Discussion: Intensive Care

I hope you enjoyed August’s book club selection! Here are some discussion questions to get the wheels turning…

  1. What experiences earlier in your life inspired you to become a nurse?
  2. Have you ever caught a fellow nurse or doctor making a mistake? How did you handle the situation? How would you have done it differently if you could go back in time?
  3. Do you believe that “all people [are] created equal in the eyes of the medical world” (p. 66)? If so, why? If not, what experiences have you had that changed this belief?
  4. Tell us about a time when your own nursing intuition made a difference.
  5. As a nursing student, the author struggles with the idea of hastening death through the use of pain medication in high doses. Later in the book, she administers such a dose without hesitation. How do you feel about this act? Do you agree with Miss Telmack that “we’re here to help people die too” (p. 114)? Where do we draw the line between helping die and killing (if there is such a line)?
  6. Does your workplace have policies about treating/not treating patients who “abuse the system”? How do you feel about these policies?
  7. Share your experiences preparing for and taking the nursing boards.
  8. The author refers to some physicians by their first name and some as “Dr. ____”. Have you ever been on a first-name basis with a physician? Do you think relying on first names rather than titles would shift the power dynamic in health care?
  9. The author describes a clear rift between bedside nurses and administration. Do you think bedside nurses bear any responsibility for contributing to this rift? Do you experience similar tensions in your own workplace? How can we improve this relationship?
  10. Have you ever seriously considered leaving nursing? Why did you stay (or if you left, why did you leave)? Did the level of burn-out and the number of ex-nurses discussed in the book surprise you? Why or why not?

One of the great things about posting these discussion questions is that they get my own wheels turning for potential blog topics. But most importantly, I want to hear from you! Whether you answer these questions or just offer your opinion of the book overall, let me know what you think! It can be tomorrow or a year from now … I am always glad to get feedback. 🙂

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