"More Tales? Couldn't the world have fared just as well with only one volume? Perhaps the world could have, but all I know is that the stories just continue to flow and the need to give them voice is just as relentless," says Patrice Rancour in the Introduction to her second volume of Pager Chronicles.
Giving voice to the stories of patients, families and caregivers is something Rancour knows a lot about. After some thirty-five years in healthcare, she has probably gathered more stories than she could share in a lifetime. In Volume Two, readers meet several new patients and hospital staff. They are treated to the return of one patient from the first book. And probably most importantly, readers are reminded that these particular stories came on a day when not just these patients lives were changed forever. September 11, 2001: a day when life as we knew it ended. As Rancour moves through her day, she longs to learn more about the haunting images on the television screens. But there is a different terrorist at work in her workplace: cancer. It, too, is changing people's lives forever.
With her words and her actions, Rancour demonstrates to her readers the constant need for members of the healthcare community "to be present, conscious and aware."
She tackles such issues as survivability, perpetual patients (those who adopt their identity as a cancer patient for their primary role in life even after they've been cured) and patients who act out inappropriately in front of nurses.Some of her stories demonstrate the importance of the arts as part of the healing process. Some bring to light the sometimes difficult ethical situations that plague a patient and his/her family.
As she did in the previous volume, Rancour includes a glossary at the book's end. This time, the words and phrases found in the glossary are underlined in the text. Also as in the previous volume, there are discussion questions at the book's end. I found the healthcare workers' questions to be both thought-provoking and pertinent for nurses and other workers in today's ever-changing healthcare settings. The questions for lay readers are timely and relevant to the healthcare climate.
As Rancour wraps up her day, she reflects on the day's events and muses
"Our scars help make us who we are, but we are more than just our scars. I think of Hemingway's notion that the world breaks everyone, and that afterward, some are strong in the broken places. I think of Helen Keller's notion that while the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."
Patrice Rancour has worked in the healthcare field for 35 years. She has been a clinician, an educator and a consultant. She holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ohio State University. As a psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialist she maintains a private practice, lectures and written many papers. She is the author of Tales From the Pager Chronicles.
Check out our interview with the author of The Pager Chronicles, Volume Two.
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