Tell Us Your Backstory with Nicki Edwards
Lucky I found my perfect career later in life because growing up I had no idea what I wanted to do. My career choices vacillated between being in the mounted police (which had nothing to do with wanting to chase criminals and everything to do with wanting to be surrounded by horses all day) to being a journalist to being a teacher. By the time I got to my final year at school I’d decided to work in human resources. I lasted six weeks of a Bachelor of Commerce and left to take up a job as a Mercedes Benz salesperson. I floated around a few jobs between school and motherhood including working at K-Mart, cleaning dishes in a motel restaurant, nannying in London, being a legal secretary and finally a pastor.
When our youngest child started school I decided I needed another career and chose nursing which in hindsight, was the career I should have done from the outset.
In my short nursing career I’ve been lucky enough to work in many different areas including aged care, general surgical, rehab, general practice nursing and even school nursing. I’m now a Critical Care Registered Nurse and work in both ICU and ED and I love it! The sicker the patient, and the more equipment required, the better my day is. (Is it bad to admit that?)
In December 2013 I received a Dymocks gift voucher for Christmas and although I’d always loved reading and have incredibly eclectic taste, I’d never tried Australian rural romance. There was a small selection at the book shop and I chose one book by Rachael Johns and another by Fiona McArthur. I was hooked from the first page of both books and a sleeping giant was awakened. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to write – combining my two loves – small country towns and medical dramas.
One of the best parts about my job is that every day I get inspiration for my latest work in progress.
Last week at work an old guy arrived in the emergency department in urinary retention. I went home and drafted the following scenario which may or may not appear in my next book:
“Who’s that guy?” Poppy asked.
Mackenzie followed her gaze. “My guess? New doctor from Sydney. We get them all the time. They come, they go. Thankfully we get to keep some of the good ones and the bad ones usually don’t last.”
The young man had short cropped black hair and wore a neatly ironed pink check shirt, slim flitting dress pants and a nervous smile. His glossy ID badge hung from a bright blue lanyard around his neck. Among the doctors and nurses in the emergency department who all wore matching navy blue scrubs, he screamed ‘just arrived’.
Poppy took a step to the left to peer around Mackenzie.
“Check his shoes,” she said.
Mackenzie followed Poppy’s gaze and snickered. “They look like snakeskin.”
“They look stupid,” Poppy replied, stifling a giggle. “Fifty bucks they’re covered in blood by the end of the shift.”
“You’re on,” Mackenzie said.
He walked toward them flashing his private-schoolboy-smile. “Can one of you nurses help me?”
“Sure,” Poppy answered sweetly.
“Someone called me down to see a patient with hematuria. Known bladder cancer.”
“That would be me,” Mackenzie replied. “I’m the nurse in charge today. Your patient is in cubicle four. Incontinent, blood in the urine in his pad. Some clots.”
The doctor fiddled with the cuffs of his shirt. “I came down to let you know you’ll need to call the urologist, not me.”
“Why?” Mackenzie asked.
“Because I’m Gen-Surg. General Surgical,” he added slowly, giving them a look that suggested they mightn’t know the medical lingo.
“Ah,” Mackenzie drawled. “That means you are urology.”
The doctor’s face crumpled like a brown paper bag. “What do you mean?”
“Here in Birrangulla gen-surg covers everything except ortho,” Mackenzie said. “Orthopedic,” she added slowly, enunciating each syllable, in case he didn’t know the lingo.
He made a funny sound. A sound somewhere between a titter and a laugh. A sound one note away from becoming a snort. “You’re joking of course.”
“Uh, uh. Definitely not joking.”
“But in Sydney —”
Mackenzie cut him off with one raised eyebrow. “This is not Sydney. In case you’ve yet to work that out.”
Poppy stifled a giggle. She was going to love working with Mackenzie.
He swallowed twice and tugged at his collar. “Yes, er, but, this guy has ureteric stents. That’s not my area of expertise. I, er. In Sydney —”
“Does it look like you’re in Sydney now?” Mackenzie indicated the small department that screamed country town emergency department louder than a woman screaming ‘bingo’ at the CWA hall.
He sighed heavily. “Where will I find cubicle six?” he asked resignedly, clearly having figured out he wasn’t going to win the fight with Mackenzie.
“Four, not six.” Mackenzie pointed.
The doctor dragged his snakeskin encased feet in the direction of the patient like Mackenzie had just told him the old guy was on active gastro precautions.
Poppy followed. This could be fun.
“He’s a little confused,” she said as she caught up with the doctor. “GCS fourteen point five if you get my drift. Hard to tell whether he’s with it or not, but then again, he is eighty-five. Oh, and he’s in urinary retention too. I’ve just bladder scanned him. Over seven hundred mills. If you like I’ll set up for a three way catheter and that way you can do a bladder washout.”
The doctor ignored her and pulled the curtain aside.
“Mr. Ormond is it?”
“Des,” the man replied.
“Des. I’m Dr. Richard Graham. One of the general surgeons.”
“You’re the urologist?” Des asked.
Des looked the doctor up and down. “Richard eh?” There was a beat, a second of silence, then, “Do they call you Dick?”
Poppy wanted to burst out laughing instead she turned away to hide the tears in her eyes as Des roared laughing at his own joke. She glanced at Richard who was stone faced. Did he not get the joke?
Richard coughed. “Er, no. It’s Richard. They call me Richard.”
My first book, Intensive Care, (book #1 in the ‘Escape the Country’ series) came out in January 2015 and since then I’ve been busy juggling full time work, four kids and writing. I released Emergency Response in October 2015 then a Christmas novella, Operation White Christmas. The third book in the series, Life Support came out in March and Critical Condition comes out in September.
The Peppercorn Project has just been released and I’m so excited about this book. It is more straight rural romance than medical romance, but it does feature a nurse who works in a GP clinic as well as some tense life and death moments. The AusRom Today review can be found here (p.s. we loved it!)
I have also written another Christmas novella, Operation Magic Mistletoe and I’m working on another single title hopefully for release early next year called A Song in Her Heart.
Thanks again for having me. I love to hear from readers, so please touch base with me via social media. I especially love your medical scenarios and look forward to using them in future books. www.nickiedwards.com.au is my website for more information about me or my books.