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There have been many attempts to describe what it is like to be a doctor. These books can be helpful to those thinking about becoming a doctor and to those who are new in the job. What book would you recommend to someone looking to be a doctor? Here are our top 5. Have you read some of them? Are there any glaring omissions? What are your favourites?
1. Bedside Stories: Confessions of a Junior Doctor - Michael Foxton
For two years, Michael Foxton wrote about his experiences as a junior doctor in the NHS for the Guardian. Vivid, hilarious and often alarming, his book has gone on to find a cult following among doctors and patients alike. His observations illuminate the quirks, horrors and delights of all aspects of doctoring, from casualty to the psychiatric ward. Foxton tells us what it really feels like to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and introduces us to a mixed cast of patient that includes the rude, the violent, and the outrageously flirtatious.
2. In Stitches: The Highs and Lows of Life as an A&E Doctor - Nick Edwards
Dr Nick Edwards writes with shocking honesty about life as an A&E doctor. He lifts the lid on government targets that led to poor patient care. He reveals the level of alcohol-related injuries that often bring the service to a near standstill. He shows just how bloody hard it is to look after the people who turn up at the hospital door. But he also shares the funny side - the unusual ‘accidents’ that result in with weird objects inserted in places they really should have ended up - and also the moving, tragic and heartbreaking.
3. Trust Me, I'm a (Junior) Doctor - Max Pemberton
Starting on the evening before he begins work as a doctor, this book charts Max Pemberton's touching and funny journey through his first year in the NHS. Progressing from youthful idealism to frank bewilderment, Max realises how little his job is about 'saving people' and how much of his time is taken up by signing forms and trying to figure out all the important things no one has explained yet -- for example, the crucial question of how to tell whether someone is dead or not.
4. Complications: A surgeon’s notes on an imperfect science - Dr Atul Gawande
Gently dismantling the myth of medical infallibility, Dr Atul Gawande's Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science is essential reading for anyone involved in medicine--on either end of the stethoscope. Medical professionals make mistakes, learn on the job and improvise much of their technique and self-confidence. Gawande's tales are humane and passionate reminders that doctors are people, too.
5. Bodies – Jed Mercurio
The unnamed narrator of Jed Mercurio's Bodies is a newly qualified house officer in a busy city hospital. He arrives with his ideals intact and a vision of what his career in medicine will be. Within a short time the relentless procession of sick and damaged patients, the long, wearying hours he is obliged to work, the cynicism of his colleagues and the constant presence of death and disease take their toll. His idealism vanishes.
In reply to Anonymous:
Agreed. This is a most amazing piece of literature. I think it is my favourite book of all time and should be compulsory reading for aspiring and practising doctors.
House of god, still use orthopaedic bed height as a safety issue most days!
I would strongly recommend Professor Rachel Naomi Remen's "Kitchen Table Wisdom - stories that heal" for those interested in the most important issues that they don't teach you at medical school. Her curriculum "The Healer's Art" is taught in many medical schools in the U.S.
I qualified in 1996 - HOUSE OF GOD is a must
The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life and Times of Dr Iwan James is an interesting take on the genre. It is a graphic novel that charts the troubles of Dr Iwan James, a GP working in a small town. The book is both funny and tragic in equal measures. www.myriadeditions.com/the_bad_doctor
In reply to Melody Grace Redman:
In reply to Athmaja Murali: