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How Not to be a Doctor


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The essential book on how not to be a doctor - and how to be a better one

About the Author

John Launer is a doctor, medical educator and writer known in the UK and internationally for his work on consultation skills, clinical supervision and narrative-based medicine. After graduating from Cambridge with an MA in English Literature, he studied medicine and became a Member of the Royal College of Practitioners in 1983. He has contributed columns and articles to periodicals and journals for over thirty years, including the BMJ, PMJ, Times Educational Supplement, Times Health Supplement and the Daily Mail. He has worked both as a GP and consultant and practices medicine in London.


'An all-round excellent book, which would appeal to a wide range of healthcare professionals and students... a light-hearted way of looking at serious subjects.'

* BMA Panel of Judges *

'Witty and wise. Shows how important it is that doctors are allowed to be human.'

-- Kit Wharton, author of Emergency Admissions: Memoirs of an Ambulance Driver

'I raced through this book, laughing, nodding, highlighting and then read some favourite bits again. Every chapter has a gem of wisdom as well as being so very elegantly written and entertaining. I shall be recommending it to my fellow coaches as virtually all of it applies to us as much as to clinicians: do we understand the exquisite importance of choosing the right words for our questions? Do we always hear what matters most for this client right now? Do we always act on the principle that kindness is every bit as important as our technical know-how? Maybe not and we need to be reminded.'

-- Jenny Rogers, Co-Author of Coaching for Health

'This collection is warm, wise, generous, thoughtful and thought-provoking... imbued with a moving humanity which offers inspiration and reassurance in equal measure. The reflections and questions posed in these essays are infused with curiosity, rigour and compassion.'

-- Dr. Deborah Bowman, MBE, BBC Broadcaster and Professor of Medical Ethics and Law

'Launer uses his voracious curiosity to sift wisdom from the ordinary events of a doctor's life. Bursting with wonder and wisdom, this seductively readable book imparts courage and joy in equal measure.'

-- Dr. Iona Heath, CBE. Former President, Royal College of General Practitioners and author of The Mystery of General Practice

'Genuine, patient-centred care in a world of evidence, guidelines, policy and directives can seem anything but straightforward: these essays show how it is possible. It should be top of the reading list for senior students and all doctors - and indeed for patients too. An essential read... It is a gem.'

-- Dr. Fiona Moss, CBE, Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine

'Gets to the heart and soul of current medical practice. Written by a doctor, but incorporates life experience and wisdom, making it an easy, thought provoking read. A worthwhile resource for anyone currently in medical practice, or contemplating a career as a doctor.'

-- Professor Jane Dacre, President of the Royal College of Physicians

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