We are Loving..This is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

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This is Going to Hurt, Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

by Adam Kay £16.99,  £2 off

What’s that saying about “keep a diary and one day it will keep you”?

The result is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain, sacrifice and maddening bureaucracy and a love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives in their hands.

Adam Kay was a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010, before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. He kept a diary throughout his training, and This Is Going to Hurt intersperses tales from the front line of the NHS with reflections on the current crisis.


Most of Kay’s anecdotes are probably not the kind you would trot out at dinner parties. There’s the one where he was invited to a Halloween party after a gruelling shift and thought his blood-soaked gown might be a suitable costume. There is also the infamous degloving injury. This is where skin is traumatically torn from the underlying tissue, in this case the penis. The owner of the penis had been dancing on the roof of a bus stop, then jumped on to a lamppost and tried to use it as a fireman’s pole. When he asked if it could be “regloved”, the consultant had to explain that the glove was spread all over the lamppost.

The book is also a timely account of the horrendous demands made on junior doctors - both physical and mental. At least once Kay fell asleep in his car in the car park after work and woke to find he was due on the wards again.

The arduous hours had a detrimental effect on his relationships and maybe also on his own emotional health. While he might have felt like “superman” when he saved lives, that didn’t make up for the pain of seeing lives slip away. Never mind the cancelled holidays and the inability to buy a house and settle down because junior doctors are always being moved from hospital to hospital...

In the end it all proved too much for Kay, hence the career move into the much more stress-free comedy world.

With its witty candour, this book will make you appreciate the sacrifices doctors make on a daily basis. Infusing his gruelling experiences with humour, Kay gives us a peek into life on the NHS frontline. 

 `Painfully funny. The pain and the funniness somehow add up to something entirely good, entirely noble and entirely loveable.' - Stephen Fry