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on 1 June 2012
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.
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on 3 June 2012
As I began reading "Confessions of a Male Nurse" by Michael Alexander I found this book as real as it was funny and shocking. I am a healthcare worker myself and understood the book tells us not what should happen, but what actually does happen in the real world of human nurses, doctors and patients in the healthcare systems of most countries in the civilised world. It is a relief that there are actually caring nurses like Michael Alexander who are not afraid to tell the truth.

This is a humorous, easy-to-read, well-written book that I highly recommend to, not only healthcare workers, but to anyone wanting an entertaining read.
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on 21 July 2012
This is a fantastic book I laughed all the way through it and yes it does sound very true to life and is very well written. I would class it as a must buy book and also a very reasonable price.
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on 3 May 2014
Confessions of a Male Nurse is a sequel of sorts to the successful Confessions of a GP, by Benjamin Daniels. It has a broadly similar epistolary structure, which lends itself well to a series of anecdotes on connected themes.

Confessions of a Male Nurse is a volume that may hold particular interest to those interested in comparisons between the NHS and other healthcare systems. The protagonist is trained in New Zealand, and spends much of the book practising there, but also spends some years in the NHS in London. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that the differences were pulled out very clearly in the narrative, which felt like a lost opportunity.

In both Confessions of a GP and this volume, the protagonists admit some ethically dodgy behaviour. In GP, these felt like genuine dilemmas, and made me appreciate the reasons behind the course of action taken – even when I didn’t agree with them. The confessions in Male Nurse, however, were of a wholly different type. The behaviour of the protagonist often struck me as entirely inappropriate, and the justifications for it were poor. For example, there are several anecdotes in which nursing colleagues are providing wholly substandard care, and causing bodily harm to patients. Our protagonist reasons that, as a bank nurse, he shouldn’t complain or he won’t get work in the institution again. And so, the appalling behaviour continues.

I would like to think that I would not do the same. I’ve never been a bank nurse, but I have been a junior doctor, and I have – particularly when patients have come to harm – reported incidents in which colleagues have made errors. I’ve reported incidents involving senior colleagues on at least two occasions. This isn’t done in a vindictive way. It isn’t done with the intention of assigning guilt. It is done to ensure that incidents in which patients are harmed are fully investigated, and prevented from re-occurring. It may be, for example, that the harm caused to patients in the anecdotes in Male Nurse are not caused by callous individuals, but by a system that is creating dangerous under-staffing, or perhaps by personal issues affecting an individual. Brushing the problem under the carpet and failing to take any action whatsoever perpetuates the problem.

To report such incidents is my duty. I’ve always been aware that doing so might make my life more difficult, and I’ve never done so without discussing it first with the people involved. It made me very uncomfortable to read of someone else protecting themselves before both their patients. But, on the other hand, I guess this is important. If this behaviour is common in hospitals, it is important that we understand it better to prevent it continuing. Perhaps this book shines a light on behaviour that we ought to better understand. Perhaps it offers elucidation of a problem that we should look into further. I’m not sure.

If we put that issue to one side, then the book is quite entertaining. There were moments of frustration where the author’s explanation of diseases and medical procedures were a little out of kilter with reality, but – by and large – the descriptions were pretty good. The narrative structure was a little uncertain, seemingly varying between an epistolary form relating individual anecdotes, and a more formal chronological description of events across chapters, and there were consequently times where I felt a little lost within the narrative superstructure, unsure whether we were in London or New Zealand. But this isn’t a bad book, and I don’t feel it deserves harsh criticism. I’m just not absolutely sure I’d recommend it.
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on 4 August 2012
Great book, well written and gives a real insight to life as a nurse. Very funny in parts and also sad - a real mixed bag and very enjoyable. Definitely recommend!
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on 11 July 2012
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great mix of serious, silly, sad and uplifting stories from the world of nursing and if you have enjoyed other books in this genre then this one will not disappoint. The author alludes to other books he may write and I hope he does. A brilliant new voice to add to what is already out there.
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on 2 October 2012
I downloaded this book onto my Kindle.
One because it was so cheap and I thought it was worth a shot and two because of the good reviews,
I loved it!
Interesting, funny, sad, honest, heart warming.

