The Registrar


By Neela Janakiramanan

cover image of The Registrar

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Sometimes in hospital people die - but not all of them should. A moving, addictive debut novel for readers of Going Under and Emotional Female.

'Emma, you'll be totally fine ... If there's ever a doctor who's going to thrive in surgical training, I'm sure it's you.'

Dedicated and ambitious, Emma Swann is about to start a gruelling year as a surgical registrar at the prestigious Mount teaching hospital. She's excited to join her adored older brother Andy in pursuing the same career as their father, an eminent surgeon who made his name at The Mount.

But the pressure of living up to his distinguished reputation is nothing compared with the escalating stress Emma experiences as a registrar. It's an arduous, unremitting slog of twenty-hour days, punishing schedules, life and death decisions - and very little assistance, instruction or support from her superiors, who waste no time pointing out just how superior they are. Amidst a background culture of humiliation and bullying, being a woman just makes things worse: misogyny is rife and Emma is subjected to other, more insidious, kinds of male attention.

As Emma battles overwork, exhaustion and increasing disillusion, she has less and less ability and time to care for her patients' welfare, and that of herself and those she loves. Is it possible for her to be the doctor, wife, sister and friend she aspires to be in such a broken hospital system? Can she salvage her own life while she's trying to save others? And how can she and her colleagues endure such impossible conditions without making fatal mistakes?

With the frenetic pace of a psychological thriller, The Registrar offers a rare insight into the world of a surgeon-in-the-making from one who has survived it. Told with compassion, skill and emotional heart, this gripping and moving novel goes behind the headlines to reveal the human experience of being both doctor and patient in a medical system at breaking point.

'This is compelling. You won't put it down.' Dr Norman Swann

'I know this story, I've lived this story. Now the rest of Australia will know it too.' Dr Melanie Cheng

'Compelling, illuminating and utterly readable.' Jamila Rizvi

'The moving story of a woman, a family and a profession.' Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner

'So beautiful. A fitting tribute to our lives and work, and to those who we have lost.' Dr Ruth Mitchell, neurosurgeon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate

'A rapid intravenous infusion of caffeine and adrenaline from start to finish.' Dr Brad McKay, doctor, broadcaster, author of Fake Medicine

The Registrar