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ADVANCE Book Club for Nurses

It's not often you find something just for you! But that's what ADVANCE for Nurses has to offer - a book club for nurses that is so easy to join and so different from the few rare online nurse book clubs out there.

They went from tropical heaven to soggy hell in short order. While there was a state of war, in the early days of World War II, usually military nurses deployed to the Philippines didn't face tough assignments. Nursing shifts were 4-hours long and evening gowns were de rigueur.

Military nurses arrived with what they had heard from veteran nurses were the essentials - a bathing suit because it was hot, their white uniform and cap and a long gown for regular formal evening events.

As the war progressed, however, conditions deteriorated. Staff learned to make mattresses from rice straw, which were then lined up in open air wards, one ward after another. Medical supplies became harder to get and were difficult to preserve due to wet jungle conditions. Most medicines had to be stored in air-tight tins and bottles.

Soon island hospitals couldn't even spare a sheet to cover the dead. They were just buried as is, no coffin, no cloth wrappings. Whatever the deprivations, it didn't prepare these military nurses for their future 3-year imprisonment on Corregidor in Manila Bay - the only American women to be captured and imprisoned by the Japanese in World War II. By the time they were liberated, the nurses were dressed in rags, many weighed under 100 pounds and were so weak they couldn't stand up for long.

The details of their experiences are riveting, but Elizabeth M. Norman's research and telling of the tale makes this a must-read book, one you can't put down. Norman interviewed nurses across the U.S., who had survived this ordeal. She read journals, diaries, hospital records and more.

It has been said that women are stronger than men in tough conditions. This book certainly describes the strength and perseverance of these nurses because they were "nurses first and last" said Norman who has done an amazing job of making history come alive. You will feel as if you've always known Cassie, Eleanor, Red, Terry, Ruby, Dorothy and the rest of the gang. And you will realize that nurses never stop practicing their profession, wherever they are. Throughout their service to the country, these nurses remained nurses, caring for patients and providing medical care whenever and wherever needed, even in the cement tunnel prisons of Corregidor and in the jungles of Bataan where the nurse-to-patient ratio was 1 to 350.

One caution: don't start reading this book late at night. It is such a page turner you may find yourself still reading into the wee hours of the morning.

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Interview of Elizabeth Norman
From Paradise to Prison

Photo Gallery

Angels in Black & White
Elizabeth Norman shares photos she received in doing research for her book on the first women to be held prisoners of war in the Pacific Theater.

What we will be reading soon

May 5 :

Josie's Story: A Mother's Inspiring Crusade to Make Medical Care Safe

by Sorrel King

At age 18 months Josie King, hospitalized for burns and scheduled to be released, died, due to a grievous medical error.

Purchase this book from our online shop

July 7 :

Still Alice

by Lisa Genova, PhD

Written with uncanny insight, Lisa Genova's debut novel is a compelling, heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring story of a young woman's descent into Alzheimer's disease.

Purchase this book from our online shop

Sept. 1

Nursing in the Storm

By Denise Danna, DNS, RN, & Sandra Cordray, MA, MJ

This fall will mark the 5-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Read the remarkable stories of heroic nurses who worked during the storm.

Coming soon: check back here to purchase this book

Be sure to check out our complete book list suggested by our readers.


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