An Exclusive Letter to Readers from Christie Watson
A former nurse with over twenty years experience, Christie Watson is a passionate advocate of the profession and the necessity of properly recognising its importance to society. Her latest non-fiction work, The Courage to Care, combines memoir with heartfelt observations about the state of modern nursing and its role in the wider community. In this exclusive letter to Waterstones readers, Christie explains the motivation behind The Courage to Care and offers her thoughts on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the profession.
The Courage to Care is about inspirational nurses around the country who work both in and outside hospital settings: in the military, schools, learning disability and mental health settings, care homes, prisons, and intensive care (and even intensive care in the air!). I’ve been talking for years about the importance of nurses, and yet none of us could have imagined just how vital nurses would be. I was finishing the last edits to The Courage to Care when our world changed unimaginably, and perhaps forever. It is nurses who have been at the forefront of this pandemic, nurses who have been saving lives – and too many have tragically lost their own life in doing so. And it will be nurses who are there dealing with the long-term after-effects including the impending economic collapse, and after ten years of austerity, that will leave so many vulnerable people even more vulnerable. Nursing is still not recognised by the government as the crucial safety profession that it is, which is dangerous for all of us. If there had been a care home nurse on the SAGE advisory committee for example, I believe many, many more lives would undoubtedly have been saved. Nurses have never, ever been more important.
This book is also a story about family. I wanted to talk about the bravery and courage of patients and family members, including my own. When I joined the Emergency Covid-19 register I was not feeling at all brave. But my children were. Parenting them has been the greatest privilege of my life. The Courage to Care follows the birth of my daughter and the process of adopting my son, what life has been like – and how much I have learned – as part of a single parent, mixed-race family. It also features my grandparents, parents, brother, and other families I’ve cared for – and learnt from – over the years. Caring for patients is one small part of nursing, but caring for families of patients is just as important. At this time, perhaps more than ever, family, and community, has become vital. We must hold on to that. When there is compassion, there is always hope.
Thank you for reading this story of patients, of nurses, and of family.
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