My Way: One Nurse’s Passion for End of Life
by Joy Nugent
Westwood Books Publishing LLC

"I have often described myself as being a midwife to the dying."

What are some of the unique challenges of being a nurse in hospice and palliative care? What are some strategies for nursing elderly and sick patients who are coming to terms with the onset of the end of their lives? Nugent, who was a holistic nurse for three decades, lays bare many of her experiences in this field using honesty, depth of emotion, and, above all, the truth that dignity for the patient is of paramount concern. This book is as much a meditation on palliative care nursing as it is a primer for would-be nurses specializing in end-of-life care. The author writes about the meshing of her life on a personal and professional basis, influences on her model of care, the time she spent working in Malaysia, the knowledge and skills necessary for a nursing career (specifically in geriatric care), hospice philosophies, the significance of effective communication, and that which she calls “making friends with loss, grief and death.”

Nugent’s writing style is at once familiar and exceedingly straightforward. Her many years in the field caring for those nearing their death have afforded her an exclusive opportunity to become, quite frankly, an expert, and her insightful wisdom and gentle compassion shine through from the very first page to the last. “Looking back on my practice years,” she writes, “dying patients have taught me so much.” She explains she has learned to examine her own mortality and “take time to listen to the inner world of my own soul.” Nugent’s insights are plentiful and shared freely, including a large range of anecdotal experiences. She explains that perhaps the most important skill of all is “the ability to simply be a non-judgmental friend.” The author’s strong commitment to professional, compassionate, patient-centered care is highly evident.

Return to USR Home