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Book Review: Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self by Lois Hoitenga Roelofs

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Caring Lessons: A Nursing Professor’s Journey of Faith and Self comes to life through Lois Roelofs’ sharp writing skills, where page after page she lets us into her life and shares thoughts about her own desires, fears, and unhappiness.

Unlike so many women who let life manage their destiny, Lois was faithful to her heart. She continually took steps to change what wasn’t working, even going back to school again and again to further her career, while raising a family. The gift Caring Lessons brings to the reader is the way Lois’ life of love and caring, lived fully, is all wrapped up for us to admire and emulate.

Relevant for those of us in career transition, restless at mid-life, and seeking courage to change, Roelofs honest depiction of the joys and struggles of her career serve as powerful motivation to others. Those in the medical profession will be even more convinced of the valor and strength of the women and men who choose a career in nursing.

Above all, Caring Lessons honors a career devoted to service and commitment to help others. Through her careful depiction of patients, this book raises awareness of mental illness, which can limit choices in life if not recognized and treated by skilled practitioners, such as Lois. She’d often sit in the hospital cafeteria and strike up a casual conversation with a patient; such was the extent of her own sense of caring for troubled people.

The author’s life passion was built day after day after day in her long career. Her hard work brought her up from a young nurse to clinical instructor, to classroom teaching, gaining advanced degrees, and rising in academia to acting department chair and Assistant Dean. Lois is now Professor Emerita of Nursing at Trinity Christian College in the Chicago area. And it wasn’t easy, as she tells us:

“So, unlike Florence Nightingale, who as early as age seven felt called by God to become a nurse, I, at eighteen, only wanted to run away from this hot, smelly, suffering place.”

Through the help of her morning prayers to God, from the aching chambers of her heart, she survived and thrived beyond all measure.

Caring Lessons is an honest, enlightening memoir that speaks volumes about a woman’s choices in career, family, and enrichment. It serves as an excellent example of strong memoir writing, and as a resource for people in transition, whether in nursing or any role. The choices, sacrifices, and victory over constraints will have you cheering for Lois, her supportive husband and her many friends.

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