Top positive review
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Absorbing, fresh-eyed look at the NHS
on 14 March 2011
I ordered this on a whim having read a newspaper review. The title, Nurse! Nurse!, makes it sound like a Carry On romp. Don't be fooled though. It may have a light style with plenty of funny moments but this is a serous book too, and often impresses with its rawness and honesty.
The story grabbed me from the start. I really cared about Jimmy Frazier and his fellow trainees and whether they would cut it as fully-fledged nurses. But above all, it was the descriptions of the patients - everyone from children in a post-surgical ward to prisoners at Holloway prison - that made this a great, often moving read.
Frazier is prepared to criticise the NHS but clearly also has affection for it and, thank goodness, rarely rants or preaches. In fact, one of the author's strengths is being able to poke fun at himself, and his mid-life crisis, without excessive navel gazing.
Though it contains some fascinating medical nuggets, especially regarding mental health, Nurse! Nurse! is at heart a human drama focusing on all too real people - patients, nurses, doctors, friends - that anyone can relate to, whether they work in a hospital or not. If I have one criticism I thought the book ended a bit abruptly. But don't let this put you off. Nurse! Nurse! completely hooked me and I read it in a couple of days. It made me laugh, it made me shed a tear (not easy) and it made me think. Highly recommended.