February 4, 2008, 12:06 pm

Inspired….and Fired!


Somehow I missed the class on jell-o making in nursing school.

Cherry Ames had to take a class on how to fix up a nice tray, but cooking was the least of my worries in college.

And what’s up with this “girls” thing?

These are soon-to-be professional women. Anyway, it’s a lie. Jell-O is not always welcomed by the patient.

Especially if it’s green.


Geeze. Today instead of signing a chart with my usual “K.McAllister, RN, a co-worker noticed I signed it “K. McAllister, .com”.




Adrienne Zurub spent 26 years of her life as a member of the Cleveland Clinic open heart/heart transplant surgery team.

A couple of weeks ago, after almost three decades of professional nursing in the premier heart surgery center, she was fired.


She wrote a book.

This book.

It’s a book about, well, Adrienne Zurub! A “half-century grrl”, registered nurse, wife, spoken-word poet, mother, stand-up comic, daughter and writer.

Through stories and vignettes, she describes people, places and events that shaped her growth in all these areas.

It’s natural that some of these vignettes would be be about her time on the prestigious heart surgery service.

And the characters that populate the cardiac surgery suites. Doctors, patients and nurses.


I had to know what ticked off Cleveland Clinic so badly that they felt they had to terminate Adrienne’s employment.

After all, this book isn’t about Cleveland Clinic, it’s about Adrienne.

Does Cleveland Clinic have a institutional ego problem or was Adrienne off-the-wall?

I decided to buy the book and judge for myself.

I’m glad I got it when I did – amazon.com sold out of it right after I ordered it!

I read it in one sitting.


Was it because she was brutally honest about the environment she worked in, the team she worked with?

The brilliant and the arrogant? The skilled and the misogynistic? The exhausted and the doormats?

Surgeons yelling at nurses? Surgeons yelling at patients? Patients yelling at surgeons?

What did Cleveland Clinic find objectionable about the fact that the heart team is comprised of unbelievably talented, dedicated doctors and nurses who are inherently human… and, rarely, all too fallible?


Maybe it was the patient stories.

Surely these are composites. Twenty-six years of surgery experience would tend to provide a lot of samples.

Was it the patient who tried to conduct the OR? The one who told a surgeon to go-to-hell by a rather extraordinary feat?

Or the ones that made my throat and eyes burn as I tried not to cry so I could finish the story?

Which ones did Cleveland Clinic disapprove of?


Then again, maybe it’s the fact that despite “magnet” status, Cleveland Clinic does not treat their nurses with the same respect and deference they show to the doctors.

A keychain here, a water bottle there, an occasional T-shirt instead of decent pay and benefits.

Or the fact that a fancy chicken dinner and a watch is considered a big treat after twenty-five years and Adrienne wasn’t buying into it.

Cleveland Clinic couldn’t possibly have been upset with that. They certainly don’t have the copyright on paying lip service to how much they value their nurses and then treating them like so much chattel.


Adrienne herself describes the book as “provocative” and it is!

And yet, it is not an “in-your-face” diatribe, it is more like a “face-to-face” look at an intelligent, funny fifty-something nurse with opinions on pretty much everything, including her time as an RN at the Cleveland Clinic.

They say nursing has no “voice”. Well, Adrienne has one. And she is paying the price for it.

I hope she laughs all the way to the bank with her writing and her stand-up comedy.

She deserves success.

Buy the book.

And if you are put off by honest, humorous, poignant, earthy, “provocative” literature with an “adult” word here and there…..

Buy it anyway!


  • Adrienne Zurub

    February 4, 2008 at 2:47 pm


    Thank you for your thoughtful review and pure enjoyment of my work!
    What a necessary and rewarding scarification living my life and putting this book together.
    I always continued forward with the stories and experiences that became part of me.

    The review is wonderful especially today! If you must know (YES, YOU MUST) I noticed some mustache hairs on both sides of my top lip! Hey, they are faint!
    Damn, being a half-century grrl is taxing some days (even though 50 is the ‘new’ 30!)

    Honestly, I cannot say more to you than my sincere thanks (people may complain of a large sucking sound!) for taking the time to explore and discover me and my stories!

    My Warmest Regards,

    Adrienne Zurub, RN,CNOR
    ‘cardiacbitch’…so what!

  • Barbara K.

    February 4, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Certainly makes me want to read her book. Thanks for the info.

  • Carol

    February 4, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    I loved your comment about noting the chart. I think we have all done that. About Adrienne Zurub….I will get the book. Good for her. I don’t think nurses are treated with respect any where, and God forbid, if we voice any oppositions we may have. I really enjoy reading your blog.

  • Marijke

    February 5, 2008 at 8:07 am

    I absolutely will buy the book now. If for no reason other than to support a fellow nurse.
    Thank you for writing about it and – well, I won’t say what I think of the institution that fired her.

  • NPs Save Lives

    February 5, 2008 at 9:41 am

    This is such a crock! God forbid a doctor write a book. It would probably be put in a bookcase front and center for all to see. I hope she laughs all the way to the bank. Screw them! I just wish I had the talent to do the same. Alas! My career hasn’t been very interesting as of yet. I’m working on it! I will definitely buy her book! We all need to support each other.

  • Markie

    February 5, 2008 at 10:26 am

    It sounds like a good read!

    Thanks for bringing it to our attention Kim, and thank you Ms Zurub for providing your insights.

