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Webchat with former nurse and author of The Language of Kindness, Christie Watson on Thursday 17 May, 9pm

(39 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 14-May-18 16:50:05

Author and former nurse Christie Watson is joining us for a webchat on Thursday (17 May) evening at 9pm. Christie worked as a nurse for 20 years and her extraordinary account of life on the front line of the NHS has been documented in her book: The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story.

"In the book readers follow Christie as she nurses a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, and stand by her side during her patient’s agonising heart-lung transplant. Later, she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive. When life is lived most intensely, Christie is there. She is a guide, mentor and friend".

Christie worked in a variety of healthcare settings, but spent most of her career in paediatric intensive care in large NHS hospitals before becoming a resuscitation nurse. She now teaches and writes and advocates for nursing. Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award.

Come and chat to Christie about her experiences of working in the NHS on Thursday evening at 9pm. Everyone who joins will be entered into a draw to win one of three copies of The Language of Kindness. If you're unable to join on the night, post your question for Christie in advance on this thread.

Read our bloggers' reviews of The Language of Kindness and enter our competition to win one of ten free copies.

Maplessglobe Tue 15-May-18 13:51:26

Loved ‘tiny sunbirds,’ thank you, Christie and MN. Looking forward to reading this; interesting foil to ‘this is going to hurt,’ just out in PB.

Can’t make the web chat, sadly. Question for Christie- I didn’t realise you had now left the shop floor of nursing. How did you manage to balance your clinical and creative life when you were doing both?

Comment for @rachelmumsnet - I can’t enter the competition while leaving the ‘allow penguin random house to contact me’ box unticked!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 15-May-18 14:23:25

Maplessglobe

Loved ‘tiny sunbirds,’ thank you, Christie and MN. Looking forward to reading this; interesting foil to ‘this is going to hurt,’ just out in PB.

Can’t make the web chat, sadly. Question for Christie- I didn’t realise you had now left the shop floor of nursing. How did you manage to balance your clinical and creative life when you were doing both?

Comment for @rachelmumsnet - I can’t enter the competition while leaving the ‘allow penguin random house to contact me’ box unticked!

Thanks for letting me know about the comp - I'll look into this now and will let you know when it's fixed.

PossibleFutureNurse Tue 15-May-18 14:35:51

Hi Christie,

I recently heard about you and your book, and have ordered it to read myself. As you are an advocate for nursing, I am interested in your opinion/advice, as I am thinking of training as a nurse in a few years (when my youngest child is at school).

I have worked as a veterinary surgeon for around 12 years, but now feel more drawn towards human nursing. Do you think it is reasonable for me to consider beginning training at the age of roughly 42, and would my considerable clinical experience (albeit with animals) enable me to progress quickly once qualified? I am interested in palliative care and would be aiming towards becoming a clinical nurse specialist. To be clear, I am not looking to avoid the more mundane/messy aspects of working - just keen to progress in a field that interests me, and happy to do extra postgrad studies to achieve this.

Any advice of thoughts most welcome. Thank you.

PossibleFutureNurse Tue 15-May-18 14:37:54

"Advice or thoughts"

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 15-May-18 17:06:44

RachelMumsnet

Maplessglobe

Loved ‘tiny sunbirds,’ thank you, Christie and MN. Looking forward to reading this; interesting foil to ‘this is going to hurt,’ just out in PB.

Can’t make the web chat, sadly. Question for Christie- I didn’t realise you had now left the shop floor of nursing. How did you manage to balance your clinical and creative life when you were doing both?

Comment for @rachelmumsnet** - I can’t enter the competition while leaving the ‘allow penguin random house to contact me’ box unticked!

Thanks for letting me know about the comp - I'll look into this now and will let you know when it's fixed.

The comp is working now.

CorvusUmbranox Tue 15-May-18 18:01:12

Very excited to see this. I read an extract in the Sunday Times magazine and was struck by how thought-provoking and heartfelt it was. It's on my tbr list for certain.

Christie, what would you say have been the biggest changes that you've seen in the NHS over the course of your career?

Thank you

skorpion Tue 15-May-18 21:34:44

I heard your book on 'Book Of The Week' on R4 last week and cried every single day. It's on my list and I'm recommending it to all my friends.

I'll try to come back with question later.

