Nursing Book Club
The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson
A vivid memoir soon to become a TV show
Christie Watson is an English author who wrote two successful novels before turning to nonfiction with this reflection on her 20-year nursing career. Although I found some of the U.K.-specific details puzzling, she has a lot of meaningful things to say about her career and the field of nursing.
Early on, Watson admits that she hadn’t always wanted to be a nurse. A rebellious teenager, she held a number of part-time jobs before leaving school at 16, full of adolescent angst, to move in with her boyfriend and his friends. Then, someone suggested nursing to her and she used her local library to investigate.
Watson explains that in the U.K., nursing education has four paths: adult nursing, child nursing, mental health and learning disabled nursing. Prospective nurses choose their training path in the hospital and follow a mentor. Watson began in mental health nursing, but, true to her nature, she tried several different directions at different points in her nursing career.
As we follow her along her path, she takes the time to explain the history of nursing and of each specialty. We learn about the treatment of epilepsy and mental illness, the legacy of forced institutionalization and the development of neonatal units. She even discusses Florence Nightingale and her work.