Thank you to Anne Cater book reviewer at Random Things Through My Letterbox for her lovely review.
“Although the majority of books that I read are fiction, I do try to read at least a couple of non-fiction every month; usually biographies.
I’m not a nurse, but have spent a lot of time around nurses in my life. I worked at a psychiatric hospital for many years, and my long-term medical condition has meant that I’ve been cared for by a wide assortment of nurses over the years. I have the greatest respect for the nursing profession, and have a particular fondness for books and TV programmes, both fiction and reality that concentrate on this subject.
I was really interested to read Josie’s review of The New Arrival at Jaffa Reads Too as Josie herself was a nurse and I felt that her experiences would flavour her feelings on this book. Josie really enjoyed it and I can honestly say that I’ve really loved reading about Sarah’s experiences too.
Sarah was only seventeen-years-old when she arrived as a student nurse at Hackney General Hospital. Sarah was well-educated, from a fairly wealthy family, and London’s East End was a whole new world for her. The fact that she stayed and completed her training when so many other students left is an indication of her strength of character and commitment to nursing that shines through her writing in this quite poignant and eye-opening memoir.
Times have changed within the NHS so much since Sarah’s training in the early 1970s; changed for women, changed for nursing as a whole, and changed for the patient. Long gone are the Matrons who ruled with a rod of steel, yet many of the problems within society are still with us, some would say that these are worsening. In the days of unheated houses and poverty, many of the illnesses that Sarah treated were to be expected, yet some of these illnesses and problems remain with us today, exacerbated by the financial crisis and difficult choices such as ‘heating or eating’ experienced by so many.
The New Arrival is a real joy to read. Sarah writes with warmth and humour about her experiences, and yes, about her successes. Her determination to ensure that she used her training for the best of others, rather than just for herself is palpable, and we as patients should remember and be grateful to all of those dedicated health workers who continue, against the odds, to provide such a magnificent service to us.
Historical, funny and memorable; The New Arrival is well written memoir, I enjoyed it very much.”