Sunday 24 July 2011

Yes Sister, No Sister - Jennifer Craig

Jennifer Craig trained as a nurse in Leeds during the 1950s. She went there virtually from school and was unprepared for the regimented way nurses were then trained. In her memoir she writes about her thoughts and feelings from the time of her training and then into her first few years as a nurse. Back then Britain was still recovering from the war and this could still be seen in the way that Jennifer was trained.

I have to confess that out of all the nursing memoir books I have read of late this is not my favourite. I was a little bored by it at first. It was brave of the author to mention her naivety at the time but it actually grated on my nerves a little. As did her hero worship of her friend Judith who didn't seem to return her friendship in quite the same way.

Once she moved to the wards it did begin to get interesting. I could understand her initial fear. Who wouldn't be nervous at first. Plus she seemed very open about her feelings when a patient died on her. Her time spent on the Surgical ward and then in casualty were the most interesting to me. I could have read more about those times if I was honest.

Once she graduates the author then rushes through the next few years. She uses letters she has written to friends and family to help speed her way through them which I also found to be irritating. At one point she is training again. This time she is taking a midwifery course and she doesn't take the time to talk about it other than to say that she hated the hospital.

Eventually she goes back to the hospital she was originally trained and is first a night sister and then a ward sister. There were some interesting points here. I liked the fact that she wanted to use her ward to teach fellow nurses as well as to treat patients. Again though she began to rush through her time there with more family letters.

An interesting read but a little frustrating at times. This is the last of the books that I got in on nursing. As I said it wasn't the my favourite. I think Hospital Babylon was probably the funniest although from the point of view of a Doctor. Nurse Nurse by Jimmy Frazer was the most helpful and Bedpans and Bobby Socks was the most fun. I will probably leave it here now as I think this genre could easily become boring.

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