Member Reviews

A memoir looking at one woman’s journey through 60 years of nursing 
This book was not quite what I was expecting, more a telling of Barbara’s jobs and journey than a book looking at the patients that she treated and I think that made me struggle with this book a bit. It was truly fascinating to see how things changed over 60 years and all the different nursing roles that are and or have been available and how they fit into the machine that is a hospital. At the same time however this made me struggle with the book, I think because I’m not a healthcare professional or planning to go down that path, I didn’t fully connect with everything and that really impacted on my enjoyment of the book but the one thing that really shone through and kept me reading was her dedication to her patients, they came first and to me that’s so important
I would recommend this book to those who have an interest in the changes in nursing over the years, that may be working or thinking of working in the medical field as something that will let you see things from a different side in a book so different to others that you read

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Excellent autobiography about this nurse's life and career! She had so many different jobs and terrible experiences, I don't know how she continued to stick it out in nursing for so long! As a nurse myself it is refreshing to see that other side, where she tells the truth about coworkers having it out for you or being difficult to work with, as well as physicians. Although it seems the relationship with doctors has improved a great deal over the years. Overall terrific, interesting read for anyone in healthcare, or interested in what goes on behind the scenes.

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This is a story about a woman and her nursing career. The book follows Barbara from nursing school through her long career. At eighteen she was accepted into the School of Nursing at Bellevue Hospital, class of 1962. Barbara had two enlistments in the Army Nurse Corps Reserves. She was an emergency and critical care nurse and oncology nurse. She went to law school and started to do consultation work.

She wrote this book in a first person narrative. It felt like we were sitting down and she is telling me her experiences as a nursing student and as a professional nurse. I enjoyed learning what it is like to be a nurse.

This book is good for people that enjoy medicine and nursing.

Thank you NetGalley and Indigo River Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Read and reviewed in exchange for a free copy from NetGalley. Although I enjoy books of this genre, I struggled to get into this, and found it quite slow going, meaning eventually I didn't finish it.

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In this fascinating autobiography, Prisceaux takes readers along on her life story while also introducing them to the development and modernization of the nursing profession and its evolution since the mid-twentieth century. Following Prisceaux across the country and back again, readers explore the highs and lows of Prisceaux’s personal and professional lives and her triumphs and struggles along the way. Readers can take heart, for Prisceaux’s path is not as straight and clearly defined as the world wants people to think, so Prisceaux’s autobiography and memoir is realistic, honest, and relatable. Prisceaux populates her memoir with fascinating and real personalities, adding to the relatable quality and genuine realism of the memoir. By describing the challenges of nursing and the evolution of the profession, readers explore Prisceaux’s perspective on the changes and complications within the nursing profession as well as the highs and the lows of the day-to-day moments, all of which adds to the openness and honesty found across this autobiography. Ultimately, Prisceaux’s biography is a fascinatingly personal deep dive into the nursing profession, compelling in its honesty and realism, and written in a refreshing, clean, and straightforward style.

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Barbara Elle Prisceaux followed her dream to become a nurse. Over the following 60 years, she worked in the Army Nurse Corp Reserves, Emergency Care, Oncology Care. The effects of this career choice on her professional and personal life are honestly told, making this an excellent read.

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A Splendid Gift by Barbara Elle Prisceaux takes us through the nursing career of the author. I have been fascinated with nurses since I read the Cherry Ames series as a girl. I found the story to be easy to read. The author writes like she is talking to friends. We get to follow her from nursing school through her long career. I am amazed at what she accomplished. She also had a husband and three kids. I was surprised to learn that she attended law school which is no easy feat. She certainly had a long career. It was interesting to see how medicine and nursing changed from when she entered the profession to when she retired. The author tells the good and the bad of her working life and her home life. A Splendid Gift is a book that can be read by those in the medical field and readers like me who are interested in the nursing profession.

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I really enjoyed getting to know Barbara Elle Prisceaux in this memoir. It was really interesting to learn about these nursing tales. It kept me engaged and I enjoyed that Barbara Elle Prisceaux was telling the story. I enjoyed reading this and thought it worked overall.

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I usually enjoy reading memoirs by doctors and nurses because I am very curious as to what attracted them to the art of medicine, what kept them there or, in some cases, caused them to leave.

With that in mind, I began reading A Splendid Gift with hopes that I would get an insight into how nursing had changed from the 1960s to now. Instead, I was treated to a story that amounted to a “Cliff’s Notes” of the author’s life.

Never did I get a real understanding of nursing and her interactions with her patients. Instead, in my view the story revolved around too many non-medical situations, such as her getting a master’s degree in arts, going to law school, starting a side-hustle, her marriages, and her moving from job to job. At times, the book felt superficial.

I remember in school, even in college programming classes, teachers would impress upon their charges three simple words “Compare and Contrast” to understand what was being taught. In this case, it might have been more interesting had the author focused on some of the differences she saw with patient care through the years by demonstrating it with actual patients she worked with—what was the same, what was different, how it might further change.

This book may be of interest to someone contemplating a career in nursing, though honestly there are probably better books on the subject.


[Thank you to NetGalley and the author for the advanced ebook copy in exchange for my honest and objective opinion which I have given here.]

