Dispatches from the Scarred Heart of Emergency Response

The Nurse Keith Show

Dispatches from the Scarred Heart of Emergency Response

November 10, 2023

Dispatches from the Scarred Heart of Emergency Response

On episode 447 of The Nurse Keith Show nursing and healthcare career podcast, Keith interviews Jeremy Norton, an author and firefighter who has served the diverse communities of Minneapolis since the year 2000. In the course of their conversation, Keith and Jeremy discuss his new book, Trauma Sponges: Dispatches from the Scarred Heart of Emergency Response, which is a remarkable and brilliantly written memoir that examines the toll that the work of emergency response takes on those who embrace such a career.

In Trauma Sponges, Norton also decries the sexism, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and toxic masculinity of the “old guard” of the firefighting world. He also describes in excruciating detail the death, suffering, pain, and heartbreak that he and his colleagues witness on a daily basis as they respond to the homes and streets of Minneapolis when citizens who dial 911 are having what is often the worst days of their lives amidst what Norton calls the “twin malignancies” of denial and despair.

Norton also recounts his role in the attempt to resuscitate George Floyd following his brutal treatment by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. He shares his observations of the societal patterns that continue to haunt our country and the Black men who are all too often on the receiving end of egregious, and often deadly, treatment at the hands of the police.

A proud native of Washington, D.C., Jeremy Norton has lived in the Colorado mountains, the Tennessee mountains, and the Minnesota not-mountains. He taught middle- and high-school literature and has also taught at Minneapolis’ Loft Literary Center. He has a strong stomach and a grim, capacious sense of humor.

Connect with Jeremy Norton:


Did you know that you can now earn CEUs from listening to podcasts? That’s right — over at, they’re building a library of nursing podcasts offering continuing education credits, including episodes of The Nurse Keith Show! So just head over to, log into the portal, select Nurse Keith (or any other Content Creator) from the Content Creator dropdown, and get CEs for any content on the platform!

Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, professional podcaster, published author, award-winning blogger, inspiring keynote speaker, and successful nurse entrepreneur. Connect with Nurse Keith at, and on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Nurse Keith lives in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely fiancée, Shada McKenzie, a highly gifted traditional astrologer and reader of the tarot. You can find Shada at The Circle and the Dot.

The Nurse Keith Show is a proud member of The Health Podcast Network, one of the largest and fastest-growing collections of authoritative, high-quality podcasts taking on the tough topics in health and care with empathy, expertise, and a commitment to excellence. The podcast is adroitly produced by Rob Johnston of 520R Podcasting, and Mark Capispisan is our stalwart social media ringmaster and newsletter wrangler.

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