The Comfort Garden is Laurie Barkin's account of the five years she worked as a psychiatric nurse on the surgical/trauma unit at San Francisco General Hospital. Told against the backdrop of patients who survived motor vehicle accidents, falls, fires, fists, bullets, and knives, The Comfort Garden is a metaphor for the emotional support caregivers need. The story illuminates the issues of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma that may develop in caregivers when exposure to tragedy becomes routine.
The Comfort Garden will appeal to health care professionals, firefighters, police, war veterans, social workers, journalists, students, and anyone whose life is touched by trauma.
"The Comfort Garden reveals the real world of human-to-human caring at its highest level." Jean Watson, RN, PhD, author of Human Caring Science: A Theory of Nursing
"Laurie is that rare health professional with a gift for narrative and a story to tell. This is an important book for any health care worker, but especially for those of us who consider ourselves traumatic stress specialists. It reinforces the values and the spirit that brought us into the field. And it reminds us of the obstacles we face every day: human cruelty, social injustice, dwindling resources. Read this. You'll be better for it." Frank M Ochberg MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University
Laurie Barkin "sensitively documents the process of vicarious trauma how caregivers like herself internalize their patients trauma." San Francisco Chronicle
"In an age when hospitals have been turning to quicker-acting medications, faster discharges, and fewer deep and meaningful conversations with patients, Laurie Barkin takes the opposite position. She urges us to make the time to use our knowledge of psychodynamic psychotherapy to help traumatized people early in the course of their distress." Lenore Terr MD, psychiatrist, author of Too Scared to Cry
"Whenever we walk into a hospital or a doctor's office we often assume that the patients are somehow broken, sick or frightened and that the nurses and doctors are whole, healthy and brave. In stories that prove these assumptions false, Laurie Barkin shows us how permeable the line actually is between the cared for and the caregiver." Cortney Davis, author of The Heart's Truth: Essays on the Art of Nursing "