Thursday 18 June 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | Handle With Care: Confessions of an NHS Health Visitor by Rachael Hearson

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This year, I have set my Goodreads reading challenge at 60 books this year. This is my nineteenth read and I'm still holding out hope that I can hit target!

Handle With Care: Confessions of an NHS Health Visitor by Rachael Hearson - 3/5 
Blurb: Health Visiting is one of those professions that most people think is a bit of a non-job. 'You just sit on sofas and drink tea, don't you? It's not like you're a real nurse, in hospital.'

Well, Health Visitors are real nurses, with at least three years training, and they are out there, on their own. No back-up team or support structures to call for help if they're in a dicey situation. No warm lights, tea breaks spent chatting in the canteen, nobody else to ask, 'is this okay, what do you think?'

With over 40 years working in the NHS, Rachael Hearson has been chased down an isolated stairwell by crack-fuelled drug-addicted pimps, threatened by a knife-wielding wife-beater in a hostel, unwittingly visited a brothel...

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Review: I requested this book for review through Netgalley as I loved books in a similar vein, namely 'This Is Going to Hurt' by Adam Kay and Leah Hazard's 'Hard Pushed: A Midwife's Story'. I am very interested in learning about jobs that I know very little about. Plus, I haven't had great experiences with health visitors myself. I'm still waiting on my daughter's two-year check and she'll be six in September!

The first half of the book was very slow and it took me a while to get into it. It reads more like a full autobiography, starting with her childhood and it seems like it has a lot of filler that I wasn't hooked on. I much prefer the stories of the clients she visited.

The second half of the book, I loved. It was much more work-based and it was tough to read about some of the houses and situations that were visited by Hearson. You hear about the setting up of a nappy bank which was very much needed, and the judgements of online keyboard warriors who automatically think that these people shouldn't have children and probably spend all their money on drink and drugs, when in reality money issues could happen to anyone. It was even an issue for the author in the recession when her partner ended up unemployed. She was still working in the NHS and they struggled to feed their children and pay their school fees for a while.

It is such an interesting look at what health visitors are required to do and even things that aren't even in their job description. If my health visitors had been like Rachael Hearson, I would definitely have had a much better experience.

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