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I am not a nurse but I've always been interested in the medical field. This is the story of a woman, or should I say a super woman, who spent six decades in the field. The things she accomplished (she even went to law school!) are nothing short of amazing - and at the same time was raising a family. Her accomplishments and her commitment to her field and family are almost unbelievable. She details everything she has done and yet there is no boasting in her words. She is truly a woman ahead of her times. A very inspirational story. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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The story of a life well lived and the benefit to others.
As one who became an RN in 1968, I definitely remember the good and bad of the years that ensued. The enclave of nurses I worked with in those early days did not have the kind of repressive marital experiences that the author suffered (we ALL related to and practiced the philosophy that the children of a marriage belonged to BOTH parents to care for as we continued to work off shift). I finally left nursing about the the time that I overheard a few new nurses saying things like "I didn't spend years in college just to clean up messes", and "I went into nursing for the money", and the worst was "I want to go back and get an advance practice degree so I don't have to work off shifts". They were not joking and didn't know that there was anyone to overhear.
I requested and received an EARC from Indigo River Publishing via NetGalley. Thank you

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*** Thank you Barbara Elle Prisceaux, Indigo River Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC ***
Release Date: 09.12.2023

I have been a Registered Nurse since 2017 and I am burned out. I am burned out even after job hopping. My soul is crushed and tired after spending the last few years dealing with the things I have seen. Reading “A Splendid Gift” brought back some of the hope that I felt as a new grad ready to take on the nursing world. Prisceaux has seen and done it all in the last sixty years. She went from ER, essentially every type of inpatient unit, military and even roles away from bedside. Priscreaux’s highs and lows are those I still feel to this day as a nurse. The chapter that really stuck with me “Finally Finding my Niche” is something I still am hopeful to one day find. I joke with my coworkers I’ve got 2-3 career changes before I throw in the towel. This book is perfect for any health care worker, especially a nurse – regardless of how many years they’ve been in practice. Thank you for letting read this ARC.

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Synopsis (from Netgalley, the provider of the book for me to review.)
A Splendid Gift: Celebrating 60 Years in Nursing tells the story of Barbara Elle Prisceaux, who turned a childhood dream into an extraordinary career.

As a young girl in Yonkers, New York, Barbara was drawn to the nurses walking from their residence at the end of her block to the hospital several streets away. She decided then and there that she would become a nurse too by age fifteen, when her family was living in West Lawn Pennsylvania, she accepted a part-time nurse’s aide position at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Reading, and she bused twenty miles each way after school, and sometimes, on weekends. At eighteen, she was accepted into the School of Nursing at Bellevue Hospital, Class of 1962.

Including two enlistments in the Army Nurse Corps Reserves, Barbara spent most of her career on the West Coast. In 2003, she moved from California to Central Florida and changed her patient care focus from Emergency and Critical Care to Oncology Nursing. Combining her nursing career with her love of writing, Barbara developed and coordinated educational programs in Critical Care; designed legal defence protocols for Renal Transplant litigations; cofounded Paper Chasers Medical-Legal Consultations; edited documents for Northern California District Attorneys Association, and as an Oncology Certified Nurse in Florida, specializing in clinical research and advocacy for oncology patients and their families.

Throughout her six-decade career, Barbara met challenge after challenge head-on, from ever-changing technology to hospital politics. When she retired at the age of seventy-seven, she was working two 12-hour shifts each week, providing hands-on care to patients in a medical center eighty miles from her home.

Nursing has changed SO MUCH – COVID has broken the health care system, people call in with a cough saying that they cannot work, knowing fully well that they get three days off PAID, and they cannot be fired as they are in a union. (Same with RNAs, RPNs, PAs, PSW, etc. etc. and all the TLAs (three-letter acronyms) that fall into the healthcare system!)
My Aunt trained in a hospital like they used to (Sick Kid’s in Toronto) and then worked in Broken Hill, Australia and finally landed in Hollywood, CA, where she met my uncle and worked until they had children. She kept her licence intact and ended up (once the boys were in grade school) working in the California Penal system…oh, she, too, could write a book, especially when it came to dealing with the North Ridge Earthquake. #butIdigress

Barbara had a varied and extensive career going from a public hospital (Bellevue) to working for legal organizations. Old school nurses and their care are a dying breed! Their dedication and actually loving and caring for their patients (and maybe meeting a cute doctor to marry along the way) is gone. Most nurses I find are there for the paycheck, are burned out (beyond burned out) from COVID and from working with the aging baby boomers. And the PAPERWORK…I know the charge nurse at my dad’s memory-care nursing home and she is buried in and spends (still!) trying to fill shifts with staff who have not “pulled a sickie” on a beautiful day…she rarely sees patients anymore. And they have ANOTHER COVID outbreak … three and a half years since it first appeared in Canada.

I LOVED this book – but I love medical shows and would love a movie or series based on her life and I will recommend this book to patrons, family, friends, and book clubs alike. I am also ordering a copy of the book for my RN aunt’s 87th birthday when it comes out this autumn. READ. THIS. BOOK.
#shortbutsweetreviews (okay, this one was uncharacteristically long!

She does not seem to have any social media but she does have a website:

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