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Top 5 books about being a doctor

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.

 

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