- Davis, Cortney
- Date of entry: Aug-21-2018
Author Christie Watson begins her memoir with these words: "I didn't always want to be a nurse." Indeed, the first several pages of the introduction give witness to Christie's many interests, her career starts and stops, and a peek into what she names her "flightiness," including leaving school at age sixteen to move in with her older boyfriend and his four lodgers (page 5). Then, still sixteen years old, she begins working with the "Spastics Society" helping to assist disabled adults. This is the first time she sees nurses in action, and one of them offers Christie a suggestion: "You should do nursing. They give you a grant and somewhere to live" (page 6). At age seventeen, the author enters nursing school--and like most nursing students, she is "terrified of failure." During her health screening blood draw, Christie faints; a nurse suggests she rethink her career. But Christie persists, graduates, then spends twenty successful years in nursing. This memoir--densely written, action packed--is her account of her work especially in the Special-Care baby Unit, in the medical ward, and in Accident and Emergency. The author brings us as well into the cancer ward, pediatric ICU, and the geriatric ward, painting vivid portraits of her patients and the many acts of kindness she offers them along the way.
This memoir is replete with patients' stories and examples of the language of kindness, acts that are not heroic or unique but are part of every good nurses' vocabulary: offering a blanket to an elderly patient; staying with the dying; crying alongside the bereaved. In addition to being a nurse, Christie Watson is an award winning novelist whose books have been translated into fifteen languages. Reading this memoir, I often had the feeling that the novelist Watson was writing rather than the nurse Watson. It was when nurse Watson took over the pen that the book became most engaging.
Tim Duggan Books
New York, NY