|Author||Helen Dore Boylston|
|Publisher||Little, Brown & Co.|
Sue Barton is the central character in a series of seven novels for adolescent girls written by Helen Dore Boylston between 1936 and 1952. The series was published by Little, Brown & Co. and saw a number of reprints following its initial publication. At present the series is in reprint by Image Cascade Publishing.
The series follows Sue Barton through her nurse's training and her work life. In Sue Barton: Student Nurse, Sue begins training as a student nurse. She meets her friends Kit and Connie in this book and also her husband-to-be, Dr Bill Barry. Sue manages to have a number of adventures as she trains, including falling down a laundry shaft and saving a feverish patient from jumping out of a window while recovering from appendix surgery. In Sue Barton: Senior Nurse, Sue finishes her training, which includes psychiatric nursing and obstetrics. She also becomes engaged to Bill at the end of this book. In publisher's note in a 1967 British edition of the book, Boylston stated that all the nursing incidents in the first two books were based on real events. The Kit, Connie and Bill characters were also based on real individuals and used their real names, while others used pseudonyms. She denied that Barton herself was an autobiographical portrait, saying "I made her up, lock, stock and barrel. She is the kind of person and the kind of nurse I wished I were, and I had a lot of fun creating her."
Sue Barton: Visiting Nurse follows Sue and her friend Kit as they venture to New York City to join the Henry Street Settlement Nurses, created by Lillian Wald. Connie gets married in this book and Bill pressures Sue to marry him. Sue refuses, wanting a chance to repay the training she received from the Settlement Houses. At one point, Sue helps an elderly patient fulfill her dream of travel by using the money for her wedding clothes.
Sue Barton: Rural Nurse follows Sue as she ultimately leaves the Visiting Nurses and returns home, only to find that a tragic accident has left Bill with the care of a disabled brother. He cannot marry Sue until things are settled. Sue sets herself up as a visiting rural nurse in the town of Springfield, New Hampshire and winds up in the middle of a typhoid outbreak. Sue finally marries Bill at the start of Sue Barton: Superintendent Nurse and then works as the head of the nursing school at the new hospital in Springfield. However, her marriage to Bill is not plain sailing and Sue questions her ability to provide a proper nursing training for her students. In Sue Barton: Neighborhood Nurse Sue suffers regrets about leaving her nursing career while she cares for her three children, each of whom has particular needs. She also helps a young teenager, Cal, to be more sociable and Cal's mother, the artist Mona Stuart, to be kinder. Sue realises that her role in her family and the wider neighborhood is also important. In Sue Barton: Staff Nurse (the final installment in the series), Sue returns to work to support her four children while her husband is in a sanatorium suffering from tuberculosis. He eventually recovers and the family is reunited once more, with the implication that Sue will return to her position as wife and mother.
List of titles
- Student Nurse (1936)
- Senior Nurse (1937)
- Visiting Nurse (1938)
- Rural Nurse (1939)
- Superintendent of Nurses (1940)
- Neighborhood Nurse (1949)
- Staff Nurse (1952)
- Boylston, Helen Dore (1967). Sue Barton- Senior Nurse. Knight Books. ISBN 0340024631.
Every single incident in the first two 'Sue's' - nursing incident, I mean - actually happened, either to me or to some of my classmates. Kit and Connie were real, and those are their real names. Same goes for Bill. Francesca and Hilda were also taken from life, though those are not their real names. Hilda, in fact, was my room-mate when I was in probe. Miss Cameron was so real she scares me yet, though I loved her dearly. She was greatly amused to find herself in a book and wrote me a charming letter about it. Sue is not me! I made her up, lock, stock and barrel. She is the kind of person and the kind of nurse I wished I were, and I had a lot of fun creating her."
- Sally Mitchell (2000). "Boylston, Helen Dore". www.novelguide.com. Retrieved 7 July 2013.