Book review of This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

Working in the NHS, I’ve wanted to read This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay for quite some time. I finally picked up recently and it was so interesting to read from the point of someone who has worked in the NHS for about 2.5 years now.

Book review of This Is Going To Hurt
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This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay is essentially a book of chosen diary entries from Kay himself of his time working for the NHS as a Junior Doctor from 2004 to 2010. It’s a fascinating look into the workings of the NHS and the less-than-glamorous lives that the majority of doctors actually work in the NHS.

This Is Going To Hurt plot – 5/5

How do you rate the plot of a book that is literally real-life diary entries? Well, I’ve decided to rate it on two separate factors: which diary entries he chose and how well he wrote those entries.

This Is Going To Hurt takes us through the brief six-year career of Adam Kay as a Junior Doctor at his local hospital. it shows us a bleak and brutally honest way in which the NHS system in the UK is run – often there are more human errors than we can manage and it can be a place where you really have to love what you do if you continue.

I Imagine Kay tweaked the entries for This Is Going To Hurt to be slightly wittier and slightly funnier. I don’t doubt that at the time, they were witty and great anecdotes but there’s doubt that to put them in a book, he’s likely reworded them to make them clearer.

The stories Kay has chosen are brilliant. On one hand, they seem almost unbelievable at times and quite farfetched, but on the other, they really show the madness of working on medicine and, having spoken to a few NHS friends, it seems if you work in healthcare long enough, you do tend to come out with some fairly incredible stories.

This Is Going To Hurt characters – 4/5

Adam Kay is a fascinating doctor. Early on he states that he has a rather dry and witty sense of humour – it’s the way he chooses to be with patients because that’s how he is in his normal life.

This wit and intelligence shine through in his diary entries and makes the book not only fascinating but very enjoyable. If you’re someone who’s offended by rude words or dark humour, you may find this book a tad unsettling. However, I imagine you have to have a sense of humour like this to be able to withstand some of the stress and horrible events you have to deal with.

Kay chooses to remove any full names who wanted to be removed from the book by replacing them with their first initial. There’s some element of “ooh, that was me!” that could definitely happen here, but due to the anonymity, there’s no real proof it would be you. Either way, this is a fascinating read with some brilliant characters that come and go – some horrible, some pure and kind and others just plain weird.

This Is Going To Hurt summary – 4/5

I thought This is Going to Hurt was a fascinating look into the lives of Junior Doctors in the NHS. Working in the NHS, I know things aren’t perfect – in fact, I know they’re quite possibly at an all-time low right now after the pandemic. However, reading it from someone who works “on the frontline” does give a far more real insight into just how difficult it is for them.

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