Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Registrar by Neela Janakiramanan #BRPreview


The mental health of those who work in the health sector is in crisis.  Anyone who reads the news can attest to this.   

This is a fictional account of the crisis but grounded in truth.  The author has a wide experience working in the public health sector and her writing is authentic and convincing.   

We are carried on the whirlwind of Emma’s journey training to be a surgeon as a registrar.  The hours are relentless and unforgiving but Emma is all you would want in a trainee surgeon, brilliant but empathic.  Her baptism into the grueling work is made bearable by the support of her older brother, Andy.  He becomes her guide and chief counsel in times of unbearable stress.  

I was barracking for Emma all the way and incredulous at such a flawed system designed to trip up rather than support those in it.  Emma makes some poor choices personally but given the extraordinary challenges she faces on a daily basis, I think we can forgive her her occasional lapse of judgement. 

Light relief is provided by the description of the ludicrous attempts of the human resources department to band-aid the gaping wounds in the system.But they of course are not to blame.  The blame lies fairly and squarely in the hands of the surgeons themselves.  An outdated apprenticeship system, like a stack of cards, is doomed to collapse.  But will the system or its new recruits collapse first?  

This book is not for everyone.  There are some rather squeamish descriptions of operations and there are definitely a few trigger incidents in the story. But if you care deeply about surely one of the most important sectors in our country, you owe it to those who care for us in our darkest hours, to acknowledge their journey and its challenges.

I was lucky enough to be selected for a review copy of this book through Better Reading. Thank you @betterreadingau! #BRPreview

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