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How to Treat People: A Nurse's Notes

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A fascinating and poignant memoir of the body and its care, told through the experiences of a young nurse.

As a teenager, Molly Case underwent an operation that saved her life. Nearly a decade later, she finds herself in the operating room again—this time as a trainee nurse. She learns to care for her patients, sharing not only their pain, but also life- affirming moments
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  187 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
A lovely medical memoir about Molly's journey into nursing. First, she has an operation as a teenager and now working on the hospital wards, she shares her journey about studying Creative Writing/English at Uni alongside working as a care-worker in a nearby nursing home and also her feelings on life and death. Raw and emotional, I enjoyed and appreciated hearing her experiences. Would recommend!
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“a still patient whose chest is silent is far more frightening than any other sound.”

Part memoir, part science; the connection between nurse and patient, the empathy, the kindness, the moments shared is what it means to be a nurse - this book was a pleasure to read.

As well as sharing her professional experiences, Molly shares her personal ones too (the other side, if you like) when her father is admitted to the high dependency unit where she works.

I loved the medical history interspersed
3.5 rounded down

A solid addition to the medical memoir sub-genre, How to Treat People offers a slightly different perspective compared to the previous books I've read in this genre - that of a nurse. What I took away from this was that nurses have a slightly different relationship with patients than that of surgeons and doctors/GPs, and Case's book is written with true compassion for her patients in their time of need. Her experiences at work are interwoven with her father's and her own medical
I read the first 77 pages. Her writing about her nursing training and the patients she encountered is pleasant enough, but I found the structure (Airway – Breathing – Circulation – Disability – Exposure) clichéd and too similar to the Aoife Abbey book I DNFed earlier in the year. If you’re going to read a book about nursing it might as well be Christie Watson’s The Language of Kindness.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read in hardback. This is my first medical true book that I have. Molly Case explains in detail finding her granny dead and five years later she saw her second dead body on her first ward, on her first morning within her first hour of nurse training.

I too see my first dead body when I was serving tea and coffee, at a hospital, when no nurse informed me that a lady had died, there I stood talking to a dead lady asking her if she would like tea or coffee. I do think that a nurse could have
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Molly deftly describes and humanises nursing. Personal and professional stories interweave, culminating in heart-wrenching moments, and sometimes funny ones too. There are moments of pure poetry and yet also a truthful, plain quality to the writing as she does not shy away from the realities of nursing. Always respectful and deeply caring you can feel how much she connects with her job and the people she meets.

A definite recommendation for those interested in nursing, medicine or who have
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How to treat people is Case’s love letter to the nursing profession, her father and her patients. It’s full of stories that evocatively describe our relationship with each other and how each action can positively affect a person’s life.

The stories collated using the nursing assessment criteria ABCDE and throughout Case weaves patient experiences with her own, her father was admitted to the same unit she worked at and had to have cardiac surgery.

How to treat people is a wonderfully rich read,
James Wann
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in just a couple of days. It is wonderfully crafted; split up into sections by ABCDE (a nurse's examination checklist). Case makes the esoteric familiar so that her complex medical experiences are accessible for the rest of us. At times it's tragic, at times it's funny, but it's always gentle and respectful.

