If you're my age, when you see the words "Confessions Of" in a title you can't help but associate it with images of that cheeky chap Robin Askwith and his tawdry 1970's sub Carry On dirty films. Whilst our neighbours across the channel were making the erotic Emmanuelle, Askwith was peeping at showering schoolgirls through bathroom windows with a leering grin that would today have him banged up for sexual harassment. Fortunately younger readers won't remember the films and, having read the best selling Confessions Of A GP from the same publisher (the excellent The Friday Project) last year, I had an inkling of what Confessions Of A Male Nurse would be like.
It is exactly what the title suggests. Michael Alexander ( a pseudonym for obvious patient confidentiality reasons) tells us about his sixteen years as a male nurse in both New Zealand and London in a series of short anecdotal chapters. And what experiences he has had! The cover picture suggests humour and there is a degree of this in the book although for me it has more of an overriding air of humanity as Alexander is clearly someone of great compassion who cares for his fellow man (and woman).
We are taken through a challenging start to his career as the only male nurse in a gynaecological ward and then on through surgical wards, periods as an agency nurse, the horrors of A&E and the difficulties of working with psychiatric patients. The problems of working with know-it-all doctors, couldn't care less colleagues and belligerent patients in sometimes short-staffed, sometimes dirty but occasionally pleasant wards are outlined in a very well written, extremely believable and insightful book. Although he has plenty to moan about, I am pleased to say that the author is not a moaner and his upbeat style makes this an interesting, educational and very enjoyable read.