Reading for pleasure and profit

15th October 2005 by Judith Harvey

Reading for pleasure and profit

In 1989, Iona Heath, an inner city GP in London, applied for study leave to spend three months reading novels. The Department of Postgraduate Education turned her down, but she took the three months off anyway and says it changed her life.  The experiences of characters in fiction resonate with  our own experiences, and those of our patients, and illuminate both.

There is fiction by doctors about doctors. AJ Cronin is not currently very fashionable, but there is more to him than Dr Findley. My favourite is probably more fact than fiction: Mikhail Bulgakov’s  ‘The Country Doctor’s Notebook’. While few 21st century British doctors will experience the loneliness of making life or death clinical decisions in a remote Russian village in the middle of winter, many of us may see our own early experiences as doctors distilled in his stories.

There are doctors in fiction by non-doctors. Poor Dr  Lydgate in Middlemarch is always quoted – ahead of his time (using a stethoscope!) but destroyed by an injudicious marriage. GPs tempted by sexual indiscretion might remember him with fellow feeling.  Doctors in literature suffer other problems. Frank  in Damon Galgut’s  Booker-nominated ‘The Good Doctor’,  or  Eduardo Plarr in Graham Greene’s (to my mind) much better ‘The Honorary Consul’,  both remind us that it is not just overwork which causes burnout.

Join

Join to view the rest of this content, as well as access all the benefits of joining NASGP.

Join

Login

Already a member? Login to view this content.

Login

"I have been working with NASGP as the main source of income since graduating. I can't recommend them more highly for newly-graduated GPs. They helped me with setting my terms and conditions and they even arranged a tutorial session about EMIS, as the system was new to me.

LocumDeck is a great help when it comes to organising sessions, pension forms and invoices for tax purposes.

NASGP was particularly supportive during the Covid-19 period. It recognised the effect it had on locum work, temporarily waived the already small fee on sessions and were keen on getting the members together in regular video meetings.

I'm a satisfied member of NASGP. "

Dr Nazar Ahmed

Dr Nazar Ahmed

See the full list of features within our NASGP membership plans

Membership