Updated April 30 2015, after the Nepal earthquake which took so many lives.
Five years after publication, The Hospital at the End of the World has found an odd place on the bookshelves of medical personnel who have served in Low Income Countries. It's part travelogue and part medical thriller. The Hospital at the End of the World is a narrative nonfiction semi-autobiographical description of a summer the author spent teaching nursing in rural Nepal at a hospital run by Christian Missionaries.
Most books available to the average American reader about Nepal are ones that describe Himalayan mountaineering by western climbers, but which do not remotely address the unique Nepali culture or the day to day lives of the people. This book does.
This book occupies an important space in the reading material a prospective global health worker might choose to prep for a trip on a similar mission. Most similar books do not devote space to the nitty gritty of how such a place runs, who they people are, and the diagnoses of the patients. The author uses his background as a manager and nursing faculty in the USA to provide a well-rounded and mature perspective on the day-to-day operations of a mission hospital from the perspective of a nurse new to global health.
The social environment and unique cultural challenges of Nepal are addressed head on, along with the author's reaction to emotionally challenging patient care situations.
With the earthquake of 2015, there will now be western nurses and doctors seeking material to orient themselves about conditions in hospitals in Nepal. As one doctor who travels to Nepal to volunteer put it "This and the other book by the same author ought to be required reading for every nurses and doc volunteering in Nepal."