TomboyFemme Tue 15-May-18 23:35:16

I can't join the webchat as I'll be finishing a 13 hour shift (fellow nurse!).

I LOVED Tiny Sunbirds Far Away and Where Women Are Kings, couldn't put them down! I didn't realise you were a nurse as well. When did you start writing? And how on earth did you fit it round your shifts?! I've ordered your new book, can't wait to read it

SporkInTheToaster Wed 16-May-18 07:48:45

Hi Christie,

Was consent gained from all of the families to share their stories?

I’m also a nurse and find these sort of books uncomfortable. Though these ‘stories from the frontline’ type books appear to sell well, given the number on the market, I’m uncomfortable with the ethics surrounding profiting from other people’s tragedies or most intensely intimate and personal moments. I’m sure the accounts are anonymised and confidentiality respected, I’m not questioning that.

What would you say to people like me ?

Thank you

PumpkinParent Wed 16-May-18 14:49:13

Hello Christie,
We are indebted to some amazing paediatric nurses in our family. We regularly pass through a major children’s hospital and one of the big London hospitals for treatment so we see at first hand some of the consequences of lack of funding for the NHS.
Have you thoughts on how ordinary members of the public can make things better for the NHS and it’s staff?

Gammeldragz Wed 16-May-18 19:19:28

Christie's speech at RCN Congress this week moved me to tears. Reminded me why I'm training to be a nurse and gave a much needed boost during our difficult second year. She is fabulous

Gammeldragz Wed 16-May-18 19:21:31

Posted too soon!

My question...

Christie, what is one piece of advice you would give to students about to join the NHS, given the current low morale and staffing crisis?

AbbyRMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 17-May-18 09:13:46

Hello! If you knew what you now know when you were thinking about becoming a nurse, as well as the way the NHS is now compared to 20 years ago, would you still have chosen this career path?

MaleChildrensNurse Thu 17-May-18 20:58:04

Hi Christie

I was at RCN Congress and you literally blew me away with your talk. I’m a Male children’s nurse in A&E, having qualified in September last year I already feel like I have a story to tell. You have inspired me to put this down on paper for others to read. My question to you is what is the one thing that motivates you to get up each morning?

Thanks Graeme x

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 17-May-18 20:59:05

A warm welcome to Christie Watson this evening. Thanks so much for agreeing to join us and talk to us about your former life as a nurse and your latest book The Language of Kindness. (I've just finished reading and urge everyone to get their hands on a copy and read). A reminder that everyone who joins this evening will be entered into a draw to win on of three copies - we'll announce the winners at the end of the webchat. There's already quite a few questions in, so without further delay, welcome to mumsnet and over to you...

ChristieWatson Thu 17-May-18 21:00:13

Hello Mumsnet! I am SERIOUSLY excited to be here and to hang out with you all online. I've been a Mumsnet fan for many years smile

ChristieWatson Thu 17-May-18 21:03:13

MaleChildrensNurse

Hi Christie

I was at RCN Congress and you literally blew me away with your talk. I’m a Male children’s nurse in A&E, having qualified in September last year I already feel like I have a story to tell. You have inspired me to put this down on paper for others to read. My question to you is what is the one thing that motivates you to get up each morning?

Thanks Graeme x

Thank you SO much Graeme, you'll know from the talk at congress that nurses are my heroes so thank you for all you do. I hope lots of nurses begin to tell their own stories. The thing that motivates me most is my own children. I think one of the many gifts nursing gifts you is to know how precious life is and I feel it most when I'm around them. (not all the times - obvs) xx

ChristieWatson Thu 17-May-18 21:07:29

SporkInTheToaster

Hi Christie,

Was consent gained from all of the families to share their stories?

I’m also a nurse and find these sort of books uncomfortable. Though these ‘stories from the frontline’ type books appear to sell well, given the number on the market, I’m uncomfortable with the ethics surrounding profiting from other people’s tragedies or most intensely intimate and personal moments. I’m sure the accounts are anonymised and confidentiality respected, I’m not questioning that.

What would you say to people like me ?

Thank you

Hi SporkInTheToaster you are right the book went through a rigorous legal process... and thank you for this interesting ethical question. I struggled with the ethics of transgression and textual exploitation (in fact I became a bit obsessed with cultural theorists) but I squared it with myself in the end with the aim at the heart of all I do that if I help nursing then I help patients. I'm so glad too that the book with be supporting the RCN Foundation in various ways, a fantastic organisation that among other things helps nurses suffering financial hardship. I appreciate your opinion.

