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The First Cut

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Title: The First Cut

Author: Peter Sykes

Publisher: New Generation Publishing, 2011

Reviewer: Adam Fitzgerald, Staff Nurse, Cardiac HDU

 What was it like?

The first cut is a novel describing the anecdotes of a junior doctor both professionally and personally during their first year of becoming a doctor.

What were the highlights? 

The author, himself, a practising surgeon at around the time the book is set, provides a comedic yet heartfelt realisation of life as a new doctor through both professional matters to the first clash with the stern ward sister during the 1960s. Detailing from the first night on call in casualty to the romantic exploits with the nurses.


Strengths & weaknesses:

Peter Sykes’s book provides a book that constantly encourages you to read on to see what happens to the main character, a slightly shy new doctor. Although the author admits that the book is fictional it has been inspired slightly by staff and patients that he has known. The way that the book is written feels realistic to someone who has experience within the healthcare field. In addition to the description of life as a new doctor, the book also elaborates on the nursing profession during the 1960s showing some of the traditions that have long since departed such as at Christmas, and also how parts of the profession has been lost and how the profession has progressed compared with modern day nursing.

Who should read it?

This book would appeal to all. It is written in clear English with medical jargon explained in footnotes at the bottom of the page. Those who would most identify with the character though would be either staff or patients during the 1960s in an NHS hospital. This is because they would remember the atmosphere that appeared when matron walked onto the ward or their own experience being treated in a time where key hole surgery was still quite new.

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