scorecardresearch Skip to main content

A new life for the vintage nurse romance novel

Susannah Clark, founder of Nurse Novels Publishing, claims to have the largest collection of vintage nurse romance novels.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Early inklings of a career choice

Re “Second look at steamy — but dated — take on the life of a nurse” (Page A1, May 27): No story about nurse novels would be complete without mentioning the Cherry Ames series (1943-1968). Although technically not romance novels (Wikipedia describes them as mystery novels akin to Nancy Drew), they have all the elements of a strong heroine who stands up for what is right, as described in Brooke Hauser’s article. Although not as steamy as some, the romance is there. I have my mother’s 11 volumes, complete with tattered paper covers, that I spent the 1970s reading and rereading. Although I claimed at that time that I did not want to be a nurse, some years later, I found myself considering careers I could do anywhere and thought of Cherry Ames and her diverse nursing jobs. I have proudly been a nurse for 39 years.


Karen Lourence


The writer, a registered nurse, is a 1984 graduate of the Boston University School of Nursing.

Revival of these degrading portrayals is an insult to the nurse of today

In a day and age when banning books is the norm and officials are allowed to legally create a skewed perspective of how people and cultures are viewed, it is an abomination to the profession of nursing to present a front-page article resurrecting the sexualization of nursing from the literary canon as a cause of celebration. How is it that the Globe determined the “steamy — but dated — take on the life of a nurse” newsworthy? As a registered nurse of more than 30 years, I was shocked to see the historical degradation of the nursing profession revived. We should be highlighting instead the professionalism, bravery, and elevation of a career that has long surpassed the mentality of “a young woman bagging a doctor, not becoming one; and that woman is nearly always white.”


I take no issue with a person’s personal interest or hobby, but the fact that a physician assistant is the founder of the e-book company that would profit off this portrayal of a profession of which she is not a member, and that the Globe would accord the story prime space, especially at the end of National Nurses Month, is offensive and disturbing.

I think the Globe owes an apology to “the backbone of the health care system.” I would welcome an article on my historical perspective and the leaps and bounds it took, as a 1988 nursing graduate, to command respect and counter unfair, patronizing, and biased opinion of my profession. Nursing has come a long way, baby.

Catherine Jones


Some fashion statements speak volumes

Having spent much of my childhood and adolescence during the 1960s and ’70s in the hospital with cerebral palsy, I enjoyed a reminiscent chuckle at this line from one of the nurse romance novels: “She wore a white uniform like most women wear a Givenchy gown.” Back then, student nurses at the University of Virginia donned full-skirted, calf-length uniforms (“frumpy,” but easier to run in than the sleekly tailored outfits of senior nurses). Doctors wore white coats and an unmistakable air of authority.

So I was slightly startled in the 1990s when, following further surgery, I woke to find a woman in what appeared to be daisy-emblazoned pajamas leaning over me; before I could mutter that we’d not been introduced, I found myself whisked upstairs and surrounded by other staff in colorful scrubs.


Two years ago, as a patient in the intensive care unit of a Boston hospital, bedridden on my back, I needed a urinal urgently, which the hovering attendant brought, then emptied and rinsed. When I discovered that I had just asked a doctor to do this, the scrub-garbed individual replied with a smile, “Don’t worry, we all pitch in here,” making me think that the evolution of medical staff clothing has not been a bad thing, after all.

Price Grisham