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Asylum Bound: The very odd training experience of a psychiatric nurse in the 1970s [Paperback]

Stuart Townsend , Simon Ennals , Bill Lay
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 May 2012
“God! Has it come to this?” Meet Grace, white-haired, with dementia, being admitted to the daunting asylum with an unwelcome introduction from the student nurse. Then Percy, the crystal radio buff, with depression. Here is Harry, the Japanese ex-POW, whose bath-time is a re-living of battles fought and Walter, with the dodgy and less than faithful, girl-friend. What about Tom, who is getting secret signs from both the Newscaster on the BBC as well as the landlady of the local pub, or Betty who won’t fit in the coffin, and needs a bit of encouragement? But also meet Stuart, the very novice student nurse fearfully working on nights, standing there being strangled, not knowing what to do, or trying to come to grips on his first day on the ward with shaving a corpse. Learn about what goes on in the long asylum corridor & how to survive the laws of the asylum jungle. Stuart has to rely on information from the unlikeliest of sources, the Social Club hard drinkers. Asylum Bound is a wild weird walk through the experiences of a student nurse as he enters the unknown world of the mental "asylum" of the 1970s. It is a bizarre world, a world of terrible extremes. Within this odd place there are Hogarthian characters of varying chaotic hues, some aggressive, some sad, some disturbed and some institutionalised, both patients and staff. It is in this strange world that Stuart begins to understand the origins of psychiatry and its terrible treatments, including lobotomies, E.C.T., insulin shock and even aversion therapy for underwear snatchers. He has to learn about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, new and frightening conditions that had new and frightening treatments and outcomes. But he finds an asylum coming to the end of any usefulness it might ever once have had. The patients are leaving, the staff are changing, and, thank God, the abuses are declining. It is a different world from anything he has experienced before. It is a very new world. It is a life-changing revelation. For Stuart, what started as a novelty, progressed to fascination and was to end in tragedy. It was the start of a long psychiatric nursing career. It is, sadly, all true.

Frequently Bought Together

Asylum Bound: The very odd training experience of a psychiatric nurse in the 1970s + The Locked Ward: Memoirs of a Psychiatric Orderly + Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England
Price For All Three: 21.70

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: P. and B. Publishing (9 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095727890X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957278905
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stuart Townsend was born in Norwich (UK). After four years at Cardiff University studying theology he moved to East Anglia to become a psychiatric nurse.

His first book, Asylum Bound, covers this period of change, from the dull gathering of biblical knowledge to the exciting and very odd people he met in the asylum of the late 1970s.

Following qualification Stuart specialised in elderly mental illness, working in Norfolk and Derbyshire, before going to New Zealand to set up community mental health teams. Switching to acute mental health, Stuart then worked as team leader in New Zealand and, on return to the UK, in Nottinghamshire. In 2002 Stuart moved into the private sector, managing care homes for people with dementia.

He retired from clinical nursing in 2008, after 30 years front-line work, to teach, train and write.

Stuart married Karen, a specialist psychiatric forensic nurse, in 1984 and they have three sons. His interests are bridge, history and rugby.

You can follow Stuart on Twitter (asylumboundbook) or through facebook (asylumboundthebook)or through the website

Stuart Townsend is a pen name.

