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Nora Was a Nurse

by Peggy Gaddis (1953)
Nora Was a Nurse

She thought of herself only as a dedicated nurse until she learned she was also a woman.

“Your reasons for coming to Shellville are your own affair and I have no desire to know them,” Nurse Nora Courtney told the new young doctor — but she knew she lied both to him and to herself. Everything about Doctor Owen Baird interested her for she knew she was hopelessly and passionately in love with him.

And when beautiful Lillian Halstead set her cap for the young doctor, Nora realized she must make him see her as a desirable woman as well as an efficient nurse.

How Nora achieved her purpose and what these three handsome young people made of their lives is thrilling reading, growing to an unexpected and satisfying climax.

Oh, man! They gave away the ending!

One of the things I love about career romance fiction is that you never know how things are going to turn out.

  • Will Nurse Nora find fulfillment in her health services career?

  • Will she listen to her heart and be swept up in a whirlwind workplace romance with Dr. Baird that may or may not violate the terms and conditions of her employment and certainly runs contrary to the latest guidelines on sexual harassment laid out by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?

  • Will Dr. Baird be able to see through the superficial facade of Lillian Halstead’s beauty and see the woman of sub-standard occupational yield underneath? (Desirable and efficient. That’s the killer combination, ladies.)

Normally, there would be no possible way for you to know the answers to those questions until the very last pages of the book, and it is that delicious unpredictability that elevates career romance fiction above other so-called literary works.

So, how can this book claim to “grow to an unexpected and satisfying climax” [emphasis mine] when the synposis clearly states that Nurse Nora “achieve[s] her purpose” in the end? Did they not have SPOILER ALERTs in 1953?

As for…

She thought of herself only as a dedicated nurse until she learned she was also a woman.

…I would have thought the bust was a dead giveaway. Did she not notice that her stethoscope didn’t hang straight?

Editor’s Note: The scanned image is an accurate representation of the book cover itself. If the type appears to be slightly askew, that’s because it is. It is not the fault of the scanning hardware or its operator (this time).

North Country Nurse

by Robert Ackworth (1965)
North Country Nurse

Lovely young Mary Loring, her nurse’s training behind her, came home to the north country for two reasons–one, to help the people in this vast wilderness land; the other, locked in her heart, to work with young Dr. Ken Shannon who was coming back here to start his practice.

But when Ken stepped off the plane, beside him was a beautiful, titian-haired bride. Now Mary wanted only to escape — from this man she could never have, from her beloved north country that would always remind her of him.

It took a startling confession from Ken, and a danger-fulled mercy flight with a devil-may-care pilot named Eddie Garrett, to show Mary that she didn’t have to run away–that a girl doesn’t always know the secrets of her own heart…

There’s a lot to love about this book. First, there’s the cover, with Nurse Mary Loring’s crisp white uniform seemingly unaffected by the ash and soot spewing out of the blazing inferno behind her.

Second, the blurb on the back, which gets extra points for the use of the term “titian-haired bride.” (“Titian,” by the way, means “bright golden auburn.” I had to look it up. And let me tell you, it’s a sad day when can’t read the blurb on the back of a romance novel without having to break out the OED.)

But the absolute best thing about this story of a woman who has dedicated her entire life to improving the health and well-being of others is that deep within its nicotine-stained pages is a full-page foldout advertisement for cancer sticks.

True Cigarette Ad: Doesn't It All Add Up To True?

North Side Nurse

by Lucy Agnes Hancock (1941)
North Side Nurse

“I think you’re a very foolish and stubborn girl, “Deborah,” Mrs. Hackett said as she prepared to bid her daughter goodbye. “And why you should wish to keep on messing around with a lot of poor foreign children is a mystery to me. I can’t think how you got that way in the first place. Even though your grandfather Bradley was a surgeon, surely that fact is no reason for devoting your life to nursing. Come on, darling. Christmas is over and you did your full duty by every sick child in your district. The worst three months of winter are still to come. I’ll stay another day. Let’s get away from this bitter northern climate. We’ll have fun down south and you may meet the right man — one often does, you know. I always say Florida is the most romantic spot in the world, and I should know.”

Northwest Nurse

by Arlene Fitzgerald (1964)
Northwest Nurse

Tossed on the winds of emotion.

A torrent of excitement race through her, as his lips met hers in a firm, gentle kiss.

Holly Doran, R.N., had come to Oregon on a temporary assignment, but she found something much more permanent there — a town of people she cared about, and a wonderful young doctor named Key Catrell.

There was only one problem — a handsome psychiatrist back in San Francisco who expected her to return to him, and with good reason — he was her fiance.


by Peggy Anderson (1978)

Doctors don’t keep you alive. I do.

Sometimes I help people live.
Sometimes I help them die.
Always, I help them. I’m a nurse.

The shocking, inspiring, surprise bestseller of the year. Nurse is the story of eight weeks in the life of a real nurse in a large urban hospital. It is all here: the joy and pain, the death and drama, the mistakes, successes and secrets. Nurse reads like a novel, but sticks in the memory like a real experience. Because it is.