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Nurse-written novel promotes message of tolerance

Paulette Mahurin, RN, MSN, has seen her fair share of bullying, prejudice and abuse. She grew up with a morbidly obese older brother who was ridiculed and later was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She worked as a sexual assault nurse in the second busiest ED in Los Angeles County, and many times patients told her they live in fear because of their sexual orientation.

She said her goal “is to dissolve the hatred and prejudice that still exists out there in spades.”

Mahurin’s hobby is writing, and although she never thought she’d pen a novel, a story filled her head and couldn’t be ignored. After researching Oscar Wilde’s incarceration in the 1890s for “homosexual offenses,” she was motivated to create a tale about two women who fear their love relationship will be discovered on the frontier. The result is “The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap,” a fictional tale published by Blue Palm Press and released in March.

“We learn from this moving story that what we do not understand in others is not intrinsically threatening to us,” said Holly Carlson, RN, a Tucson, Ariz., nurse who read and reviewed the book. “Our differences afford opportunity to learn and grow to be better human beings.”

Mahurin drew on Wilde’s letters written from prison, her own research and years of nursing experience. Some of her characters include a sick child, a protagonist with cancer symptoms and a self-trained doctor.“I drew on facts of what would be a date-appropriate stethoscope and administration of medications,” she said.

Mahurin took six years to write the book, an effort complicated by Lyme disease. “I had exacerbations and remissions and cardiac valve and neurological involvement,” she said. She only recently returned to work as a rural health nurse practitioner in Ojai, Calif., where she lives with her husband and three dogs.

View pictures from the event at

This month she promoted the book with a signing at the Ojai Art Center where actress Leslie Paxton read an excerpt. So far, she said, the community at large and nurses have received the book warmly. Retired charge nurse Sue Morgan, RN, a former colleague of Mahurin’s called the book moving and eye-opening and said it would be helpful to new nurses.

“It showed a lot of compassion, but it also showed you the other side, the intolerance of people, and the choices that you yourself can make whether you want to grow and have compassion or you want to stay in your little box,” Morgan said.

Mahurin has sold more than 60 copies of the book and has given away several to those who can’t afford them. Mahurin is donating a portion of the proceeds to the Santa Paula (Calif.) Animal Rescue Center, the first no-kill shelter in Ventura County. A Kindle version of the book also is available.

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By | 2020-04-15T09:42:12-04:00 July 16th, 2012|Categories: Regional, West|0 Comments

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