The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story

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  • Title: The Language of Kindness
  • Winner of the Costa Award and Sunday Times Bestseller
  • Published by Vintage, 4th edition in 2019
  • Language: English
  • Paperback with 352 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1784706884, ISBN-13: 978-1784706883
  • Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
    (13 customer reviews)
    Last updated on 23/02/2024 16:43 More info

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    Introducing “The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story” – a captivating and heartwarming book that takes you on an extraordinary journey through the world of nursing. Written by Christie Watson, a former nurse herself, this book offers a unique and intimate insight into the daily life of those who dedicate their lives to caring for others.

    With its vivid storytelling and heartfelt anecdotes, “The Language of Kindness” is a must-read for nurses and anyone interested in the healthcare profession. It beautifully captures the challenges, triumphs, and the immense compassion that nurses bring to their work every day. From the highs of saving lives to the lows of witnessing human suffering, this book will leave you inspired and in awe of these incredible healthcare heroes.

    This book is not only a brilliant gift for nurses, but also for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the nursing profession. It falls under the category of biographies and memoirs, offering a personal and relatable account of the experiences nurses face on a daily basis. Whether you’re a nurse seeking solace in shared experiences or someone looking to appreciate the invaluable work nurses do, “The Language of Kindness” is a gift that will touch hearts and leave a lasting impact.

    So, dive into this captivating narrative and let Christie Watson’s words transport you into the world of nursing. Discover the power of kindness, empathy, and the unwavering dedication that nurses bring to their patients. “The Language of Kindness” is a gift that will not only entertain and educate but also remind us of the incredible impact nurses have on our lives.

    Additional information


    Vintage, 4th edition (3 Jan. 2019)




    352 pages






    12.8 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm


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    13 reviews for The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story

    1. TC1949

      If everyone in the UK read this book, nurses would be paid over £100,000 (Jan 2023) and the NHS receive proper funding. Christie Watson writes really well and has the ability to make the reader laugh out loud and cry on the same page. Her brilliant book has had more impact on me, for multiple positive reasons, than any other book in many years. It is a ‘warts and all’ revealing of the realities of nursing and medical life through a lens of experience, compassion and kindness. If ever I need nursing I would hope those who nurse me have been trained and inspired by a Christie Watson. Magnificent.

    2. miss c brown

      I’m the parent of a child with complex medical needs. She is severely disabled. Non verbal, non mobile, 100% tube fed and has epilepsy. Until 5 years ago I had very minimal experience of hospitals and nurses whereas now I can read medical notes and understand almost all of what is being discussed. It was great reading a book where I could see things from the other side of the hospital bed. We have become close over the years with some amazing nurses. Ones who will stay up late and chat with me in our cubicle. Ones who have taught me how to repass an NG tube, then a Gtube, then to being amazing at seeing a GJ button for the first time. I used to be so squeamish but now I think I would have been a great nurse. Nurses are amazing. They work tirelessly and this book shows not only how strained our nhs resources are, but how in spite of this the nurses persevere. It shows also the emotional side to it and the personal journey each nurse must go through. I was amused to learn about the author knowing which area a nurse worked in without knowing. I am familiar with this having encountered A&E nurses and all kinds. Thank you for writing this book. I suspect people who have not been exposed to the world of hospitals may be in for a bit of a shock and it would be great if more people could read it.

    3. Julie Haigh

      I enjoyed this memoir. Christie Watson tells of her time in nursing, starting from when she’s a student, going through the different placements and specialities, continuing through the next 20 years in her career.

      I liked this from the beginning, then wasn’t sure in some of a later chapter, then loved the midwifery chapter, and thereafter. She tells it like it is. Sometimes terrible things. It’s a powerful memoir.

      I’ve read many medical memoirs, and thought I knew about quite a lot of illnesses and conditions, but here many syndromes are mentioned I’ve never heard of before. Rare and terrible things that she must have seen in her time caring for sick children whilst working at a London hospital. Terrible, tragic and shocking stories too. The things she sees, it’s hard-hitting and heartbreaking.

      This turned out to be such a good book. Other angles from medical memoirs I’ve read previously.

    4. ShaunaF

      This book should be read by anyone who says that nurses jobs are easy… that they shouldn’t be striking… that they need to work harder. Nursing isn’t just a job or a career… it is a life that shapes both the person and patients lives.
      Only think I’d say is that the book can be a bit confusing with narratives and not know who is being spoke about as not much indication is given.
      Overall great book!

