The Good Nurse – Charles Graeber Review

The Good Nurse: The True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder Charles Cullen, RN, was one of the most accomplished serial killers in recent history. For 16 years, working in multiple hospitals, he had a hand in the deaths of as many as 300 patients. Though colleagues knew or had reason to know what was going on, no one stopped him. The Good Nurse does more than tell the horrifying tale of Cullens deadly career; it paints an incredibly vivid portrait of madness and offers an excoriating look inside Americas broken medical system. Cullen is but one of the story’s many riveting characters. Others include a down-and-out detective and an Erin Brockovich-type employee who wrestles with herself and the truth about her friend and colleague, eventually joining forces to end Cullen’s killing spree. Impossible to put down, The Good Nurse ensures that listeners will never enter a hospital in the same way again.

I’ve been on this true crime binge recently. I’m not sure what draws me to the genre other than a morbid fascination to see what makes murderers tick. I listen to the murder cases and try to put the pieces together myself. It’s like a really macabre jigsaw puzzle.

The Good Nurse is a truly terrifying account of a nurse that may have killed up to 300 patients. It’s incredibly well researched and Charlie Cullen actually granted the author interviews, so I think it’s quite accurate as well.

I think the most terrifying part about this novel is that the medical system completely failed when it came to patient care. Cullen was able to continually find work as a nurse even after being fired from previous positions for things like stalking and suspicious patient deaths. In fact, the hospitals that fired him were solely worried about their reputation and how the public would perceive them. They were worried about lawsuits that may arise and didn’t contact the authorities about any of their suspicions. One hospital even gave him neutral references as long as he willingly quit the job.

Hospitals are supposed to be a sanctuary for the ill and the dying. While the idea of a killer nurse makes me extremely wary, the part that truly scares me is that the hospitals might be failing to disclose the identity of any and all killer nurses. However, when it comes to a corporation’s greed and lack of morality, I’m not surprised.

I strongly recommend everyone read this novel or listen to it on audiobook. It’s very well written, but it’ll definitely make you nervous about stepping foot into a hospital.


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