February, 2008 Archive

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!

Read »

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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