Book review: "This is going to hurt" by Adam Kay

I’ve had this book recommended by several teachers and friends and heard that it was a really good book for an aspiring medic! So I picked it up on my last visit to waterstones.


In this book, Adam Kay describes the realities of working as a doctor for the NHS and what it really means to be such an important front-line worker. He takes us on his journey as a Junior Doctor, from House Officer all the way to Senior Registrar. He does this with many diary entries about his experiences through each year, describing his encounters with his patients as well as his own personal struggles and emotions.

My thoughts

Overall, I think it was a really interesting, down to earth and funny book. I loved the way he told the stories of his patients and I found myself laughing many times! I particularly enjoyed reading the author’s writing in the margins, explaining certain things about his reflections to his readers in greater detail. These were often the funniest bits!

He really highlighted very well the positives and negatives of his time as a doctor, flooding you with many emotions at times. It helped me to understand the camaraderie between the medical team and the importance of teamwork in a hospital setting, as well as realizing how doctors are just as human as we are, with their own struggles and insecurities. “The depths of the lows are the price you pay for the height of the highs.” The book also shared the sacrifices Doctor’s made, to have more time to treat their patients, often with no recognition for their efforts.

“This is going to hurt” was very reader friendly too as there were many descriptions and explanations about the medical procedures that were taking place in the book, which I think would be really helpful for aspiring medical students who want to get more background knowledge about medicine.

I would really recommend this book to anyone who is considering pursuing medicine, as it described very accurately the realities of practicing medicine, giving you a genuine and honest insight into the career. It was also a really enjoyable and funny read!

Some of my favourite quotes from the book

“ ‘Pretty sure you could carry it (the baby) by its head and it’d be totally okay.’ (This is not medical advice).”

“ ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ Patients ask me this all the time and I wish they wouldn’t because obviously the truthful answer is they could die.”

“ ‘I’ll put it through as cheddar’ She (cashier at Waitrose that was Adam kay’s patient) whispers to me as she weighs my goat’s cheese. It’ll save me a couple of quid and will therefore be one of the biggest perks of the job I’ve ever had. I smile at her. ‘That’s not cheddar Rose’ announces her supervisor as he stalks past, and my bonus evaporates.”


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