    Looking forward to curling up with it once I’m settled at the new job.


  • Beth

    February 5, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Great review – I can’t wait to read this book (a) because it sounds so interesting and (b) because I would like to support Ms. Zurub’s right to tell her side of the story.

    PS: “K. McAllister, .com”…. That is freakin’ hillarious!!!

  • Mother Jones RN

    February 5, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Kim, so you were the one who got the last copy of Adrienne’s book. I tried buying it on Amazon, but I couldn’t get it because they were sold out. Oh yeah, I love how you’re signing your name these day. Cute!


  • Doctor Anonymous

    February 5, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    The one and only Sid Schwab will be visiting The Doctor Anonymous Show on February 7th, 2008 at 9pm eastern time. I invite you and your readers to take part in this unique opportunity to interact with this well known medblogger. Check out my blog for details.

  • ditzydoctor

    February 6, 2008 at 12:26 am

    dearest k. RN! 🙂

    you never fail to brighten my day 🙂
    and i hope the book goes for a 2nd print run so i can buy it! 🙂

  • Tom

    February 6, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    I look forwared to reading the book –If I can find it! Hmmm…. if you could prove that you were terminated for what appears to be exercising you right of free speech, you could be the proud owner of a hospital!

  • Lyn

    February 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Adrienne is a sharp woman who has the world by the balls. She might be feeling remorse from her termination, but, God moves us where He wants us to be. It is wonderful that she aroused that much attention that they felt fear and other for her great skill at relaying that which she endured, suffered, felt, lived, survived, and loved. It is a great honor to arouse that kind of reaction, especially with your first book… She is on her way, and, being freed from their services will only light the way to the comfort of the Oprah show… Excellent review of a fine and worthy woman…

  • Manchild

    February 7, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Hello Kim,

    I applaud and celebrate Adrienne for writing a book that should not have cost her a job that she held for over 25 years. Go figure.

    Nevertheless, the wise have always told me that whenever mortal hands close a door, God always opens another one that no man, nor doctor, can shut. I hope and pray that her book sales soar beyond her wildest expectations

    Thank you for sharing Adrienne’s inspiring story. May her courageous act of faith encourage other nurses who are living in fear of losing their jobs to find their voices and raise them.


  • Lin

    February 7, 2008 at 3:10 am

    What a great review. Makes me want to run out and buy this book right now.

  • JEMi

    February 7, 2008 at 7:21 am

    What an incredible review!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and it was an effective prompt for me to go and buy that book


  • Ed

    February 9, 2008 at 7:53 am

    OK, so I’m not a 1/2 cent woman but WAY TO GO girl! (If my wife heard that she’d half.) Sadly she’s not the only nurse to be fired for “talking”. I’d love to know the grounds they used?… Professionalism? Certainly it wasn’t a privacy violation, teh publisher didn’t even want that liability…

  • Shelley

    February 10, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    I live/work in the Cleveland area, at another large Magnet hospital. Cleveland Clinic is widely known in northeast Ohio as being a “physician’s hospital”.
    And now I’m dieing to read that book.

  • tt

    February 11, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I absolutely can’t wait to read the book. I might try to go find it today! Good for you Adrienne. I lived the CC mentality for a while and can’t wait to see what you had to say. I hope you don’t have to work another day because you will be rolling in money!! You already know you can go anywhere and work and pretty much name your price. Good for you!!

  • kylee, R.N.

    February 11, 2008 at 10:13 am

    it’s about time a nurse wrote a book about unappreciated and over worked R.N.’s are. we are treated with disrespect by dr’s and families. i have bought this book and love it

  • heather

    February 17, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Thank you to Adrienne Zurub! She was terminated because the truth hurts! As a former employee of the CCF her words speak volumes! It starts at the top with their leadership. She should be commended and praised for speaking out when others sit by and tolerate the environment.
    Buy the book! You won’t put it done until you are done!

  • Fellow CCF nurse

    February 19, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Adrienne. I spoke out about the injustice at CCF and my life was made a living hell. So much for the years of long hours and dedication to my patients and their families and the CCF. I had the good fortune to work with many smart, wonderful people and to come away from the experience having made a difference. Thank you, Adrienne, for your courage.

  • CielXX

    February 20, 2008 at 4:58 am

    As a fellow CCF survivor (as me and all the people that I work with fondly refer to ourselves) I also offer a sincere thank you, thank you, thank you to you Adrienne. I think you hit the nail on the head. Although I am not a nurse, I am an x-ray technologist, and have had my own share of being yelled at and all the great stuff that comes with being in the OR. I am definitley going to buy the book and I truely hope that you do laugh all the way to the bank!! AMEN!!!

  • The heart is more than just a pump...

    February 20, 2008 at 6:00 am

    Kudos to you for telling it like it is ! I, too, have ONLY read excerpts…and that is enough for me ! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of your book ! I will see you, in Lyndhurst.

  • […] sites. Many people get fired from jobs or in trouble with the law because of things they write. Read this review. I think you’ll be inspired to read this book or find out more about Adrienne Zurub. If you read […]

  • […] Read this review. I think you’ll be inspired to read this book or find out more about Adrienne Zurub. If you read the book yourself you may be inspired to find out more about patient advocacy or to write a book of your own. Or, like me, you may be inspired to write more about yourself online. […]

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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