Tender moments, like feeling her father's Old Holborn breath against her cheek, pre-empt and contextualise the experiences and responsibilities of her job. They introduce us
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: all interested in nursing or medicine, or life in suburban England
Shelves: biography, medical
This was a fine book describing the experiences a young nurse had in England, both with her family in the hospital and with patients on the wards. She uses the ABCDE method of patient evaluation as the basis for her book.
Clair Sharpe
This is a medical memoir, a genre I am thrilled is being populated by lots of moving and informative books. The author, Molly Case studied English Literature and creative writing at Bath University and while there worked as a care worker in a residential facility for people with Alzheimer's. She discovered her natural calling, deciding to train as a nurse.
How to Treat People details her experiences as a nurse. She details her own experiences of a rare gastrointestinal disorder as a teenager and
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought the language of this book was overly flowery - that put me off at times and it seemed self-conscious. The stories themselves were really interesting and moving. But I also felt that some bits may have been a little embellished. I would have liked a section at the end that explained how she anonymised the patients. For example, some of the detail was identifiable, e.g. the patient had this nationality, had this occupation, and had this condition, at this hospital. Surely the only reason ...more
Gavin Shiers
Fantastic read
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The writer really poured her heart into the book with good and bad memories of being a nurse and a daughter.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm not going to lie this book was really hard for me to get into. Because of the title, I was expecting more depth and for this to be more on the ethics of nursing in a more metaphoric way. It was not like that. It was literally a book of a nurse's notes and after reading, "When Breathe Becomes Air" (which is in the same genre: medical memoir), I was expecting so much more profundity.
This novel was definitely more science/fact based than I expected and it spoke more on literally how to treat
Beth Ann Ditkoff
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is a lovely ode to nurses and healthcare teams. The author, Molly Case, weaves her personal life and nurse's training with individual sections devoted to patient care/clinical vignettes. The book is structured around the ABCs of patient assessment--airway, breathing, circulation, disability and exposure. Throughout the text, Case's voice demonstrates the humility, altruism and intellectual curiosity that it takes to be a successful and compassionate health care provider. Case's ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Overall a good read. Love the structure: ABCDE. In general, I love behind-the-scenes narrative and terms, and this book did not disappoint. AVPU: now I understand why you first hear "the patient is alert."

The memoir aspect of the story didn't capture me the same way, but I like the mention of having to separate nurse-Molly from daughter-Molly when her father becomes a patient.

The narrative sometimes felt fragmented and disjointed. There was some unnecessary repetition (as if there was an
Denise Chojnacki
Medical memoirs are always a favorite of mine. This particular one was good but I just never felt completely drawn in for some reason. The author wove the ABCDE protocol that staff uses when assessing patients. This was broken down into different chapters. There also was a personal experience shared about her father where she applied the formula to. I think it was just a bit too segmented for me going back and forth between her father and the other stories, which were all very interesting. The ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in 2 days. It is so well written, it’s hard to put down. Molly shows a compassion and empathy towards her patients whilst still maintaining her professionalism. To also include what has happened in her personal life let’s the reader really get to know her. She includes just enough medical and scientific information to be better informed but not disinterested. She really is the health care professional that I would want looking after my loved ones. I just hope that Molly ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I generally like medical writing, but something about this memoir wasn’t right for me. Maybe I expected it (due to the title) to be more about the connection nursing allows with patients, or about empathy...and while it did have aspects of those more metaphorical themes, it focused much more on literal patient care (assessment, testing, procedures) than I expected, and I struggled to feel its relevance as a non-nurse.
Sophy H
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book by Molly Case. You can tell this girl is a born writer. Her experiences of nursing are expertly handled in a beautifully descriptive, intellectual and engaging style. Her patient recollections are treated with tenderness, empathy and understanding; and her medical knowledge is imparted in a sensitive and humble manner.

A real treat of a book and she does us cardiac lot proud. You go Molly.
Madison Deppe
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it

A quiet and pleasant sort of relaying of stories. A nice insight into the life and different days of a nurse.

I found she skipped around a fair bit between personal anecdotes and work stories, and, to me, sometimes the tether connecting her personal stories or comparisons were just too unrelated.
Haneen Alashram
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved the stories and the information provided in the book. It made me emotional at times. But I found it fragmented, and I found the switch between the medical narration and the storytelling abrupt. It felt like it was a group of many beautiful puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit together.
Fiona Johnston
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a book that a lot of people should read as it reminds us about the human side of health care from the nurse’s viewpoint. I sometimes think people forget that nurses and doctors are humans with feelings and they do such a difficult job.
Kerrie-louise Phillips
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book 26 for me for this year I’m always drawn to work related books and medical memoirs, and Molly is so talented in her written and spoken word , that combined with the empathy and compassion of a Nurse makes beautiful writing .
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Rebecca Cooper
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fabulous, hyper- sensitive union of fact and poetry. I highly recommend this book.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked it. It felt a little fragmented, but the stories were poetically written.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not what I expected but enjoyable and easy read.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
A bit too self interested. I usually love medical biographies but didn’t finish this.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very very clear poetic prose. Excellent title. It is indeed what you get.
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Molly Case was born and raised in London, where she works as a cardiac nurse specialist at St. George’s Hospital. Also a poet and spoken-word artist, her works have appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, the Times, Elle, and the Huffington Post.