Adam Kay was a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010, before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. He kept a diary throughout his training, and This Is Going to Hurt intersperses tales from the front line of the NHS with reflections on the current crisis. The result is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain, sacrifice and maddening bureaucracy, and a love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives in their hands.
This Is Going To Hurt needs to introduction I’m sure. A funny, shocking and at times sad account of life as a hectic junior doctor, Adam Kay entertainingly reveals what it’s really like to work for an over-stretched, but much-loved and treasured (by most of us, anyway), NHS.
I loved the way the book quickly moved from scene to scene and situation to situation, so if the current topic wasn’t exciting you it quickly moves on. Saying that, I found I enjoyed every single page of this and didn’t find any part that didn’t utterly engross me. Its one of those books where you wish it was a good 300 pages longer, because I could have read much more from his diary.
Adam Kay is talks is through his very first day as a junior doctor (starting off with lots of laughs which made me think ‘this is going to be a book I love’) through to rising up the ranks and sacrificing a lot personally along the way.
He takes us right through to the moment that made him walk away from medicine – definitely a sadder part of the book compared to the humour laced through much of the rest. As well as making me laugh, Kay also delivers a stark warning about the working conditions of junior doctors in the UK, something I was aware of but perhaps hadn’t had it really hit home until now. How on earth do they do it? Plus, it’s terrifying to think that the people who are expected to save our lives over and over again – with no thanks from senior staff or our government – are being so horrendously overworked. This frustrating treatment – and the subject matter itself, of course – means there are some sad and poignant moments among the funny ones. where I feel it’s worth pausing and taking a moment to really reflect on what Kay is saying.
I was worried I’d be in floods of tears whilst reading This Is Going To Hurt but I didn’t find as upsetting as I expected; instead it felt like a truly enjoyable, entertaining read which manages to be very thought-provoking at the same time. It’s utterly excellent and it’s crystal clear why this has been such a best seller.