The Call of Nursing: Stories from the Front Lines of Health Care

by William B. Patrick

The Call of Nursing

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Page count: 234
ISBN: 978-0-9768813-7-7 (Paperback)
Pub Date: Spring 2013
Category: Health Care, Nursing

Nominated for 2013 Foreword Book of the Year - (Education)

“The first-person testimony collected by William Patrick captures the full sweep of the profession, here and abroad, in many different institutional settings. In every role they play, these skilled and experienced nurses help make the difference between life and death.”
—Suzanne Gordon, Nursing against the Odds and coauthor of From Silence To Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public

The Call of Nursing is not a typical book about nurses. It takes us behind the curtain of silence that often hangs between us – the patients who rely on the health care system – and the women and men who form the backbone of that system, and who are entrusted with our intimate care. It lets us hear why nurses today do what they do, and it allows those nurses to show us, in their own words, what has mattered most to them in their professional careers.

Drawn from dozens of first-person interviews, The Call of Nursing offers twenty-three riveting stories from the front lines of health care. The book not only underscores a compelling call to practice, but reveals a deep personal motivation to help people in need.

Ekaterina Huelster describes a search for ethical practice that led her from Russia to the United States. Aaron Judkins talks about the rigors of training and working as a flight nurse. Cynthia Smathers describes easing the father of two young children through his final days in hospice. Christi Siedlecki explains her unwavering devotion to victims of sexual abuse.

The Call of Nursing succeeds at helping us see more clearly the kinds of challenges nurses face and accept on a routine basis, and offers a rare glimpse into the lives of women and men committed to lives of care and service.


William B. Patrick is the author of the widely-praised memoir, We Didn’t Come Here for This, and an award-winning novel, Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family, both with BOA Editions; and two books of poetry. He has also written plays for the BBC, teleplays for ABC, and feature-length screenplays. Mr. Patrick is currently on the faculty of Fairfield University, where he is a writing instructor in the MFA program.


“I was well-prepared to hate this book. From my perspective, only nurses can write honestly about the experience of nurses. But I could not have been more wrong. From the  very first page, I was captivated. Not only does William Patrick accurately portray the daily struggles of the nursing profession, he brings our profession to life.”
—Meredith Wallace Kazer PhD, CNL, APRN, A/GNP- BC, FAAN
President—Fairfield Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau
Professor & Associate Dean
Director of Graduate Programs
Fairfield University School of Nursing

“If you are a nurse, you’ll recognize yourself somewhere in here. If you aren’t a nurse yet, I guarantee this book will make you consider becoming one.”
—Gertrude Hutchinson,
Bellevue Alumnae Center for Nursing History



Fairfield Citizen - 3/2014

Nurse Zone - 3/2014

Nursing Times – 3/2014

Outserve Magazine – 6/2013

Patty’s Paperbacks – 6/2013