Product Description

About the Author

Stuart Townsend is a pen name. Stuart read Theology at Cardiff University before embarking on a career in Psychiatric Nursing. From 1981, as a qualified nurse, he worked in all areas of psychiatry, before specializing in elderly psychiatry and then community psychiatry, both in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. During his entire career he worked as a clinical nurse, having professional contact with people in distress and mental anguish in the front line of psychiatric nursing. He retired from clinical work in 2010, to concentrate on writing and training. Stuart is married to a psychiatric nurse specializing in forensic psychiatry. They have three sons. His interests include history, golf and bridge. He lives in Nottinghamshire U.K.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding! 3 Sep 2012
By George
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a student mental health nurse I wanted to expand my knowledge about the history of Mental health. This book not only gives a personal account of life in an Asylum but the author goes a long way to explain, with great detail, the reasons and history of asylum life, medications, treatments and nurse attitudes. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in mental health (no matter how small) as it is an exciting, educating and deep account into the history of this largly misunderstood subject.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book cover's Stuart Townsend's career in mental health nursing. I've found it an interesting read especially the sections where he describes the change in hospital practices over the years. He makes the point that in the past the old style of nursing relied on strict routines which allowed paitents to be 'toileted', fed and washed like clock work, he stresses that not once during his time were bedsores or the eldery being left in their own mess an issue compared with how wards are run these days. While the paitents may not have been dressed in their personal clothes they were given a high standard of care, today it could be argued that our obsession with 'individual' care has put more strain on staff and paitents alike. Also he does shine a light on the good changes that have been done within health and mental health care.
Throughout the book he introduces us to a range of paitents with differing mental health issues and he compassionately remembers them, he does not use this memoir in anyway to draw charactures of the mentally ill.
The book also covers alot about the changes in medications for mental illness and how this affected the hospitals themselves, as the medications became better the walls of the asylum came down and some patients could go and live in the community. Although his description of giving his first injection did make me more than a little queasy!
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in why or how, in today's Britain, we have community care programmes instead of long term in-paitents, it explains alot about the inner works of modern mental health.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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Excellent Stuart, as always through your training and now this book I was hooked from the start. Are you writing any more, I could be your biggest fan! The way you write conjured up the feeling that I was there, the added bonus is that I could hear your voice in my head which made it all the more real. Congratulations on an excellent read!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling insight into Asylum life 25 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a compelling insight into Asylum community life as seen through the eyes of the author.
You will 'meet' both patients and staff (names changed for anonymity), learn a little of their history, why they are in the Asylum and how they live. This is no documentary though and tales abound of the after-hours activities, usually centred around the Asylum social club and bar.
Tastefully written without breaching the privacy of patients, staff or the institution and written with hints of Billy Connolly'esque tales and penman ship.
If you like easy reading, medical history, general history, auto-biographies and many other genres take a look at the example pages and buy it!
Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a piece of history 23 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good description of what people working for the mental health service in Britain had to face in the late seventy's and still often have to face today because some things haven't changed that much. The large hospitals might have disappeared but human nature hasn't changed that much, be it patients or the people caring for them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brought back memories! 14 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great read firstly if you have no idea what the old psychiatric hospitals were like, but if like me and you worked and lived in some, then it is a trip down memory lane!
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read 15 Nov 2013
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An excellent read, well written and humerous. Could totally relate to the goings on in the ward and staff club settings. Not to mention the "old assylum attendants" sensible approach to difficult situations and patients.
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Interesting and sometimes sad account of mental health nursing through the last few decades.
Remember a few of the now controversial and discredited practices from my own training
Some of the characters are also familiar too!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite interesting read.
Insight into life in an asylum/mental ward. Did think it may have went into more depth about treatments used in the past.
Published 7 months ago by tilly
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
It was a good price and a very interesting read. I would defiantly recommend to a friend, I recommend it
Published 9 months ago by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Spell bound
I was genuinely sorry to finish this book . Stuart is a natural story teller and very compassionate nurse , in a field of nursing that needs compassion, understanding and love... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kizzy
5.0 out of 5 stars asylum bound
compelling book very interesting and quite captivating well written and detailed would highly reccomend this especially people interested in this subject matter
Published 9 months ago by laura jones
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
very interesting book it makes you think about what went on back in those days. after all those years we are just beginning to find out.
Published 11 months ago by karen collins
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any mental health or learning disability nurse
A must read for any mental health or learning disability nurse, especially for the 'old school', what memories it will bring back!
Published 13 months ago by K.E.Hume R.N.L.D. retired
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
Great descriptions of the truth that goes on in asylums in the 70's and 80's, with a funny tale written by someone who knows what he's talking about. Read more
Published 14 months ago by LizzyHurst82
4.0 out of 5 stars very informative
well written found it very informative of the caring community thought it was not realy my type of book but found that I enjoyed very much!
Published 17 months ago by ELLEN HOBBS
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