'The Year of the Intern' by Robin Cook
The Year of the Intern
By Robin Cook

I read this novel after I finished nursing school and was finally working as an RN. I was in love with the interns and thought if I read this and figured out how their minds work, maybe one of them would love me back. Instead I wound up being reminded what a challenge it is to keep your ethics as a human being while working as a healthcare professional. For me laughter became the key.

When I was at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, I began taking improv classes at a theater called Second City. It was a lot like storytelling in the old neighborhood, except eventually I got paid for it. I kept my job at the hospital and did shows at night. Whenever I could, I'd bring the whole cast to the hospital and we'd do the act in a corridor.

One night a patient named Rudy told me, "You should go out to California and audition for stuff." I said, "Oh, I'd never do that. I'd be humiliated. I'd fail. Then I'd have to come back and explain it to everybody." Rudy said, "I'm at the end of my life. I only have a few weeks to live, and my biggest regret is that I feared failure. Promise me that when I'm gone, you'll go and fail many times in California."

We shook hands on it.