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Trust Me, I'm a (Junior) Doctor

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In the vein of the best 'blog books' - the real life story of a hapless junior doctor, based on his columns written anonymously for the Telegraph.

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Max Pemberton

79 books41 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Max Pemberton is a doctor, journalist and writer. He is based in London and works in mental health.

He is a columnist for The Daily Telegraph, writing weekly on news events concerning culture, social and ethical issues, the politics of health care and the NHS. He is also a columnist for Reader’s Digest and a regular contributor to the Mail On Sunday.

He has also written two books. His first, Trust Me I’m A (junior) Doctor was serialised on Radio 4 Book of the Week and charted his first year of life as a doctor on the NHS wards. His second book, Where Does It Hurt? details his experiences of working in an outreach project for the homeless and people addicted to drugs. It tells the stories of the people he met and his own journey as he tries to discover if one

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5 stars
1,752 (36%)
4 stars
1,958 (40%)
3 stars
924 (19%)
2 stars
154 (3%)
1 star
40 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 207 reviews
Profile Image for Arna.
161 reviews261 followers
June 15, 2020
Doctors and nurses are truly amazing. Review coming soon
Profile Image for Petra X played the long game - and won.
2,383 reviews33.9k followers
May 6, 2015
There are so many just-qualified, first-time-in-A&E memoirs out there, that to stand out the book has to be really different from the rest of the genre. And this one isn't.

Its enjoyable enough to read, but I've read so many, and this one has no insights unusual anecdotes to relate. I do wonder whether the author remained a doctor or went into writing full-time though, since he wasn't exactly sold on medicine.

Profile Image for Katie.
383 reviews9 followers
August 15, 2019
This would be between a 4 and a 4.5 for me.

I love medical memoirs. The NHS is something which I love and have a strong interest in and I really enjoy books like this which give you a deep and meaningful insight in to the wonderful and crazy life that is the NHS.

It had just the right balance of humour and emotion and I struggled putting it down once I’d picked it up. There are two more books in this series and I can’t wait to read them.
Profile Image for Nicole.
862 reviews315 followers
March 2, 2021
A very honest, real and eye opening account of the life of a junior doctor.

Parts of this book were really funny. I think I have a very similar humor to Max, so some of the stories in this book made me chuckle a lot.

There were also some very sad and sobering stories which were difficult to read. However, I think the balance was just right.

This book was very easy to read and follow.

I also loved getting to know Max's fellow junior doctors and their experiences. You get a very detailed insight into the incredible work they do everyday.

I didn't realise when buying this book that it was written in 2007, meaning some of the details about the structure of the NHS has changed a lot since publication.

Overall, a very honest, funny and eye opening account into the life of a junior doctor. Highly recommend.

TW: real life accounts of death, injury, disease, suicide references, domestic violence and mental illness
Profile Image for Jess.
66 reviews3 followers
April 6, 2021
A very easy read, sort of scary because although it’s not 100% autobiographical it’s all based on his years as a junior doctor and it’s scary to see what we’re going to have to do, I enjoyed it though made me laugh
Profile Image for Anne.
2,040 reviews1,028 followers
May 5, 2012

