The Courage to Care – Christie Watson

Published by: Chatto Windus
Pages: 272
Date released: 17/09/2020
Date read: 28/12/2021

Nurses have never been more important. We benefit from their expertise in our hospitals and beyond: in our schools, on our streets, in prisons, hospices and care homes. When we feel most alone, nurses remind us that we are not alone at all.

In The Courage to Care, bestselling author Christie Watson reveals the remarkable extent of nurses’ work. A community mental-health nurse choreographs support for a man suffering from severe depression. A teen with stab wounds is treated by the critical-care team; his school nurse visits and he drops the bravado. A pregnant woman loses frightening amounts of blood following a car accident; it is a military nurse who synchronises the emergency department into immaculate order and focus.

Christie makes a further discovery: that, time and again, it is patients and their families – including her own – who show exceptional strength in the most challenging times. We are all deserving of compassion, and as we share in each other’s suffering, Christie Watson shows us how we can find courage too. The courage to care.

Christie Watson has a way of writing that just sucks you in. Her first book The Language of Kindness, came out in 2018 and I read it in one sitting, not even realising it had gone dark around me until someone switched on the light, I was so engrossed. And the same has to be said for this one. I read it in one 4-hour sitting, and not a more splendid 4 hours was ever experienced.

I have had my fair share of hospital visits – planned and un-planned – and whilst the doctors and consultants and porters and cleaners have been absolutely marvellous, there is a special place for nurses in my heart. They are rushed off their feet but always seem to give you as much time as you need. They can be a friendly face amongst a storm of pain and fear that hospitals and illness can bring. They have experienced everything from broken bones to stab wounds, overdoses to poisonings, birth to death, there’s nothing they haven’t seen before, and yet they always make you feel as if you are the only person going through it at that time and therefore you are the most important person in the room.

Christie doesn’t blow smoke up nurses’ unmentionables. Nor does she downplay their importance. She paints them in just the right light: as superheroes.

There’s no sugar-coating the harsh life a nurse has, even before the madness that 2020 brought, but have we ever needed them more? Or appreciated them more? Or loved them more?

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