The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story (Paperback)Christie Watson (author)
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Former nurse Christie Watson draws back the bedside curtain on 20 years of care. From agonising sorrow to empathetic camaraderie, it's an account that's both immersive and humbling.
Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for January 2019
Following a 20-year career that included stints at Great Ormond Street Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, author and former nurse Christie Watson shares a personal, timely and indispensably important story that gives voice to those whose job it is to care for us at our most vulnerable and at our last.
Nursing is - or should be - an indiscriminate act of caring, compassion and empathy. It should be a reminder of our capacity to love one another. If the way we treat our most vulnerable is a measure of our society, then the act of nursing itself is a measure of our humanity. Yet it is the most undervalued of all the professions.
Moving through her twenty-year career in nursing, Christie recounts moments of intense and deeply moving experience; from nursing a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, to the pain and privilege of washing the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive.
For Christie, ‘both nursing and writing are about stepping into other shoes all the time’ and, in The Language of Kindness, she brings readers inside a closed circle of life at its most visceral, raw and vital. Drawing on her professional experience and on the profound impact of her father’s death from cancer, Christie turns a personal memoir into a quietly fervent examination of the necessity of care and what its value says about our society and who we are. ‘In an age where we have everything’, Christie argues, ‘when our living conditions are better, when our general health and education should be at a universally higher standard, we are suffering as never before.’ In the face of this, her book offers a beacon of hope, a reminder of the best in human nature. Poignant, tender and told with generosity of spirit, it is a book readers will want to press, insistently, into the hands of others.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 245 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 129 mm
'If it's taken a very long time to get a memoir written by a nurse, then it was certainly worth the wait. I have rarely read anything that has moved me as much or taken me by the hand so confidently into an unknown world, teeming with life and haunted by death... A remarkable book that I will be pressing on everyone I love.' - Allison Pearson, The Sunday Telegraph
'A powerful insight into the life of nurses.' - Robbie Millen, The Times
'It made me cry. It made me think. It made me laugh. It encouraged me to appreciate this most underappreciated of professions more than ever ... A gently remarkable book... it's a privilege to have Christie as our guide.' - Adam Kay, The Guardian
'A deeply compassionate book... It will leave you weeping as well as hopeful.' - Helen Davies, The Sunday Times
'An amazing book - terrifying at times, but tender and truthful. Let's be thankful for wonderful nurses - and writers - like Christie Watson.' - Jacqueline Wilson
'Compared with the recent rash of doctor memoirs, this is a far quieter and more thoughtful book.' - Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian
'I challenge anyone to get through all 336 pages without shedding a tear for what those who work in "the most undervalued of all professions" have to witness ... Expect her stories [...] to linger with you many days after the final chapter.' - Jackie Annesley, The Sunday Times
'A remarkable book about life and death and so brilliantly written it makes you hold your breath.' - Ruby Wax
'A poignant and powerful account of what it's like to be a nurse. It's a profession that touches all our lives delivering expert and compassionate care from the cradle to the grave. A must-read for nurses and those interested in understanding the true art and science of nursing.' - Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England
'Lyrical, moving ... Watson tackles grisly deaths and eccentric patients, but also the importance of comfort and empathy in nursing with engrossing results ... A nurse's voice has never really been heard before on this scale. Now's the time for it to ring out loud.' - Stylist
'A wise and tender book, by turns fierce, compassionate, and revelatory. It shows the joys and the difficulties of looking after people at their most vulnerable, and makes an urgent plea: as a society we have to care better for the nurses who care for us.' - Dr Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being
'A touching and thought-provoking memoir that makes an impassioned plea for the appreciation of the nursing profession ... [Watson] is an elegant, eloquent writer who brings an immediacy to her work. You are right there beside her all the way as she provides a fascinating insight into the trials and triumphs of life in an NHS hospital ... A rallying call for kindness and compassion that every one of us should embrace.' - Mernie Gilmore, The Daily Express
'There's one woman who is particularly inspiring me right now.... Christie Watson, who wrote this book called The Language of Kindness... She was an NHS nurse and it is an autobiographical book and it is absolutely breath-taking and it is incredibly affecting and I think it highlights the need for us to be helping nurses where we can. She just is an incredibly strong woman.' - Emilia Clarke
'Through Watson, we are taken on an absorbing, all-seeing tour through the doors of the hospital ... In Watson's honest memoir, we are reminded that we are all made from the same fibres and are all in this together, exploring the human condition and learning the language of kindness.' - Molly Case, The Observer
'Christie Watson is a remarkable writer turning her attention to a crucially important conversation. This book is eloquent, moving and searingly relevant to all of us.' - Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall
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