Episode 124: Margaret Hawke, Nurse Author


Margaret Hawke’s nursing career encompassed all aspects of elder care. She began as a staff nurse, then as a director of nursing, a nursing home administrator, and consultant. She was also a contributing writer for Nurse.com, formerly known as Nursing Spectrum, a Gannett syndicated magazine for nurses from 1992 through 2006. She wrote feature articles for all editions across the United States. After retiring, she wrote and published her first novel, Bellehaven. She is currently working on the first of what she hopes will be a mystery series. The protagonist of her upcoming book is a travel nurse.


About Bellehaven:

After her husband loses his commercial fishing boat off the Atlantic City coast, Kate Bannion must find a nursing position to support her family. Despite misgivings, she starts working at Bellehaven, a nursing home nestled deep within the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Although the former turn-of-the century estate house has fallen into disrepair, its essence speaks to Kate, and she is quickly drawn into the lives of those who reside there. The year is 1965, a time filled with anti war, civil rights, and women’s lib movements. However, there are no civil rights marches for those who live in nursing homes nor much support for women who must work. While she struggles to help improve the care at Bellehaven, tensions rise at home. Her husband’s resentment at their changing roles causes her to question their relationship. Can she bridge their emotional chasm and still stay true to what she believes is becoming a calling? This debut novel is a moving exploration of what it’s like to live a long life, how generations relate and support one another, and speaks to whom we will eventually become.

To read a review of Bellehaven by Keith on his blog, Digital Doorway, click here.

To learn more, or to purchase the paperback or Kindle edition of Bellehaven, click here.

Margaret’s Favorite Quotes:

I confess I’m a quote “junky,” so it’s hard for me to nail it down to one, so I’m sharing several that touch my heart both as a nurse and a writer.

“Nursing is an art;
And if it is to be made an art;
It requires as exclusive a devotion,
As hard a preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work;…”

—–Florence Nightingale

I love this quote because I believe it takes creativity to be a nurse and that creativity translates in all aspects of nursing and beyond..


“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul….”

—–Emily Dickinson

I can recall being a patient myself and finding that hope is something nurses give every day. It’s in the pores of good nurses!


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

—–Maya Angelou

As a director of nursing, I can remember residents in nursing facilities telling me about how good some nurses made them feel. They never talked about the meds or the treatments, only about how the nurses made them feel.


Beth Hoagland
Beth Hoagland

I thoroughly enjoyed this podcast as well as reading the book Bellehaven.  Margaret Hawke is so intuitive when she wrote this book about a nurse who goes back to work in the 1960's in the Pine Barrens and how she handles the changing times of woman going back to work, dealing with family responsibilities, and how a marriage needed to evolve.  Keith did a great job highlighting the wonderful aspects of this book but also understands what it was like growing up in the 60's.  Great podcast all around.  Thank you.

Barb Blank
Barb Blank

Very good podcast.  Having read Bellehaven myself, it was obvious that the interviewer had read and reflected on Margaret Hawke's book.  His questions brought out the many interesting themes in the book.  Margaret's answers showethe listener that she had first hand knowledge of the struggles brought about by the many changes that came about in nursing and society during the sixties she wrote about in her book.