistics, death accounts, details of COVID care, and the struggle of trying to get her own conservative family to understand the Alternatively gut-wrenching, horrifying, and compassionate, Cassandra Alexander's memoir of a year in COVID ICU is a stark account of what we've allowed our country to do to our healthcare professionals in the last year. Alexander is the human face of how nurses and healthcare have been wrongly politicized. Alexander's work in the hospital is juxtaposed with national statistics, death accounts, details of COVID care, and the struggle of trying to get her own conservative family to understand the danger they are in. The author fights with all of her conflicting emotions, until finally at the point of collapse, she addresses her PTSD and depression in therapy, partly by writing this book. This book is an important read, especially now as we move into a new phase in the pandemic. If you think you're tired, you should read this book and see why it is important to persevere, if only to do right by the nurses of the world.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.