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This is Going To Hurt gives us a painfully funny and heartbreakingly honest insight into life in the NHS. It paints a bleak picture.
Characters repeatedly pay forward their traumas by snapping at each other and throwing one another under the bus. It’s brokenness stacked upon brokenness that collides with others’ brokenness.
I’ve experienced this in part during my seven years working as a junior doctor in the NHS. But I’ve also experienced that work need not be a one-way trip towards self-destruction.
The series follows Adam, a junior doctor in an understaffed obstetrics and gynaecology department. In the first episode he makes a mistake with life-threatening consequences. The series follows him and his junior, Shruti, as they continue to work whilst navigating disciplinaries and managing their personal lives.
The coping mechanisms displayed in the series range from socially acceptable caffeine addictions right the way through to, most tragically, suicide. Our protagonist returns to his job each day like an abused partner who won’t let go. It raises difficult questions, not least for Christians. Where is goodness, where is love, and where is Jesus in this place?
When I first began work at a hospital, it was as if Jesus dropped me off in the carpark and picked me up when I clocked out. Working without an awareness of his presence with me, around me, and in me robbed me of the ability to hear his constant voice speaking through my colleagues, patients, and situations at work.
During the final episode of the series, we meet a priest officiating a wedding. He preaches: ‘Love completes us. It fulfils us. It makes the half, whole’. Love offers something that the character’s work cannot.
These days, during procedures I pray God will protect patients and bring success. In difficult communications with colleagues, God gently nudges me about moments I’ve failed to be kind. He also nudges me to be kind to myself when the aforementioned procedures don’t go as I hope. There have been a few of those.
And Jesus has prompted me to take care of the staff I work with. One receptionist thanked me three times on the same day for just asking how she was after a stressful patient interaction.
Even in broken places and amidst broken people, Jesus is at work. My task is to see my workplace as he sees it: a place full of opportunity to put his goodness and love where his goodness and love are most needed.
Dr James Lainchbury
James is a GP trainee and Youth leader based in the East Midlands. You can reach him here.