Interview with memoirist Marianna Crane

Writer Marianna Crane is here today chatting
with me about her memoir, Stories from
the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers.
Marianna Crane became one of the first gerontological nurse
practitioners in the early 1980s. A nurse for more than forty years, she has
worked in hospitals, clinics, home care, and hospice settings. She writes to
educate the public about what nurses really do. Her work has appeared in
New York Times
,The Eno River
Literary Journal
Life Journal, Hospital Drive, Stories That Need to be Told: A Tulip Tree
, and  Pulse: Voices
from the Heart of Medicine
. She lives with
her husband in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Welcome, Marianna. Please tell us about
your current release.
Marianna Crane loved her job working in one
of the country’s first programs in gerontology. She felt a connection to her
patients and valued her role in their care. But when she herself was not valued
for her work, Crane decided to make a change and accepted a position
coordinating a clinic that cared for poor, underserved elderly and
which was located on the tenth floor of a Chicago Housing high-rise.
Crane knew how to be a nurse, but what she
didn’t know, and what her memoir so movingly recounts, is how much beyond her
role as a nurse practitioner was required to assist older patients. She found
herself planning a funeral, exposing relatives preying on the vulnerable, and
hauling a mattress up the elevator. Also, she learned to offer medical care in
people’s apartments even when people would not seek it —because care was needed.
Most importantly, she learned how significant teamwork is in working with this
In Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic: A Nurse
Practitioner Remembers
, Crane offers readers a compassionate and
insightful look into the world of nursing but even more so, she offers readers
stories about endearing people, stories that remind us all what it means to
Long an advocate for recognizing the
invaluable work nurses perform, Crane uses her memoir to give readers a greater
understanding of what nurses/nurse practitioners do each day, a perspective
that she hopes will increase understanding of the nursing profession.
What inspired you to write this book?
I believe we
nurses don’t acknowledge what we do. We rarely write stories about ourselves or
our patients. I have a Blog that asks nurses to be proactive and educate the
public about our jobs. I decided to write this book to tell about the
development of the role of a gerontological nurse practitioner at a time when
geriatrics was also a new entity. Unfortunately, most of the challenges I faced
caring for the elderly so many years ago still exit today.
Excerpt from Stories
from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers:
The slap of bare feet on linoleum caught my attention before a tall,
wild-haired man in boxer shorts and sleeveless undershirt appeared in the
Dropping my pen on the desk, I shoved the chair back, ready to bolt
from the room—except that he blocked the way, breathing heavily, and leaning
against the door jam. He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t carrying a weapon. He looked
so unsteady that I probably could have pushed him over with one hand. My
surging adrenalin began to subside. After all, this was a clinic.
“What can I do for you?”
What exciting story are you working on
I plan to
publish a collection of stories that tell about my visits to patients’ home
rather than treating them in a hospital or clinic.
When did you first consider yourself a
I always
wrote since I was a little girl. But it was only when some of my stories were
accepted for publication that I called myself a “writer.”
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I try not to
be pigeonholed into any structured writing behavior. This means I don’t beat
myself up if I go for a while without writing. I am always writing in my head.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I get my best
ideas during the night. I don’t have paper and pen on my night stand since I am
developing the idea. The next morning, I seem to be able to remember what it
was that was so important.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
A marine
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Writing is a wonderful catharsis. And a great way to better
know yourself—sometimes not in the best way. However, writing does tend to help
you be more aware of your surroundings and explore interpersonal dynamics
realizing that as you get older you see the same story from a different view
point. Therefore, a story can change over time.
Thanks for
joining me today, Marianna.

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