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This essay describes a special topics creative writing course designed for nursing students, and argues that creative writing strategies work to improve nurses' compositional skills. Also discussed are other potential benefits from creatively writing patients' lives, notably, the blending of arts and sciences, and the ways in which medical schools are encouraging their students to study the humanities, especially literature and creative writing. The essay includes student creative writing samples.

The essay also discusses the depiction of nurses in popular culture. M*A*S*H*, Richard Hooker’s black comedy about the antics of doctors and nurses during the Korean War, gave us “Hot Lips” Houlihan. Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, book, offered homage to the human spirit and also gave us “Big Nurse” Ratchet. “Hot Lips” Houlihan and “Big Nurse” Ratchet have two things in common: they represent the stereotypical character of the rigid, rule- and role-bound nurse, and they are well-trained professionals.


Originally published:

Young, Sandra. "Beyond "Hot Lips" And "Big Nurse": Creative Writing And Nursing." Composition Studies 33.1 (2005): 75-91.



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