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Telling it like it is through the world of comedy

Former junior doctor turned comedian Adam Kay has nurses questioning when will the C for compassion extend to staff in the NHS?

Former junior doctor turned comedian Adam Kay has nurses questioning when will the C for compassion extend to staff in the NHS?

Many healthcare professionals will undoubtedly have been attracted to the current best-selling, highly-publicised book This is going to hurt: Secret diaries of a junior doctor, by Adam Kay, a former senior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology.


Picture: iStock

With a title suggestive of something mid-way between The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ and a Carry On film, Kay’s one-man stage adaptation certainly had the audiences laughing in the aisles when I recently attended his show.

Throughout the show and the book – which I had already devoured, there is much hilarity, with tales of strange and unexplained objects in various bodily orifices, humorous anecdotes of hospital bureaucracy gone mad, and recollections of the funny things that patients say. Essentially, things that all emergency nurses can relate to.

Negatives more relatable 

Sadly, many can also relate to the less joyful side of Adam Kay’s experiences.

His story tells a tale of a conscientious and committed healthcare professional who is slowly but surely ground down by the long hours and hard slog.

The shifts that never finish on time, the personal sacrifices that generally are not demanded of those in a nine to five job, the poor financial recompense for the job done, and the broken relationships that couldn’t take the strain. Then the disenchantment and bitterness that can set in.  

NHS loss

When Adam Kay spoke of the moment that led to him relinquishing his medical career you could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium.

Ultimately, this highly-skilled and caring professional was a loss for the NHS.

In many respects, this will not be an unfamiliar story to those working at the ‘deep end’ and I am sure that in common with me, many people left the theatre that night wondering, ‘when will the C for compassion extend to staff in the NHS?’.


About the author

Lorna McInulty is senior lecturer in emergency and unscheduled care at the University of Central Lancashire

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