Susan Kendall, Student Nurse by Patricia Baldwin

“Tommy, I’m sorry, I appear to have superglued myself to your bedsheet”

Susan Kendall, Student Nurse by Patricia Baldwin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s an interesting one this, a career novel from 1960 (so written at the tail end of the 50s) and detailing the progress of Susan Kendall into her chosen career as nurse. It’s published by Victory Press Books, a religious press, and wears these credentials fairly lightly until about halfway through when: Religon! (It always makes me laugh that I never quite realise that I’m reading a book from an evangelical press until Religion! pops up. I always have to check the publisher and then I’m like ‘oh, yes, that does actually make this whole plot make sense now’).

It’s a bluntly-told, rampantly dated thing, and yet I did enjoy it. Not only does it document an upper class girl going to work in unconventional circumstances (and thus documenting some of the post-world war two shift in the class system), it also provides a rather startlingly acute look at hospital services at the time. Susan is a lively heroine who, despite the rather sketchy ‘she also attended lectures on bones and that’ paragraph, is actually pretty believable. She drinks! She has a smoke! (I mean, just the one drink and the one smoke and man, she does get punished for it but that is the way of books such as this).

The ending, by the way, is great. I will not spoil it but it’s hysterical and will leave you going “WHAT, WHAT IS THAT IT?” at the page.

View all my reviews

4 thoughts on “Susan Kendall, Student Nurse by Patricia Baldwin

  1. I don’t have this book but have one called ‘Jean tours a hospital’ which was written around the same time IIRC. It was given to me by the headmaster of my primary school who maybe thought I had the makings of a nurse in me (don’t know why!), but anyway I enjoyed it and later got the sequel ‘Jean becomes a nurse’. I must still have them (I never get rid of books, they now take up a whole room), maybe I’ll dig them out and read them again, see how they strike me now I’m 72.

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