Thursday, September 27, 2018

Also Human: the Inner Lives of Doctors, by Caroline Elton. Basic Books, 2018

Dr. Elton is a vocational psychologist who works with doctors. This has put her in place to have firsthand experience with the mental problems they have. She also obviously does a lot of research on it; she cites studies and statistics fluently.

Doctors have pretty much the hardest training of any occupation. It’s not just the book learning that’s hard; it’s also the long hours, and the helpless feeling when tossed into the hospital and they are suddenly responsible for patients. Everyone knows a doctor or two with a big ego, but there are probably just as many who constantly fear they will not be good enough. As in any profession, they face racism and sexism. There is never time for family or even sleep. They sometimes have patients die. It’s not easy. The book is heavy on the subject of new doctors entering training; I assume this must be the time of the most stress since it’s emphasized. It’s mostly on the NHS system, although she does give some time to the American system.

The book was interesting, but not quite as interesting as I’d hoped. I think I was hoping for more case studies; the book was too heavy on the statistics for me (although I do realize a book like this *had* to have statistics). The chapters seemed to be arbitrarily divided and just sort of blended into each other. Three stars.

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I received this book free from the Amazon Vine program in return for a fair review.

Neither of these things influenced my review. 

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