Harper Wave Books: Unexpected Perspectives on Mind, Body, and Soul

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Book Title and Author Byline

How to Be a Patient

The Essential Guide to Navigating the World of Modern Medicine

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Product Description and Author Information

About the Book

From registered nurse and public health advocate Sana Goldberg, RN, a timely, accessible, and comprehensive handbook to navigating common medical situations. From the routine to the unexpected, How to Be a Patient is your ultimate guide to better healthcare.

Did you know that patients have statistically better outcomes when their surgeon is female? That you can mark-up an informed consent sheet before you sign it, or get second opinions on CTs and MRIs? That there’s a blue book for healthcare procedures, or an algorithm to decide between ER, Urgent Care, and waiting-until-Monday?

In How to Be a Patient, nurse and public health advocate Sana Goldberg walks readers through the complicated and uncertain medical landscape, illuminating a path to better care.

Warm and disarmingly honest, Goldberg’s advice is as expert as it is accessible. In the face of an epidemic of brusque, impersonal care she empowers readers with the information and tools to come to good decisions with their providers and sidestep the challenging realities of modern medicine.

With sections like When All is Well, When It’s An Emergency, When It’s Your Person, and When You Have to Stand Up to the Industry, along with appendices to help track family history, avoid pointless medical tests, and choose when and where to undergo a procedure, How to Be a Patient is an invaluable and essential guide for a new generation of patients.

About the Author

Sana Goldberg

Photo of Sana Goldberg

Sana Goldberg, RN, liaises between academia and clinical practice. She has worked with a diversity of patients across settings from the perspective of researcher, social worker, nurse, and provider. An outspoken public health advocate, she’s presented at World Congress, TEDx Harvard, The Society for Neuroscience, and OPHA, with work published in Neuropharmacology, The European Journal of Neuroscience, and forthcoming in the Atlantic. She is the recipient of the Diamond Alumni Award, a member of the International Honor Society of Nursing, and the founder of Nightingale, a movement of story, art, and activism for health equity. She practices in New Haven, CT, while pursuing graduate studies at Yale.


How to Be a Patient imparts little-known strategies for receiving optimal care and attention… [and] Goldberg’s adeptness at storytelling brings a personal tone to a system that often seems to snub individual experience.” —Reediana

How to Be a Patient should be required reading for patients and health care providers alike. With keen attention the systemic failures and unconscious biases that make the medical system a minefield for so many patients, Goldberg offers eminently useful advice for navigating it. This book will leave you with answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask.” —Maya Dusenbery, author of Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick

“An invaluable guidebook for patients and their loved ones: in short, all of us. Goldberg says above all, patients need agency--asking questions, expecting to be heard, educating themselves, and sometimes saying no--to get the care we all deserve.” —Theresa Brown, RN, New York Times bestselling author of The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives.

“Easy to read and informative. How to Be a Patient offers a solid, straightforward resource for getting quality health care.” —Publishers Weekly

“With easily digestible truths and tools…[and] clear, swiftly delivered guidance…Goldberg ably navigates the contemporary pathways of health self-advocacy and empowers readers…. A plainspoken, universally applicable medical reference guide inspiring patient agency.” —Kirkus Reviews

‘How to Be a Patient is an excellent guide for health care professionals and novices alike to maximize their chances of obtaining the best medical care possible. Whether you’re healthy or experiencing chronic medical problems, young or old, male or female, there’s a chapter for you. Reading the book and following the recommendations will provide the knowledge, confidence, and preparation required to ensure you receive the health care you deserve. ‘ —Robert Pearl, MD, bestselling author of Mistreated