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  • Published: 17 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784742980
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 272

The Courage to Care

A Call for Compassion

A vital and timely book about inspirational nurses, and the bravery of patients and families, from the bestselling author of The Language of Kindness

A vital and timely book about inspirational nurses, and the bravery of patients and families, from the bestselling author of The Language of Kindness

"The handbook for compassion... a must-read book" Chris Evans

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.

"I loved The Courage to Care - Christie Watson writes so tenderly and truthfully. It is a spirit-lifting read" Jacqueline Wilson

  • Published: 17 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9781784742980
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 272

About the author

Christie Watson

Christie Watson is an award-winning, bestselling writer. She has been a nurse for over twenty years.

The Language of Kindness was published in 2018 and was a number one Sunday Times Bestseller. It was a Book of the Year in the Evening Standard, Guardian, New Statesman, The Sunday Times and The Times. It has been translated into 23 languages, and is currently being adapted for theatre and television.

Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award and Waverton Good Read Award and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, also achieved international critical acclaim.

Christie holds an honorary Doctor of Letters for her contribution to nursing and the arts and is Patron of the Royal College of Nursing Foundation. She lives in South London.


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Praise for The Courage to Care

An urgent, powerful, beautiful book, filled with courage, love and hope

John Sutherland, author of Crossing the Line: lessons from a life on duty

As we all try to work out the impact of COVID-19 on our lives, The Courage to Care is essential reading about the extraordinary work that nurses carry out every day

Caroline Elton, author of Also Human: the inner lives of doctors

Christie Watson writes with clarity, generosity and wisdom; her words make us feel less alone

Joanna Cannon, author of Breaking and Mending

Now more than ever, nurses are on our minds and in our hearts. Christie writes with beauty and compassion about how they do their jobs. When I wasn't crying, I was marvelling

Tracy Chevalier, author of A Single Thread

Christie Watson has once again proved she is the pre-eminent voice of the nursing memoir

Nathan Filer, author of This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health

Absolutely beautiful writing, Christie Watson captures both the intense joy and searing heartbreak of love

Jo Swinson

An inspiring book for our challenging times. It's never been more important to care for one another and the amazing Christie Watson shows us the way

Olivia Colman

A call to arms and soul-baring personal odyssey, this book will set hearts and minds on fire. Very few writers can make you care this much, and make you laugh, bawl and stay up all night reading to the final page. Christie Watson writes with the sharpest wit, the finest observations, and has a heart as deep and wild as a river

Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Adults

This beautiful book captures magnificently the rawness, courage and tenderness of nursing. It made me cry, smile and gasp out loud. It sings with humanity

Rachel Clarke, author of Dear Life

This book looks inside the heart of a profession, the life of a family, and the condition of being human. Beautiful, thoughtful and compelling

Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind

Marvellous... A chronicle of the human experience written with all the sensitivity and empathy of an experienced nurse. A courageous account of our inequitable healthcare system. A magnificent collection of stories that describes primal pain, the joy of human connection and the beauty of life through the lens of a compassionate nurse, daughter and mother

Dr Rupy Aujla, author of The Doctor's Kitchen

I loved The Courage to Care - Christie Watson writes so tenderly and truthfully. It is a spirit-lifting read

Jacqueline Wilson

The handbook for compassion... a must-read book

Chris Evans

In this timely read, Watson, a former nurse who returned to work in critical care during the coronavirus peak, tells stories both heart-in-mouth and humbling. She reveals the extraordinary, beyond-the-call-of-duty work that nurses do, and the bravery of the patients and families they care for

Daily Mirror

Generous, intimate and insightful. The Courage to Care is persuasive and powerful as a memoir of a remarkable twenty-year career, and also an adventure story through the shifting landscape of NHS nursing. This book shows why nurses top the polls every year as the most trusted, reliable professionals.

Dr Gavin Francis

She repeatedly finds the beam of light in the darkest rooms... Watson is a terrific guide to the gritty reality of hospital life... We have never needed their [nurses'] expertise more than we do now

Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph

Watson writes with wry humour and a cheerful, conversational tone, but the world of care she describes - mental health wards, dying children or neglected elderly patients - is often hard to bear... [The Courage to Care] is a love letter to her profession; her admiration for her colleagues shines through every story

Stephanie Merritt, Observer

Christie's a former nurse and she's such a powerful writer on caring and what it means to do it

Jane Garvey


Mail on Sunday

Magnificent... timely and resonant... In these unprecedented times, Watson challenges the rest of us to be more like nurses and to find the courage to care, no matter who is in need

Caroline Sanderson, Sunday Express

Watson has an unflinching eye for detail, and her ability to put the reader in the room means that we too bear witness... As Watson explains in her introduction, she has been talking and writing about the importance of nurses for years, but Covid-19 - which came along as she was making her final edits to the book - has made her subject more poignant and timely

Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times

A salute to the profession, the book is also a mediation on motherhood

Kate Womersley, Times Literary Supplement

An insightful reminder of exactly how vital it is to treat one another with kindness and compassion, at a time when we need it most

Woman's Own

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