    5. Asterisk Antonine

      Beautifully Written. Precise Language Choices. Honest Storytelling. Ms. Watson Can Write.

      “The Language of Kindness” is that rare memoir that makes one wonder why the literary community fawns over Karl Ove Knausgaard and Elena Ferrante. Literature is a church. It is found not when a few gather to worship but when writing craft meets narrative truth.

      My wife is a nurse. Not only a nurse, but a nurse of great competence. She elicits one’s trust in seconds. I am not biased. These are things others say about her. She scored well for her MCAT. But time and even prevented her from attending Medical School. In this, her patients have lucked out. I bought this memoir for her. She adored it. Then I discovered this tidy, specific book, one that does a fair job even of explicating the accomplishments of a certain Miss Nightengals, who in a real way set the parameters of this too overlooked profession.

      Nursing truly is a calling. There are important, no, vital members of the healthcare community. The smart ones save your lives from inexperienced residents and narcissistic doctors all the time — and my wife would be among the first to point out that many, especially in Los Angeles or the DC Metro area — are extremely talented. My wife is a cardio-thoracic ICU nurse. But she has served across the board, and from PACU to NICU to the ER, she has seen it all, and Christie Watson has shed light on much of it, from showing the line of possible career realities that led her to her calling to providing one with a fine set of scenes that tell the story of one man’s struggle with mental illness, to the glories Ms. Watson has known in midwifery. Fine, fine work. Godspeed. Read it if you have never contemplated the field. This, especially, is the sort of reading in which I learn something – while being gripped by the story told.

    6. I. Evans

      Beautifully written; from the heart. She manages to convey what it really means to be a nurse. I don’t think I ever quite managed to nurse that well myself but I recognise it is what all nurses strive for. It should be recommended reading for all new student nurses.

    7. MAL

      I could relate to some of it but the 1980s was my era in Nursing. Sometimes read like a txt book. Disappointed.

    8. Miss K Spurr

      This book is pretty much as I expected it to be and, having been a nurse – although back in the period from the early 70’s to the late 90’s – there are many things that have remained the same such as the care and compassion most nurses are hard-wired into, but it saddens me that the NHS still doesn’t always appreciate the dedication of it’s staff. This book is a treat to read and is one that anybody thinking of becoming a nurse should read as well as it being a pertinent read for nurses still working in the NHS. It shows that little has changed since I started nursing all those years ago, one thing that I still aren’t sure about is the move from nurses being trained in Schools of Nursing on hospital sites into universities as some people feel that it is beneath them to carry out the basic care for patients but thankfully that is not the case here. It is a brilliant read.

    9. Lee McDermid

      This gives a realistic and also accurate look at being a nurse and is also beautifully written

    10. C. C. Black

      “”The Language of Kindness” is a memoir of two decades of nursing by a British woman who has now turned to professional writing (as well she should, based on the ability demonstrated in this book). More than anything else, Ms. Watson’s book is about love that cares: for her patients, their families, her colleagues, and her former profession. Highly anecdotal, escorting us from her fainting at the sight of her own blood while a student in phlebotomy, through her travels in pediatric wards (where some heartbreaking tableaux await), operating rooms, and other medical units, up to her own father’s final days, when he receives hospice care from another superlative nurse.

      While Ms. Watson knows how to render a scene vividly, the book lacks the straight through-line that I appreciate in the works of Atul Gawande. Thus, when she digresses to the history of nursing and its scholarly investigation, the result is just that: digressive. The distance the reader must leap from some chapters to others can also distract. That said, there’s no denying this book’s power and importance. Like Gawande, Watson helps us to understand and better to appreciate not merely the science but the heart of medicine, practiced by fallible humans who daily perform acts of extraordinary kindness.

    11. JK701

      Supplementary/ reference material to textbook

    12. Carlie

      An amazing read into all kinds of nursing that even me as an adult muse never knew existed what goes on in the background in other specialities of the nursing field. This book made me laugh, cry and laugh and shocked my system when reading about the horrors and incidents of young and older people’s lifes. It’s an amazing read to anyone who is considering nursing and for those who think nursing is an easy job. Christie reveals the real world and how a true caring compassionate nurse should be. I take my hat off to her.

    13. T.G.S.Babu

      Going by the title, I expected a sensitive portrayal of what the writer’s experience- the human drama, as a nurse. Instead it is a series of medical reports, often with gruesome details , about what all she saw with the eyes of a novice. A waste of time.

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