The Courage To Care: A Call For Compassion
By Christie Watson
Published by Chatto & Windus, 17th September 2020
Ironically, just after I started reading this, I ended up having totally unexpected emergency surgery and a four day stay in the Intensive Care Unit of my local hospital...
I had lots of time to talk to the nursing and the medical staff about what their work was like and how difficult it had been caring for large numbers of very unwell Covid 19 patients and dealing with their families.
This book rings so very true with all that was said to me, and I am full of respect and admiration for those nurses who every day step outside their comfort zones to provide not just nursing care, but also render emotional and mental health care for patients and their families.
We tend to think of nurses as primarily working in hospitals, GP surgeries/clinics and as community nurses, but this book explores the much wider range of work that nurses do, in our prisons, in the armed forces, in schools, in parishes and communities, in specific organisations dealing with disabilities, diseases and illnesses, palliative care, bereavement support and so much more. Christie's own career as a Paediatric Intensive Care nurse means she has seen things most of us never have and never will, thankfully, and had a considerable impact on how she initially worried about her own newborn daughter before settling into an equilibrium where she knew what really, really sick was from her work and when her children were or were not truly ill.
Motherhood and the later lengthy adoption process of her son allow us to see her worries about raising mixed-race children and the spectre of racism which exists even in 21st century Britain. Would you have thought that black women are far more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth than white women in this day and age in the UK?
This is a wonderful and thought-provoking book, which I enjoyed even more than her previous book, The Language Of Kindness.