Wardlife: The Apprenticeship of a Young Writer as a Hospital Clerk
For nine years Andrew Steinmetz worked as a ward clerk in the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department of a major hospital. Wardlife is a series of riveting prose vignettes—intensely observed moments drawn from diaries kept during the nine years the author spent as a ward clerk. With character sketches, dialogues, and brief meditations on subjects ranging from the language of poetry to the language of medicine, Wardlife records the hospital experience—the pathos and pain, the humour and horror—of life on the wards. Andrew Steinmetz conveys a profound and deeply sympathetic understanding of this unique environment that few other books have managed to do. Steinmetz is an astute observer who doesn't miss much: the feel of instruments, the tone of a "locating girl's" voice calling code blue, the oddly triumphant grieving of a family watching and singing at a dying father's bedside, and the complications of various hospital subcultures. He knows how medicine can drain our humanity, but he eloquently seeks a balance between medicalizing the personal and personalizing the medical.
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