The StN Project

Book Review of How To Treat People by Molly Case

This stand-alone book gives a true insight into the life of a nurse, capturing touching scenes from her time as a student nurse through to her wedding day. Case does the story of the early days of her career justice. Throughout the book, Case discusses the experiences she has accumulated with patients over her career, how these have influenced her path, impacted on her practice and changed the way she sees different aspects of life.  

As a student nurse who came into nursing straight after A Levels, I always love hearing about how other people ended up in the profession. Case’s story is part of the brilliant diversity that nursing as a profession has to offer, with no two people having the same entry pathway! After completing her undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and English Literature, Case started work in a caring role for people living with dementia. After some time in this role she decided to change career paths and pursue a career in nursing. Her early days of working as a care support worker are something Case looks back on fondly throughout the book, she shows us these early days to give us as readers something to reflect on as we see Case develop into the nurse and skilled wordsmith we know today.  

Of the experiences that Case retells, there is one in particular which resonated with me most significantly. At the time of reading this book I was coming to the end of my placement on a stroke and neurological ward which is likely why this story hit me harder than others. Case tells us about an older man called Ranjit who was found unconscious by his wife in their home, due to being unresponsive for an unknown period his brain had be starved of oxygen which led to brain damage. Whilst in the ward recovering from his brain damage, Ranjit’s wife (Chandra) would be at his side each day, talking to him in Hindi about their children, their future trips to India, and their lives. During one of these days where Chandra spent time with Ranjit she spoke about their daughter achieving a first class honours in her degree which meant she would be going on to become a teacher, Ranjit tears up and whispers their daughters name, the first word he had spoken since being brought into the hospital. This poignant scene had me in tears, it was so moving and touching, as I had myself worked with patients over the seven weeks of placement who had gone from non-verbal to singular words to short sentences. That first clear utterance is something that just reaches into your soul and lights it up. It is moments like that which make being a nurse, suffering the sore feet and achey backs after long shifts, seeing patients make progress, gain autonomy and independence they had lost, and just support them through their recovery and health journeys.  

I highly recommend this book, for all types of readers. It is insightful, raw, and handles serious topics with delicacy and care of a nurse handling a neonate. Molly Case’s work is beautiful and should be read and valued by as many as possible, she is a treasure to the nursing community.  

Fleur Pomponne (@theveganldnurse) 2nd Year LD Nursing Student

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