MaleChildrensNurse Thu 17-May-18 21:09:24

Thank you. By the way even though I was exhausted on the flight back I couldn’t put your book down.
I hope to see you at more events and as the chair for Brighton branch of the RCN if your ever around the area let me know. We’d love to have you talk at one of our events.

Graeme

ChristieWatson Thu 17-May-18 21:12:40

Posted too soon!

My question...

Christie, what is one piece of advice you would give to students about to join the NHS, given the current low morale and staffing crisis?

Hi Gammeldragz

Firstly - well done. You are doing the BEST job in the world. There is no more important job... Keep that close to your heart and the reasons that you are doing it - to give the greatest gifts in the world to another human being: dignity, compassion and kindness. Be proud of yourself and your profession. Shout loudly on behalf of patients and your colleagues when things are not right. You'll be grand.

Suzannetakesyoudown Thu 17-May-18 21:16:16

Hi Christy, I read an extract from your book in a supplement and would love to read the book. Childbirth was the first time I've been cared for by nurses and I honestly couldn't have had a better experience or been more cared for - particularly when my dd was in SCBU and I was alone on the ward. Did you have your children in hospital and how was your experience?

ChristieWatson Thu 17-May-18 21:18:58

PumpkinParent

Hello Christie,
We are indebted to some amazing paediatric nurses in our family. We regularly pass through a major children’s hospital and one of the big London hospitals for treatment so we see at first hand some of the consequences of lack of funding for the NHS.
Have you thoughts on how ordinary members of the public can make things better for the NHS and it’s staff?

Hello and thank you PumpkinParent this is a great question. Nursing is understood from the inside but often misunderstood or undervalued from the outside (until someone is terribly ill sadly)... I would take nursing and the values in nursing and try and use them in general wider society. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. I had a horrific kidney infection while my book was launching and a friend came over, fed me soup changed my (ew very sheets) ran me a bath. She's not a nurse but she'd be amazing as one. We're living in a time of hate and hate is contagious but luckily kindness is contagious too. (Obvs though lobby your MP to bring back the nursing bursary please wink ) xxxxx

ChristieWatson Thu 17-May-18 21:24:27

Maplessglobe

Loved ‘tiny sunbirds,’ thank you, Christie and MN. Looking forward to reading this; interesting foil to ‘this is going to hurt,’ just out in PB.

Can’t make the web chat, sadly. Question for Christie- I didn’t realise you had now left the shop floor of nursing. How did you manage to balance your clinical and creative life when you were doing both?

Comment for @rachelmumsnet - I can’t enter the competition while leaving the ‘allow penguin random house to contact me’ box unticked!

Hi Maplessglobe THANK YOU this is what every writer wants to hear. I balanced my life very badly. I was teaching, writing and nursing for a long time as well as being a single parent. I Was (am) the mum at the school gate wearing odd shoes, or with the Mr Kipling cakes looking longingly at the home bakers in matching shoes. My kids told me once that they wouldn't swap me for anyone in the world and it made everything achievable. I think clinical work and creative work are both about stories. We are all a history of stories and memories and that is what makes nursing so special - understanding that a patient is a beautiful tapestry and the illness is one small section. I hope you're writing?

ChristieWatson Thu 17-May-18 21:33:04

CorvusUmbranox

Very excited to see this. I read an extract in the Sunday Times magazine and was struck by how thought-provoking and heartfelt it was. It's on my tbr list for certain.

Christie, what would you say have been the biggest changes that you've seen in the NHS over the course of your career?

Thank you

Hello CorvusUmbranox

I think the biggest change has come from outside nursing and medicine. It's societal and who we are - our value system is SO different. (And not good, in my book.) But the thing that has changed in hospitals is our patient population. Our patients have such complex needs now. We've lived in a medical age but people are often no longer curable. We are suffering with loneliness in old age, poverty, fear, mental, physical and emotional illness. People have unmet social care and housing and public health needs. And this is the biggest challenge yet. It can be solved, I think, with nursing. With valuing nursing care - which cannot cure but does not seek to. Our patients - our communities - need saving with kindness (and resources that recognise and allow for the changing nature of healthcare that we KNOW is happening)

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