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on 6 April 2011
Had looked forward to reading this book,as a qualified nurse, born and bred in the Blackburn area.
I was not dissapointed.My mum will now have the pleasure of reading it,as `nursing` is in the family.Janet.
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on 3 September 2011
A great read for ageing middle aged nurses everywhere ! Finished it in almost one sitting - not exactly a challenging read but a lovely bit of nostalgia
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on 14 August 2011
I picked this book up in my local supermarket and I am so glad I did. A real eye opener to 60s (and later) nursing practices, some of which I think we should reinstate. If only all nurses could be as caring and professional! A funny and heat-warming book, I enjoyed every minute. Even if you have no interest in nursing, this book will keep you hooked.
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on 23 March 2011
Excellent this book took me back to when I trained in the 70s although I too was a Cadet Nurse in the 60s. It brings back many memories, some happy ones. Nursing has changed in many ways-& not for the better! Bring back the MATRON, as MATRON KNOWS BEST!
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on 14 May 2013
Very well written - informative, compassionate and humorous. Joan Woodcock was obviously a dedicated nurse. It would be nice to think that she was not alone in caring so passionately about each and everyone of her patients. A very good read!
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on 31 July 2014
What a brilliant book, I did my nurse training in the 70's and felt that Joans experiences were very similar to mine. It brought back many memories and as I am about to retire from nursing it inspired me to write my retirement speech about all the changes that have taken place in the nhs in my time as a nurse. I felt I was on the same wards as Joan and got as cross as she did over the same situations. The humour was perfect too we had very happy and very sad times just the same. It is very refreshing to find caring empathetic young nurses now and I am fortunate to be working with some in gereral practice and as I leave my job next month I shall be giving each of them a copy of "Matron Knows Best" and I am also ordering copies for my retired nurse friends as gifts. Thanks Joan inspirational. Liz Parkes (Charles's Wife)
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on 29 September 2013
A great read for those who were in the Nursing Profession in the 60's and 70's Some really amusing and authentic situations which would make today's young nurses recoil in horror. Nurses in those days were prepared for anything. Cleaning the wards were part of their duties. Can you see them do it today. Matron did know best.
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on 13 January 2013
In short, I LOVED this book. For me, it was compulsive reading and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The book spans the 40 year nursing career of Joan Woodcock, who we meet initially as a cadet. During her career she spent time as a hospital nurse on various wards, in a rehabilitation clinic, as a practice nurse in a GP surgery, a prison, as a Marie Curie nurse and in a rape examination and support centre. What a varied career!! We were privy to some pretty eye watering detail at times, and this humbled me and without doubt increased my respect for what nurses have to go through day in and day out. She makes comparisons between the NHS then, particularly in hospitals under the matron system, to how it is now. I believe she has been criticised for this by some but frankly I think she makes very valid points. It's not to say nurses today aren't as good as they used to be, but I think many have become blase and for some it's a job rather than a vocation.
This is very well written and medical terms/procedures are thoroughly explained. I found it to be a real page turner, and couldn't wait to get back to the book after I'd put it down. Funny at times, harrowing and emotional at others, but was a pleasure to read. I have already ordered the next one by Joan Woodcock and hope it's as enjoyable as this one was :-)
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on 25 September 2014
This is one of the best books I have read in a very long time!
As a fellow nurse starting training training late 80s, there were so many parts that rekindled many fond and not so fond memories and similar experiences.
It made made me chuckle, laugh out loud and even shed a few tears. A truly 'must read' book for everyone, but especially nurses at all stages of their nurse trading and career!
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on 25 August 2012
I was a trainee nurse for a year around the time that Joan began her training and although I lived in the south I can confirm that this book is very true to hospital life then and Joan has taken me back decades with her hospital tales. I also found the wide variety of nursing posts she held very interesting.

This book should be compulsory reading for all current and future trainee nurses. In my opinion it should be used in training sessions to provide examples of what a nurse should and shouldn't do e.g. contrast the care given to the tramp and the appalling treatment of the dying elderly lady left in her own mess. That way the nursing profession may recover the respect in which it was held for many decades.

Having much recent experience of the NHS hospitals I can confirm that whilst many nurses are wonderful many are totally unsuited to the nursing profession and seemingly incapable of empathising with their patients. This is almost certainly the result of nurses needing a degree now and Joan herself has written an afterword including this. No degree on earth can teach someone how to care.
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