In this searing, honest memoir, a Black queer emergency-room nurse works the front lines of care during COVID-19.
Britney Daniels is a Black, masculine-presenting, tattooed lesbian from a working-class background. For the last five years, she has been working as an emergency-room nurse. She began Journal of a Black Queer Nurse as a personal diary, a tool to heal from the day-to-day traumas of seeing too much and caring too much.
Hilarious, gut-wrenching, and infuriating by turns, these stories are told from the perspective of a deeply empathetic, no-nonsense young nurse, who highlights the way race, inequality, and a profit-driven healthcare system make the hospital a place where systemic racism is lived.
Whether it is giving one’s own clothes to a homeless patient, sticking up for patients of color in the face of indifference from white doctors and nurses, or nursing one’s own back pain accrued from transporting too many bodies as the morgues overflowed during the pandemic, Journal of a Black Queer Nurse reveals the ways in which care is much more than treating a physical body and how the commitment to real care—care that involves listening to and understanding patients in a deeper sense—demands nurses, especially nurses of color, must also be warriors.
Chapter One: Where I Began
Chapter Two: Stepping Out for the First Time
Chapter Three: Not Too Far
Chapter Four: White Supremacy and Palm Trees
Chapter Five: “Can I Have a White Nurse?”
Chapter Six: Million Dollar Dilapidation
Chapter Seven: “She’s Not Crazy”
Chapter Eight: “Is That a Roach?”
Chapter Nine: The Reaper
Chapter Ten: “I Freed the Slaves”
“Britney Daniels' voice is one of the most important you will hear all year. This book is not only a testament to the resilience of our nation's hardest-working lifesavers but also a reminder of the essentiality of centering Black queer voices in our national discourse. Britney's greatest gift is the reminder that positivity, perseverance, empathy, and com-passion always prevail over the forces that try to divide and oppress, and that love is the universal truth that will lead each of us to find happiness.” —Jeremy Blacklow, former Director of Entertainment, GLAAD
“Journal of a Black Queer Nurse reminds readers of the importance of centering the voices of Black women, and specifically those of Black queer women, as we share stories about the challenges we must work together to overcome. Equal parts personal narrative and sharing stories about the medical-industrial complex, Britney’s work highlights the power of love, the importance of inclusion, and the opportunities each of us has to interrogate and push past limiting, socially constructed boundaries that are designed to prevent us from bearing witness, finding comfort in who we are and how we move through the world, and telling our stories. I’m thankful for this offering and for Britney’s sharing of her gifts.” —Dr. David J. Johns, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition
"There is no doubt that Journal of A Black Queer Nurse is timely on at least two fronts: reflecting on the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare profession, while illuminating the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality on a healthcare professional. However, this book is not only of import to nurses or to queer people because it so wonderfully explores a most universal story of what it is to be human in unprecedented times.” —Dr. Sharon L. Moore
"Each vignette is processed down to its core elements, like journal entries; Daniels makes mention of the actual journals she kept while working during this time period, which is where the material for this book came from. Daniels has efficiently streamlined her writing, and these chapters tell many different stories, like memories, in little, distilled moments. From the hospital in Texas, where they are so short-staffed that Daniels is made to work twelve-hour shifts without a break, to the intoxicated and belligerent patients in Southern California who yell racial slurs at her, Daniels’ is consistently engaging, but also thoughtful. She constantly asks, would this have happened to me if I was not a Black woman? and often, the answer is no. This question animates the whole book, and as we learn more about her experiences, we see how the entire health system is peppered with inequity..."—Joanna Acevedo, Foglifter Press