As the healthcare debate rages on with the growth of the HMO industry, nurses quietly continue to provide the day-to-day grit and deeply-felt passion that hold the healing profession together. Within these remarkable women and men are poignant, outrageous stories drawn from the edge of life. But fear of career backlash and reprisals have made them reluctant to talk to outsiders about their experience. Now Echo Heron, New York Times bestselling author of Intensive Care, draws truths far stranger than fiction out of her colleagues--and allows the nurses to speak to us in their own words.Ranging from inspiring to tragic to outrageously funny, these narratives are real life medical dramas as experienced by nurses across the country--each practicing in a variety of specialties, including cardiac care, labor and delivery, burns, the ER--even a nurse who works in dolphin care.Tending Lives portrays a penitentiary nurse responsible for orchestrating a murderer's execution; a stroke victim who rose out of his depression when his nurses began telling him jokes; and, perhaps the most riveting testimony, the moment-by-moment memories of several nurses who served in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing--gripping accounts that give us new perspectives on the horror and heroism of that nightmare day.Pediatric nurses, psychiatric nurses, home-care nurses, intensive care nurses--all with distinct voices and unique stories to tell. Filled with both tears and laughter, and charged with the issues that afflict nursing care today, Tending Lives is a gripping, moving, inspiring book, a fitting tribute to a noble profession.