book reviews

And finally, my review of Hurry Up Nurse: More adventures in the life of a student nurse by Dawn Brookes

I’ve been reading British author Dawn Brookes’ books about her training as a nurse in England, back in the late 70s and early 80s. I have just finished her third and final book on the subject, Hurry Up Nurse: More adventures in the life of a student nurse. Brookes, who “fell” into nursing as an eighteen year old back in 1977, went on to have a successful career. She started out as an “enrolled nurse”, which I understand is no longer a classification used in Britain. She went on to become a registered nurse, then a midwife.

The first book in this series is about Brookes’ initial training in her home town of Leicester. The second book is about her training at the London Chest Hospital. The third book is about her more advanced training in the south of England, where she spent most of her career. It was in the south of England that Brookes became a leader, rather than a staff nurse. Brookes writes that she eventually earned master’s degrees in nursing, but none of her books cover that story, and to be honest, after the third book, I’m not sure I’m that curious anymore.

As it was in her earlier books, Dawn Brookes has a pleasant, amiable tone in her writing as she relates anecdotes about working as a nurse in the 80s. She seems like a very caring, kind, and entertaining person. However, my observations about this third installment of her series about her nurse’s training remain the same as they were in my earlier reviews. Brookes does a lot of skimming over her topics and doesn’t really get too deep into the subject matter. The end result is that I’m not left with much of a lasting impression of what she’s trying to say.

I did learn another British euphemism, though. In one tale, Brookes writes about working with new mothers and their babies and how, back in the 80s, breastfeeding wasn’t necessarily pushed as a good thing. Brookes candidly writes that she kind of liked it when the moms declined to breastfeed; that way, she could feed the babies while mom had a “kip”. I had to look up the word “kip”, as I’d not run across it before. I assumed it means “nap”, which it does. But at least I know for sure.

Just as she did in her other two books, Brookes ended the third installment very abruptly. One minute, I was reading about her being grilled by a nursing instructor who was observing her work. Another, she’s passed, and the book is finished. Actually, this time I was more prepared. When I got to the sentence where she wrote she’d passed the observation, I knew the book would be ending on the next page. Sure enough, it did, but the ending was still sudden and a bit jarring. I think this book would have been better if Brookes had taken a little more time to prepare the reader for the crash ending. I also think that Brookes should consider consolidating the books into one volume and hire an editor. She has a story to tell, but her books don’t flow very easily and I think she adds too much irrelevant information without enough “meat” that would hook a reader who really wants to know about nurse’s training in Britain in the 70s.

Reading these books wasn’t a total waste of time, though. I did learn some new things, and Brookes isn’t a bad writer at all. I just think these books deserve some polish and readers deserve writing that is better edited and more fleshed out. And this last book, while to me somewhat more enjoyable than the second book was, seemed a bit like it was cobbled together, not unlike a second or third sequel for a movie. They’re usually done strictly for money and don’t stand up to the first installment.

Anyway, if you’re interested, the link to buy is below. I’m an Amazon Associate, so if you do purchase through my site, I will get a small commission from Amazon.

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