Just as the iconic Florence Nightingale was a born nurse, so was my mother, Nicia Brooks, whose story this is. She was one from the time as a little girl, born in Czarist Russia, she nursed her "sick" dolls, at eight emptied the bloody basins of an aunt dying of tuberculosis, and at age seventeen entered the Harvard Medical School of China as a nurse probationer. There she chose to serve as a surgical nurse, and in time, proudly earned her coveted nurse's cap. I have tried to tell her story very much as she told it to me, in as close to her "voice" as I could make it. She was a five-foot-tall charmer (married to my six-foot-two-tall father!) and it was hardly surprising that so many of her patients fell in love with her. But above and beyond all else, she was a nurse in the true sense of the word.
"With determination and infectious optimism, this young woman travels a path from orphaned childhood to a nursing career in a time and place little known in nursing history. A captivating story for anyone, but more especially for all aspiring young nurses."
- Heather Whyte, R.N., Health Services Director, Vinson Hall
"A true and sweet coming-of-age account of an idealistic young Russian woman who find herself in Shanghai, and trains at the Harvard Medical School of China with a noted surgeon in a little-known episode of Harvard Medical School's history. It reminds us that the strong influence of Florence Nightingale made nursing a respected profession and a road to independence for young women in the 20th century. Charming!"
- Ann M. Myers, M.D., Harvard Medical School 1979
Barbara Brooks Wallace is the award-winning author of many books for children.