Out of Patients by Sandra Cavallo Miller

Published: August 16, 2022

University of Nevada Press

Pages: 259

Genre: Medical Fiction

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Sandra Cavallo Miller is a recently retired family physician in Phoenix who has always been a writer in her secret heart. Very little fiction has been written about women physicians, and she finds it a great challenge to show the struggles and triumphs of day-to-day practice in an entertaining and informative way. To show the human side and, at the same time, create an adventurous story. She likes to call her new genre “science-based medical adventure.” When not writing, you might find her on a horse, hiking with a dog, or exploring her latest hobby, volcanology.

After practicing medicine for more than thirty years in the sweltering suburbs of Phoenix, Dr. Norah Waters is weighing her options, and early retirement is looking better and better. At age fifty-eight, she questions whether she still needs to deal with midnight calls, cranky patients, and the financial headaches that come with running a small clinic. Fighting burnout and workplace melodrama, Norah gives herself one final year to find the fulfillment and satisfaction she remembers from the early years of her once-cherished career.

“Sometimes small steps feel like long strides.”

Being a physician is hard. Long hours, lots of illness, and constantly being torn between doing what’s right and doing what’s allowed. Norah is feeling burnt out. She is on the brink of just walking away, and she’s dealing with her personal life as an afterthought.

This was an unusual but interesting read. Admittedly, I don’t know much about being a doctor or the inner workings of the medical field.

The concept of this book was fascinating. It was interesting to see behind the curtain and learn a bit about what a family physician goes through.

The characters were all well done. I did enjoy the balance between being a medical student through someone on the verge of retirement. The mix was well done, and the balance felt fair.

I enjoyed getting to know Norah, even if she was a pessimistic character. But that seemed to add to the authenticity of the story. Norah represented women in the medical field, constantly torn between career and family.

I loved watching Norah work with George and seeing her passion play through her teaching. It was very cool seeing the character teach each other. It was a neat mix of new and old.

I found the storyline intriguing, and despite nothing crazy happening, the plot moved along at a decent pace. The situations were realistic and unusual but apparently fitting for the life of a doctor in private practice.

I enjoyed how this book showed aspects of the medical friend, both with human doctors and animal, and it felt very authentic. I found the humanity refreshing and honest. It will make you think about how you treat your care provider and perhaps give you a glimmer of appreciation for everything they deal with.

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