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Former military nurse writes poetry book to inspire healthcare workers

San Diego author Susan Farese served as a Navy and Army nurse.

SAN DIEGO — The stress of the pandemic inspired a former military nurse to write a book of poems for healthcare workers. In this Zevely Zone, I went to Carmel Valley to meet a woman of many talents. 

Susan Farese travelled the world helping people as a nurse. Susan was a nurse in the Navy for three years and then transferred to the Army Nurse Corp. Susan showed me pictures of her service, but her most vivid memories pour out of her with poems.

Credit: Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring

"This is Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring," said Susan showing me her book. 

The San Diego author is releasing her collection of freeform poetry with over 40 poems that shares both her professional and personal thoughts and feelings. Susan is a strong advocate of the creative use of poetry to express the wonderment, frustration, dedication, and the love of nurses for their profession and their patients.

Credit: Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring

"Nursing is an incredibly enriching yet stressful profession and besides being a science, it is truly an art. This second edition of Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring is dedicated to all nurses - past, present, and future. It is a celebration of nursing and a tribute to nurses, especially during this unexpected, unprecedented pandemic. Covid-19 took its toll on nurses during 2020 and hopefully the impact of stress and burnout will be lessened with time and the arts. Poetry can be a therapeutic and cathartic tool for nurses and other caring professions to deal with the angst, stressors or joys that accompany the profession," said Susan.

Credit: Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring

Susan began writing poetry unexpectedly in 1991. Her grandmother, Ann, died at the age of 60. "She had early Alzheimer's when nobody knew what it was," said Susan bottled her grief for twenty years until one night when she grabbed a journal and started writing. 

"Opened it, sat on the couch and three-page poem poured out of me that rhymed and was in sequence from childhood to twenty years later as a nurse reflecting on this," said Susan.

That poem was so therapeutic for Susan, she started sharing it publicly. 

"Every time I read it people would start lining up, tissues would be around, and people would want to talk about their aunt, their grandmother or whoever who suffered from Alzheimer's or dementia and so I knew that poem struck a lot of hearts," said Susan. 

"Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring" is dedicated to all nurses who may have struggled with burnout or depression during 2020. 

"I just want them to know that poetry can be very cathartic and therapeutic to get their words out," said Susan.  

Credit: Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring

Susan is no longer a practicing nurse but remembers the night shifts like they were yesterday. 

One poem reads in part, "I yearn for these nights when the nature of nursing facilitates the connection of lives."

Susan hopes her poetry can inspire nurses. 

"I am an advocate for nurses. I care about nurses. Nursing is a calling," she said. "We are seeing the magic of poetry. It feels good, does it feel good to you? Did it get you in the heart? That's the key."

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Susan invites you to share the passion and the traditions of nursing, and to explore the heart of the professional practice of nursing. She is a native of New Jersey who received her Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree from Widener University and Master of Science (MSN) from Seton Hall University. Susan is now a consultant, entrepreneur, and owner of SJF Communications in San Diego.

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Her book "Poetic Expressions in Nursing: Sharing the Caring" is available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook. For more information click here.