Published in 2008, this is Max Pemberton's account of his first year as a doctor, working as a Junior Doctor in a large hospital. He had a regular newspaper column during that time, and this book is taken from that.
This account is so funny in places that I spluttered and snorted on more than one occasion, but the strange thing is that although it really is funny, it shouldn't be. I know that things in the NHS and the conditions for Junior Doctors have changed in the years since this book was written, and that's only a good thing, but reading through this diary made me feel sad, and angry at times. After six years at medical school, newly qualified Doctors were thrust onto the wards of hospitals, and onto unsuspecting patients and expected to be able to do everything. Putting up with snotty Consultants, over-worked and jaded nurses and surviving on very little sleep, it's a wonder that the NHS have any Doctors left at the end of their first year.
Throughout this book, Max Pemberton's compassion for people shines through, the little things that he did for patients were probably appreciated the most and despite his exhaustion, he continued to care.
I've had a fair bit of experience of the NHS over the past 25 years, both as a patient and as an employee and I think I've met alot of the people in this book! Well, certainly a lot of people who were very similar. I've seen the obnoxious Consultant who swept onto the ward a couple of times a week, who humiliated the junior doctors and spoke to me (the patient) as if I were stupid. I've seen the Junior Doctor who used to try and get 10 minutes sleep in the sluice room at the back of the ward. I've also seen the care and compassion of staff - nurses and doctors alike.
I really enjoyed this read and look forward to reading Max Pemberton's other books.
Profile Image for Thomas Jancis.
42 reviews16 followers
June 7, 2009
I brought this book for my little sister who is doing her damn best to get the A2 marks to be able to train as a doctor. (And don’t ask what field. She wants to get into the school before she has to worry about that).
She seemed to enjoy it and it ended up in the car as a “stakeout” book. I would page through as I waited for people to get in the car.
By mad chance I read three quarters of it in a hospital as I helped my mother take my grandfather to an appointment.
I do enjoy these kinds of books where you can see people’s feelings on what is a hard and sometimes unrewarding job. Because it’s true. You WILL kill someone eventually.
Although I have to say I found the saga of the “Ash Cash” unbelievable as I was reading it and thought “This is unlikely…BASED on true facts. That explains a lot.”
And funnily enough this book was the one that convinced me to finally start to write a journal. I too want to have a Radio Four Book of the Week.
I like to think I have a bit of an understanding of the massive task my sis has taken on her tiny shoulders.
11 reviews
August 23, 2020
Readable but I’m biased as read Adam Kays book and thought it was much funnier - sorry Max!
584 reviews70 followers
November 18, 2020
Beautiful, wonderful, funny and sad. I love reading about the inner workings of the NHS, and this book was no exception. It gives me an insight into the job I hope to do in the future.
Profile Image for Gill Thorpe.
116 reviews1 follower
January 14, 2023
A book full of medical anecdotes as we follow a junior doctor in his first year in a hospital. Some of the stories are funny; some matter of fact and some are heartbreaking. This book was written over 15 years ago and yet there are lots of familiar topics….bed blocking; too many patients in A&E; paying for hospital parking; not enough doctors; targets that make things more difficult and not necessarily better. It seems that not much has changed, but makes you realise that we should all be very grateful for the NHS.
2 reviews
February 13, 2022
very enjoyable read made being a junior doctor sound like absolute hell. best way of putting it is an interesting set of diary entries. i recommend.
Profile Image for Georgina.
377 reviews8 followers
August 6, 2018
Absolutely brilliant, that may sound bizarre to say that about a book based in a hospital but as someone who is in hospital alot due to chronic pain it's nice to read about the people behind the doctors uniform. They are so busy rushing around sometimes as a patient you barely learn your doctors name.
This was insightful and I hope to see more of these books around. The blood sweat and tea series was brilliant and I'd hoped this would be of the same standard even though it was by a different author as that was part of what influenced me to try this. Although I'm surprised max and Ruby didn't become a couple
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Inês.
471 reviews25 followers
July 14, 2019

In this book Max narrates his experiences as a junior doctor, a just off-the-box new doctor, in the NHS in England. I'm also a brand new doctor myself, and I've experienced in the last six months what is to become a part of an hospital for the first time.
I could really see myself in Max's views of the world and opinions. When we're let out of medical school we know a lot about a serires of diseases we will never encounter in our lives, but we know next to nothing about the pratical aspects of it; in my first day in A&E, in January, I didn't even know how to operate the computer system, or where anything was. It's scary, and Max puts perfectly into words what it's like, the highs and the lows of it all.
It's a funny book, I like his sense of humor, and a very quick read.
3 reviews
August 20, 2018
I downloaded this book by accident looking for This Is Going To Hurt and I'm really glad I did. Read both of them back to back and enjoyed them both.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
83 reviews5 followers
May 18, 2020
I really enjoyed this book. The author describes this book as both fiction and an autobiography which means that he has changed some parts of his story to keep the details of his patients and friends private. I really liked how this book was divided into months of the year, as well as days within the months, which gave it a journal feel. I learnt a lot about the NHS in this book, as well as the pressures that are put on junior doctors when they have just graduated out of medical school
Profile Image for Chloë Dowman.
103 reviews
May 13, 2022
A great (and at times alaming) insight into life as a junior doctor. I don't know how they do it but we should all be grateful that they do!
535 reviews3 followers
July 4, 2020
An amusing and sometimes shocking account of the ups and downs of life as a junior doctor in the NHS. Probably not a good read for a medical student or NHS patient come to that !
Profile Image for Shaika Subah  Shreya .
148 reviews5 followers
April 15, 2019
I read This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay recently and I picked this up as soon as I saw it since they are both similar and I loved the former one. This, too, was an insightful and interesting chronicle of the author's first year as a doctor in the NHS. It takes a little time to warm up to the book but it is quite captivating once you do.

There were also some glint of new information in this book about NHS. The provision surrounding NHS services by private companies and how they are affecting health care, impact of fewer nurses and things that we don't even consider when health care is taken into account. My only criticism with this book was that I found Max Pemberton a little bit whiny which was understandable but it kind of swayed the tone of the book.

