“The nurse left work at five o’clock. . . .”: Three-Minute Fiction at NPR

By James M. Stubenrauch, senior editor

Photo by dbdbrobot from Flickr

Here’s something AJN’s readers might be interested in: National Public Radio has been running a short-short fiction contest—stories that can be read aloud in three minutes or less—and posting some of the better ones on its Web site, here. In Round Two of the contest, there was one extra rule that writers had to observe: the story had to begin with the sentence “The nurse left work at five o’clock.” The winner will be selected by James Wood, book critic at The New Yorker, any day now.

I especially enjoyed “Working Hours” by Natalie Miller, which begins: “The nurse left work at five o’clock. My heart stopped beating at 5:01.” It’s wildly inventive writing, but I wonder, would this situation occur in hospitals today?

Also, there are some excellent stories that have nothing to do with nursing among the Round One entries (and, by the way, I notice some people have made use of the comments section to post their own short-short stories—hmmm). Happy quick-quick reading!

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2009-09-11T17:28:39+00:00 September 4th, 2009|nursing perspective|1 Comment

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  1. Peggy September 4, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I read the short story by Miller and thought it was very creative but I had to post a comment on NPR’s site shortly after I finished it. In all my years of bedside nursing, I never started or ended a shift at 5:00- either am or pm. Even though I loved the short story, that first sentence was hard for me to get past. No big deal, but a bit distracting for those of us in the know.

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