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5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
Reviewed in the United States on February 29, 2016
Lovely and charming memoir of what nursing training involves. Rich in details and humorous anecdotes. The wild roommates, their party lifestyle, and heavy drinking were beautifully contrasted with the serious and demanding training they went through all week. Such a candid and revealing glimpse into the lives of these young women as they learned to be effective caregivers. Enjoyable read.
I seek out and enjoy books about doctors and especially nurses, and this one was a treat. A little personal stuff, stories about patients, and mostly practicing. She explained what she had to do to get her certificate, and then the lifelong learning experience of nursing.
I did not enjoy this book. It was not what I expected. First there initially too much of the book spent on drinking alcohol rather than nursing. Secondly. There was not nearly as many stories about her patients as I expected from the description of the book. I am an RN and usually enjoy this type of book but not this one.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 13, 2015
I received a free pre-publication copy in exchange for an honest review. I've read all of Sarah Jane Butfield's previous memoirs about moving abroad to Australia and France and really enjoyed them. I must say, I do have a soft spot for medical memoirs-I love them-and I certainly LOVED this! Even in the early section, I was feeling eager to read it, it was catching my interest immediately. I was due to start work and had to keep nipping back for a quick look at 'just a bit more' before I had to go. The book starts where Sarah Jane is just sixteen, it's the early 80s and she begins training to be a nurse. There's quite a bit of introductory matter before it gets going-but I still found this enormously interesting and relevant-eg. the explanation of the title, and the review from an advance reader makes it sound so tempting too-you just have to read on! There's quite a trip down memory lane with the mentions of the Carry On Films. I loved getting to know the young Sarah Jane after having read all her other books set in more recent times. This is a really refreshing change hearing about her earlier life. It's packed with info about the tasks the student nurses did, the things they learned. Later, there was more nostalgia-I had forgotten about this TV series-General Hospital! Next subject covered is student nurse life-and partying! Some very helpful links are included to explanations of things-eg the Australian lift-and a YouTube video link to illustrate this also-what a great idea. I love the rhyming chapter title-and there are a few chuckles here, their antics! Next, she worked on the geriatric ward as part of her training. There's a great insight into the tasks she had to do serving her time district nursing. Here are mentioned the various bowel procedures! Many times in this chapter I was thinking: oh yak, oh no, oh my goodness-the things she had to do! A very interesting chapter. I also enjoyed the bit of history about the area which tied-in. Next placement is at a maternity hospital. There is such an amusing scene, I loved how this was written, a lovely chapter with a chuckle at the end. A really feel-good read at this point. Obviously, with this profession, there are harder times too. Oh, I really enjoyed this! Just my sort of book. It's been really interesting to hear about the different and varied medical fields she's worked in. So varied, more placements include caring for patients who have attempted suicide, on the operating theatre site suite and on the children's ward. Practical jokes are played on the students, Sarah Jane was on the receiving end of a few of these. We get to hear about workplace affairs-I love behind the scenes books like this! An excellent inclusion is a chapter written by Sarah Jane's step-daughter, Claire, who has just completed training as a nurse and she gives a comparison of how it is now to go alongside Sarah Jane's experiences in the 80s. A period of training and working in the A & E brings some aarrrggghhh tales! I like how she explains things as she goes along AND includes a glossary at the end as well of quite a few medical terms/diseases etc. I've read quite a few medical memoirs so I'd heard and knew most of these but I think it's a good idea to have this for people who haven't read many or any of this type of book before. An assortment of amusing, interesting, surprising and emotional stories. A pleasure to read. Her best yet!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2015
Having recently worked within the NHS, I was immediately drawn to this memoir by an accomplished author of the genre. Once started I found it difficult to put down, easily captivated by this collection of amusing, poignant, but overall honest accounts of the author’s adventures and misadventures as a young nurse in the 1980’s. Beginning as a naive 16yr old we follow this young girl as she steps into the world of student life, bedpans and hypodermics. There were lots to fondly identify with as the author captures the period perfectly. I laughed out loud at the hilarious antics, and was sobered by the genuine emotional moments that all health professionals will recognise. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry and you’ll feel better for it - The perfect prescription.
An entertaining, amusing read – just what the doctor ordered!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2015
Having also worked in the arena of elderly care back in the ‘80s, I came to this book with considerable interest, and was not disappointed. Written with Sarah Jane’s trademark honesty and humour, we read how she progresses from born and bred country girl in rural Suffolk to trainee nurse in the big city of Colchester and eventually, after 3 years hard training, to become a bona fide registered nurse. Despite the awful consequences of the first time she inserted a rectal tube (no, I won’t say more!), losing half a body out of the bottom of a trolley, and the radical remedy inflicted on her following a binge of banana banshee cocktails, Sarah Jane’s grit and determination to succeed and be useful in one of the most difficult jobs in the world shines through. The book really came alive for me personally when Sarah Jane was placed in a female geriatric facility in St Mary’s hospital. I know from experience how difficult it is for folk of advancing years to be prised apart from family, friends and pets, and consigned to long or permanent stays in hospital wards or in residential homes. In between the endless cleaning of wheelchairs and changing of bedpans, she found time to talk to – and listen to – the old people in her care and to form close bonds with them. The story of poor Joan and her husband touched me to the heart. That Sarah Jane was to go on to 20+ years in the field of aged care, and will be writing about this, gives me hope for the human spirit. I very much look forward to the next book in what promises to be a wonderful series.
5.0 out of 5 starsInformative, funny and touching.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2015
I have always enjoyed medical memoirs and was looking forward to reading this one. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Sarah Jane writes from the heart and her story is in turns funny, heartbreaking and moving. She describes herself at sixteen as having no career aspirations and yet she undertakes years of training to become a nurse. She highlights the vast amount of medical knowledge a nurse has to learn all under the eagle eye of the ward sisters – it’s incredible and probably underestimated by many! She interweaves this with details about her personal life which enhance the story of her journey to full registration. I also enjoyed the links to You Tube etc to explain some of the procedures or to give added information about some of the hospitals where she worked. We learn about her interest in the history of the various hospitals and how they developed and there are some fascinating facts on this subject. You live and learn! I particularly enjoyed all the little anecdotes about some of her escapades and, of course, about some of the more memorable patients. However I think my favourite one involved a hill and a body being transported to the mortuary !! I actually laughed out loud. I’m now looking forward to the next instalment.
5.0 out of 5 starsA must-read for any student nurse.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 23, 2016
I had no idea that so much was involved in becoming a nurse. Even back in the eighties, from passing O-levels to A-levels and on through the in-depth, hands-on training to obtaining one's diploma and entering the field full-on.
Of course today, student nurses are expected to complete a full university degree and with the consistent developments in nursing this is completely understandable. This is where this particular work is invaluable, because it explores the differences between the student nurse of the eighties to the student nurse of today.
In addition to the invaluable information pertaining to student nursing, there are moments of laughter, hope, and sadness as Sarah shares the experiences she has had in a very conversational, yet deeply professional manner.
This marvellous and easy to read five-star work is a must-read for any student nurse.