Definitely recommend this!
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on 31 January 2016
To say I have had this one on my kindle a while is I guess an understatement, so when I was looking for a little humour, something to make me laugh and lift my mood too!

I downloaded a free e-copy of this one from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. As I said in my Initial Thoughts section above I wanted an uplifting, lighter read so decided to give this one a go.
The cover of this book shows what I guess you could say is a typical "hospital scene", a bed with patient notes scattered on it, the patients bedside table with the half dead drooping flowers, a box of tissues. the curtains closed around the bed with a male nurses head poked through the curtains. the expression on the nurses face is that he is probably seeing something rather shocking or grim and sickening! Would the cover make me pick this one up from a book store shelf? Yes, the cover has a comedy element about it so I would pick it up to read the blurb.
I think its fun to get an insider look at other professions from a Male Nurse, A GP, to an Air Hostess or Checkout Girl. For the Nurse, GP, Teacher or Air Hostess to share the humorousness things in their job as well as the more serious ups and downs of their daily tasks.
In this book Michael Alexander is a Male Nurse, originally from New Zealand who decides to travel for a while so gets a working visa and comes over to London, England and signs up with a nursing agency. Michael works on many different wards, meeting different bosses with different managerial styles, lots of Doctors with varying degrees of attitude and professionalism towards their job and patients.
The one thing that continually strikes you throughout the book and all the comedy is that Michael not only genuinely cares about the patients he is allotted to care for as well as any other patients that are around him on the ward too. He is the type of Nurse that I personally would say I'd want to be caring for myself or one of my loved ones were they in hospital. Michael is prepared to go that extra mile. One great example of this is there is one elderly lady who really wants and needs a shower but there never seems to be time to help her, Michael gives up part of his lunch break to set things up in a shower stall that is quite inadequate, but he perseveres and this lady is so grateful when she has had her shower, to the point the reason she is in hospital actually improves and sets her well onto the road to recovery.
Of course there are also times that Michael feels like walking out of his shift when there aren't enough members of staff to do the hourly checks and turns that they should be doing to prevent bed bound patients getting bed sores etc.
Michael also finds himself being given the jobs no one else wants as he is the "newbie" "agency nurse".
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, it was the lighter read I felt I needed at the time. I enjoyed reading this book. Would I recommend the book? It certainly give an insight into hospitals and their staffing levels and standards. Michael compares staff to patients ratio both in New Zealand and here in the UK. Would I want to read more about Michael Alexander and his nursing career? I think I would yes. I enjoyed the chatty style of this book and at the end of it, Michael tells us he is going on to be a "school nurse" at a private boarding school in Switzerland. Would I want to read other "Confessions of" titles? I have actually read other Confessions titles such as Confessions of a GP etc, I think I also have one or two on my kindle waiting to be read.

Insightful and eye opening, makes you smirk, snicker, chuckle and giggle throughout too.
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on 26 June 2014
An excellent book highlighting the problems of overloaded beaurocracy in the NHS. A few days after reading this I had an accident in France and so had to go to A&E there and on my return to the UK. In a small Provincial towm I was admitted, scanned and X-Rayed within an hour. On being discharged I went to a so called state of the art hospital in England opened less than 18 months. Waited nearly 4 hours to be seen then kept waithing another 7 hours before being discharged. Tip of the day if you are going to have an accident have it in France not England
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I bought and read this book out of curiosity really.
I am a (male) nurse myself and in honesty, I hate that term - I am a nurse....!
Everything in this book the author describes, IS as it really happens....!
He truthfully describes the ups and downs of nursing, from the male perspective.
I urge you to read this book, you will laugh, you may cry, but hopefully you will see what we have to deal with.
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