Book Review: The Courage to Care by Christie Watson

The Courage to Care
by Christie Watson

Publication date: September 17th 2020
Publisher: Chatto Windus
Pages: 272


Nurses have never been more important. We benefit from their expertise in our hospitals and beyond: in our schools, on our streets, in prisons, hospices and care homes. When we feel most alone, nurses remind us that we are not alone at all.

In The Courage to Care bestselling author Christie Watson reveals the remarkable extent of nurses’ work. A community mental-health nurse choreographs support for a man suffering from severe depression. A teen with stab wounds is treated by the critical-care team; his school nurse visits and he drops the bravado. A pregnant woman loses frightening amounts of blood following a car accident; it is a military nurse who synchronises the emergency department into immaculate order and focus.

Christie makes a further discovery: that, time and again, it is patients and their families – including her own – who show exceptional strength in the most challenging times. We are all deserving of compassion, and as we share in each other’s suffering, Christie Watson shows us how we can find courage too. The courage to care.

Source: Goodreads

I read this book as part of the read-along organised by Tandem Collective who kindly gifted me a hardback copy. A group of us recently read the book over five days, stopping along the way to discuss. If you’d like to see what we discussed, you can catch up with the read-along in my Instagram story highlights.


The Language of Kindness” by Christie Watson is an inspirational read about the reality of nursing. I read this book in March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now 7 months later, I’ve been reading “The Courage to Care”, Christie Watson’s second non-fiction novel.

As we learned in her first book, Christie worked as a nurse within the NHS for twenty years, starting aged seventeen. As well as featuring stories from within a hospital, this book takes a look at nursing in the wider community: in our prisons, schools, hospices and care homes.

As well as exploring the world of nursing, Christie also allows us a glimpse at her personal life, including the adoption of her son and the death of her father. At the very end, Christie mentions COVID-19 and tells us that she signed up to the temporary register of nurses recruited to help at the peak of the pandemic. This was an enlightening addition to the story, allowing the reader to hear first hand what this process was like and the effect it had on our key worker families.

I really enjoyed this book and almost every anecdote was a tear-jerker. In general, this was a really educational read for me as well and it opened my eyes to all kinds of nursing and situations that I don’t usually put a lot of thought into. It’s very different reading about a stabbing in the newspaper, to hearing first hand accounts of the aftermath in the hospital, for example.

My only criticism was that some of the chapters felt a little all over the place. Often the topic would change quite dramatically from one paragraph to the next, from one heart breaking story to suddenly a completely different story, going off on a tangent.

Overall rating: “The Courage to Care” is an honest collection of anecdotes which teach us about nursing in the wider community. I have nothing but respect for author Christie Watson, and all nurses who have the courage to care unconditionally. The style was a little bit off for me, but overall this was a really enjoyable 4 stars.

See my other reviews of books by Christie Watson here:

One thought on “Book Review: The Courage to Care by Christie Watson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s