This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor Paperback – 19 April 2018
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‘I’d prescribe this book to anyone and everyone. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, heartbreakingly sad and gives you the lowdown on what it’s like to be holding it together while serving on the front line of our beloved but beleaguered NHS. It’s wonderful.’ – Jonathan Ross
‘So clinically funny and politically important for supporters of the NHS that it should be given out on prescription.’ – Guardian
‘Painfully funny. The pain and the funniness somehow add up to something entirely good, entirely noble and entirely loveable.’ – Stephen Fry
‘You will laugh, cry and be overwhelmed with gratitude for the medical profession who work so shockingly hard to patch us up and prolong our lives.’ – Daily Express
‘Finally a true picture of the harrowing, hilarious and ultimately chaotic life of the junior doctor in all its gory glory, dark comedy and unavoidable sadness. A blisteringly funny account shot through with harrowing detail, many pertinent truths and the humanity we all hope doctors conceal behind their unflappable exteriors.’ – Jo Brand
‘As hilarious as it is heartbreaking — and it IS heartbreaking (also hilarious)’ – Charlie Brooker
‘Blisteringly funny, politically enraging and often heartbreaking . . . hilarious . . . brimming not just with humour but with humanity . . . This should be a wake-up call to all who value the NHS’ – Hannah Beckerman, Sunday Express
‘A funny, excoriatingly revealing, beautiful book’ – Dawn French
‘The humour is unflinching in its darkness . . . Yet I did laugh. A lot. Kay is a skilful, muscular writer, his narrative swinging from laugh-out-loud anecdotes to tales of sheer horror. The book’s title is harrowingly apt . . . In the end, this book is a call to arms. That the NHS lost Kay is a tragedy. That this diary was written well before the Government’s battle with junior doctors is more disturbing still’ – i
‘Hilarious and heartbreaking . . . I howled, yelped and occasionally choked with laughter . . . It’s an invigorating addition to the vogue for medical memoirs. I like to think of it sitting on a shelf next to Henry Marsh, Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi, turning the air bluer and bluer. It has something of all those writers, but with an added dash of a profane Adrian Mole . . . This book may hurt, but in an important and necessary way’ – Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times
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I have been the impatient Nurse paging an already overstretched junior doctor to come and review a patient, prescribe more pain relief or fluids, check Gent or Vanc levels or write a discharge letter (as the patient is standing in front of me dressed, holding their packed belongings with their angry relative who has come to collect them...because the Consultant told them 7 hours ago on the ward round they could go home after dinner).
I have taken junior doctors a cup of tea, a biscuit and a “patients sandwich” from the ward fridge because it’s 6pm and they haven’t eaten or drank anything since before their shift started 9 hours ago.
I have been there on a ward round when they have been belittled by a Consultant in front of their colleagues and the patient for not ordering a test the day before, or because they didn’t give an answer to a seemingly straightforward question and have been met with raised eyebrows and “did you graduate from medical school Dr?” from said Consultant.
I have also been the nurse on Nightshift when things have been the “Q” word, turning a blind eye as a junior doctor sneaks into the Day unit next door for some shut eye because they are exhausted on their 5th night. Or sitting at the Nurses Station swapping comical stories about patients, because sometimes you need that shared humour to get you through to the end of your shift.
I left the wards for a less stressful stint in Occupational Health after 6 years of working rotational shifts, which I appreciate on the grand scale of things is not that long at all. However, for my own sanity I felt I had no choice. I was burnt out, stressed, irritable, permanently exhausted through crazy shift patterns (3 nights, a sleep day then a day shift, off for two then back in for 3 days?) sick of constantly being short staffed, being left unsupported (especially on nights) and having to make decisions above my pay grade then being chastised for it in the morning by Sister, missing countless social and family gatherings because of “being on shift”, my husband and I were on the road to starting IVF treatment after unsuccessfully trying for a baby for nearly 3 years....the list goes on.
The NHS relies on the goodwill of its staff working past their time, (usually writing up notes or Incident forms that you haven’t had time to do during your shift), or swapping their shift due to staff shortages at the last minute, relies on them building their own support network instead of giving them the right support to deal with traumatic events that are all too common in the job (but no amount of training will ever prepare you for), working through their breaks “because the ward is too busy”....etc, etc
The pressures of the job are increased ten fold by the pressures of management, audits, paperwork (sometimes its like paperwork for the sake of paperwork) which is generated by our unrealistic government. And also not forgetting the negative attention the media places on the situation giving some patients/relatives the idea that your fair game in questioning your abilities and informing you the papers said this or that so it must be true...it’s sad to think that this wonderful system that was once the envy of the world has been brought to its knees, leading valuable and extremely competent staff to leave the profession in their droves.
I completely understand about black humour in times of stress and it is a stressful job but all of what he lists as ‘anecdotes’ were human beings and even if they did some weird things and weren’t too bright - they still didn’t deserve to be the butt if his jokes and used to earn him a penny or two when he gave up doctoring.
I’m not even sure that he liked his patients and I think it’s probably just as well he has left the profession. I finished the book but I wouldn’t recommend it and I’m not sure how it gets all the good reviews - well I am, he no doubt has a very good agent and publicity machine.
Top international reviews
The read itself is enthralling, amusing and disturbing - all the lightest possible of ways. So - if you are looking for a book that gives you an insight (albeit a singular one) into a system which, at your worst of times, SHOULD be your savior - then read this. Then eat well, keep fit and stay away from harm as your life may depend on it...
But it is not a laugh all the way to the end of the book and therein is the message - to the readers, to the consumers of health services and the Government officials who preside over the NHS. Nice book in every way.
I can't say I was blown away by the content, although it is a fun and interesting read, but that is likely because I'm a bit too close to the reality the author describes. I've read other books on the daily life of a new doctor that had me more engaged, but they tend to be for a different audience. The book is based on the English NHS system, although there are many parallels to the Canadian and US medical systems. I wish I could say here in North America we don't work the number of hours reported by Kay in the NHS system, but that would not be true. 12-16 hour shifts are the norm, not the exception.
This book is more focused on the humour side, which is fitting considering the author's current occupation (not medicine any more), and there's anecdotes that will amuse readers. There's a plethora of footnotes describing medical terms, which will help many readers. Definitely a fun read, even for those in the profession.
There are some real laugh-out-loud moments. The guy who stuck his dick in a fan comes to mind, for example. And it’s surprising what people will put up themselves. A doctor often needs to psychologise his way past patients with weird ideas, inflicting common sense by any means available.
For all this lightness of touch, though, Kay’s final message is grim. Obsessed with KPI’s and cost-cutting, successive governments have screwed the idealism of medical professionals to breaking point. The conditions these people work under are brutal and would not be tolerated in any other profession. So why, when it’s a case of life and death, or the difference between a healthy life or an impaired one, is the government so insistent on forcing these highly trained people to leave either medicine or the country? This is a crie de couer that should be read by every Brit.
Wer ein unterhaltsames Buch für Zwischendurch sucht, ist hiermit wirklich gut bedient.
Very insightful and laugh out loud funny!
Then I read the positive reviews which said I would laugh out loud. Well, the anecdotes were amusingly written and I applaud Dr Adam for his openness which gives us an honest look behind the scenes.
It was an eye-opener for me and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has either fell under the scalpel or held one.
Se avete deciso di leggere un solo libro in inglese.. leggete questo!
Ho iniziato leggerlo due giorni fa e già mi sto avvicinando a metà libro.