My Rating: 3.5
Profile Image for Mary.
99 reviews5 followers
July 10, 2020
This was a very recent and very timely read. There a lot of medical memoirs being published at the moment but this one dates back to 2007 when the author was unleashed into hospital training after qualifying as a junior doctor. ⁣

Like Adam Kay’s books, this is related in no holds barred diary entries. This is a really candid look at the way our brand new doctors are thrown in right at the sharp end of medicine when they are expected to suddenly start treating patients and know everything despite having just sat their final exams. Hospital managers and administrative bureaucracy get their fair share of criticism (rightly so in my opinion!) as Pemberton passionately explains why the NHS should be a not for profit organisation. ⁣

This is a funny, engaging, and heartfelt memoir. As we’re more reliant on the NHS than ever to get us through this crisis I would definitely recommend it - just ignore the endorsement from Boris Johnson at the back. ⁣

Profile Image for Miffy.
168 reviews1 follower
October 30, 2011
This was my third time reading this and I felt that I could relate to it a lot more than I used to, since I am now a medical student. I really love how Max Pemberton has made it accessible and readable to the general public and people in medical professions alike. It made me laugh, smile and occassionally upset me a bit.
Profile Image for Phoebe.
6 reviews
December 23, 2020
This was my first ever medical book I picked up, and after a few pages, it caught my attention. I loved the style of the diary like entries, and how dr max managed his daily tasks in his own hilarious, witty way. It didn’t shy away from some cold realities, and had the emotional and lessons leant moments in the book, which made the book great overall!
Profile Image for Olivia Agnew.
9 reviews
May 5, 2022
Not too long and v interesting. It’s a biographical story of his year as a junior doctor, really enjoyed.
Profile Image for Joulez.
143 reviews1 follower
October 19, 2020
So I actually managed to go away on holiday this year, and forgot to take my book with me, so this was one of them impulsive buys that you get cause you know you need a book.

I had heard from my sister that she had enjoyed this book and she knew I would like it. Now I work in a hospital, not as a doctor, I'm one of the admin assisstants there (it's a very fun job), so seeing them portrayed in this I can hoenstly say that we do actually have days like that. We're we want nothing more than to just sit, laugh and have a cuppa with some biscuits. But do know that we are alway willing to help when the doctors/consultants/etc come a calling.

So I got this book, it said that it would be laugh out loud funny on the book, I have yet to come across a book that says this and I actually do laugh out loud. This is another one of them books, where it said it, but it wasn't that funny. Yes I smiled in some places and the book kept me entertained, but....I, in my opinion, wouldn't class this as laugh out loud funny. Or maybe it is, but it just wasn't my type of humour.

I enjoyed the book, I loved the layout oft he book, I felt like I read it at super speed. So I really liked that a month was a chapter, and in that chapter was the days. Really easy read and you really felt for all the junior doctors. I've been a receptionist at a GP surgery when that new term starts for the Baby!doctors your heart kind of goes out to them, you always end up holding their hands for that first week, then away they go. So that really came across in this book.

I really enjoyed reading it, it was quick read.
Profile Image for Shubhada.
46 reviews
March 31, 2020
Very humorous, having pockets of laughter tucked away almost every alternate page. I like the stories of doctors, stories that doctors tell and the stories that doctors are afraid to tell. Saloni will be going through all of these, and I want to know the kind of life she will have in the future.

Invariably, my mind goes back to Adam Kay's "This is Going to Hurt". It was disturbing to see such a brilliant doctor leave the path. Dr Pemberton in this book narrates the uphill task of being a junior doctor in the NHS, rather hilariously. I asked Saloni, if this is what is going to happen to her, and if this is the reality how Ali Abdal is able to post so many videos and is able to do so many things besides being a doctor. And she said the condition has improved a bit. She also added that you have to have a very strong reason in the first place to apply for the medicine. Then only one can survive the hardships of being a doctor.

Anyway, I liked the book, it kept me laughing. Even though Dr Pemberton mentions that this could be facts mixed with fiction, all the anecdotes seem very real, human and few times bewildering. Personally, I like the concept of having NHS. We do not have that luxury in my country. For that matter, we do not have many things Dr has mentioned in the book.

It's a good book, which cements the trust on the doctors and their intentions.
23 reviews
April 30, 2022
If you have read Adam Kay's, "This is going to hurt" then I fully recommend this read. This is a similar book but written at least ten years prior - some things in medicine with junior doctors have changed since this book was written in 2007, but the read is still real, honest and true about the author's experiences as a junior doctor.

It reads pretty much like an episode of scrubs, but everything about this is real, honest and truthful about what it feels like to be working as a junior doctor in the NHS (in 2007).

The writing style was straightforward and easy to read and I found myself really feeling connected to the author and the other junior doctors, surgeons and consultants as well as the patients in the book. It reminds us that we are all only human and how we can bounce back from our mistakes.

It addresses moral questions, politics, mental health, hospital accomodation, working hour weeks and social issues surrounding homelessness, alcoholism and much more.

It's a very eye-opening read and some of the issues addressed in the book still occur today.

I highly recommend the read and enjoyed this one so much that I want to read the other two books written by the author to see where his adventures took him after this book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 207 reviews

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