Hurry Up Nurse

Memoirs of Nurse Training in the 1970's

Non-Fiction - Memoir
238 Pages
Reviewed on 03/03/2017
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Author Biography

Dawn Brookes, author; avid reader.
Dawn grew up in Leicester, England and later moved to London. She worked in the NHS in England for the best part of thirty-nine years and during that time gained a wide range of experience as well as qualifications. Her memoir called 'Hurry up Nurse' is about her experiences as a trainee nurse in the 1970s and early 1980s, it describes the formidable personalities met while training and hospital life during that era. It is written with humour and compassion and is a great read.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Hurry Up Nurse: Memoirs of Nurse Training in the 1970's is a non-fiction memoir written by Dawn Brookes. Brookes has worked with the National Health Service for thirty-nine years, receiving training and certification as both a State Enrolled Nurse and a Registered General Nurse. The stories and anecdotes found within this memoir are based upon her experiences in each of these nursing capacities. When the interviewing committee asked her why she wanted to be a nurse, Brookes had to reach for an answer. Having been blessed with a relatively healthy constitution, she hadn’t really thought about what nurses do and why she wanted to be one. What she did know was that she wanted to help others when they "were at their most vulnerable, when they are ill." That sincere, if off-the-cuff, answer, combined with her passing scores on the entrance exam, were sufficient to gain her access to the two-year course of training to become a State Enrolled Nurse. Brookes had been given the idea of going into nursing by a close friend, who had had to interrupt and abandon her own nurse’s training due to health issues. Her friend had always regretted not continuing for her certification, and Brookes, in a way, was doing it for her. What she soon discovered, however, was that she loved nursing, even with the low pay, irregular hours and the dreaded sluice room. Nursing was everything her friend had said it was -- and more.

I've always had tremendous respect for those dedicated women and men who enter the nursing profession. They're in the front lines and up personal with the patients in a way that no other medical professional is. Brookes' story pulls no punches; there are anecdotes about the less-than-savory aspects of nursing and marvelous tales about pranks, adventures and good comradeship. Brookes is a marvelous, intuitive storyteller; her book reads beautifully, and I found myself enjoying every last bit of it. I especially appreciated seeing life and culture in England during the 1970s through her stories, and sharing in her experiences as she studied and trained for her profession. Brookes writes in an easy, conversational style that makes her book a difficult one to put down, and, having reached the end, I began hoping for more stories from this talented author and dedicated medical professional. Hurry Up Nurse: Memoirs of Nurse Training in the 1970's is an awesome, heartfelt and inspiring read that is most highly recommended.

Charles Remington

Hurry up Nurse! is a charming memoir by Dawn Brookes covering her early life, school years and various short term jobs before she took the plunge and enrolled as a student nurse. Told in a clear, uncomplicated narrative style, Dawn takes us through her student days and introduces us to the many characters she encountered during her training in the early seventies, and onward to her final qualification and move to London. She describes with great skill her assignments to orthopedic, medical and scary psychiatric wards, the constant rush to keep up with the heavy workload, the distressing encounters with broken or terminally ill patients, but also the the good times and sometimes the funny side of the job. But perhaps what comes across best from this endearing book is the pride she obviously takes in being employed in a caring profession and the joy of her daily work, in spite of the long hours alternating between early, late and night shifts, the low pay and often feeling almost dead on her feet. It is somewhat humbling to realise that such selfless individuals fill the ranks of the medical profession.

Hurry up Nurse! is a great addition to a popular genre. Dawn Brookes seems to have picked up where Jennifer Worth (Call the Midwife etc.) left off with her experiences of nursing in the fifties and sixties, and one would hope she achieves similar popular success. I am a little older than Dawn Brookes, but grew up in England during the same period and circumstances so found her memoir delightfully evocative. She is an accomplished storyteller - her style of writing is relaxed and easy on the senses and I am hopeful that she will follow up this book with further reminiscences. Hurry up Nurse! is a pleasant, informative read and I do not hesitate to recommend it.

Ray Simmons

Hurry Up Nurse by Dawn Brookes is a delightfully entertaining and informative book. I feel as if I know Dawn. I feel as if I know the essence of what it is to live the life of a professional nurse. Nursing is a profession I thought about trying when I was younger, simply because it pays well, you help others, and it’s always in demand, wherever you might choose to go. I did not choose to go that route, but after reading Dawn’s memoir I feel I know what it would have been like. I feel I know what I missed. I liked Hurry Up Nurse! I liked it very much. Even better, I like Dawn. I like her beginning, I like her journey. I like the person and professional she has become. She is the kind of person that it would be fun to exchange anecdotes with over a pleasant meal. I hope I get to meet her one day. I hope any time I need a nurse, that nurse is as compassionate and professional as Dawn Brookes.

What I like most about Hurry Up Nurse is the way Dawn wrote it. Her tone is perfect for the book. It’s perfect for her life. I guess I thought I would be reading a book about nursing, but this is the story of an extraordinary woman’s life. To be fair though, this story would not be such a satisfying read if the writer did not love her job, and was not satisfied with her life. Rich in detail, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, Hurry Up Nurse is always real and warm. If you are a young person contemplating going into this field, this is a must-read. But anyone who enjoys reading realistic life stories should pick it up just for fun. You will meet a great person.

Mamta Madhavan

Hurry Up Nurse: Memoirs of Nurse Training in the 1970's by Dawn Brookes is an engaging memoir, a collection of anecdotes based on the author’s experiences of nurse training during the 1970s and early 1980s. The book captures the life of the nurses in the NHS hospital wards where they were always in demand and hurrying from one patient to another. The author manages to recreate the events, localities, and conversations from memory, providing readers with a good insight into hospital life at the time. She also makes mention of the turbulent years of growing up while coming to terms with the discipline of nurse training and the shift work that is required as part of the training and working as a nurse.

The book captures many important as well as interesting moments in the author’s life. It is a must-read for all those who want to become nurses, who are already nurses, and who were nurses as there is a lot they would like to know and relate to. The author’s nostalgia is tangible as she shares the personal moments of her life - some happy, some sad - with readers. The author is honest, straightforward, and direct as she speaks about her time as a nurse. Her fluidity of expression as she narrates the stories makes the memoir a good read and makes it fast paced. The author’s journey, her way with words, and her sense of humor make this memoir an entertaining one. The author has handled the topic in such a manner that readers will find the memoir interesting.