Nurse re­vis­its trenches for debut novel

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - FEATURES - BY NEIL DRYS­DALE

It’s a book which com­bines the past and present and ex­am­ines the dif­fer­ences for med­i­cal staff in times of war or peace.

And The Nurse Who Found Her­self in 1916 rep­re­sents a labour of love for Sally Law­ton, one of the most trav­elled fig­ures in north-east medicine dur­ing the last 35 years.

“I spent hours in the Well­come Li­brary, ac­quir­ing a li­brary of old med­i­cal text­books”

Mrs Law­ton, 59, who has pub­lished her first novel, moved to Aberdeen shortly af­ter qual­i­fy­ing in 1980.

She worked as a staff nurse at Wood­end, be­fore train­ing as a dis­trict nurse and then as a clin­i­cal teacher.

That led to her be­ing in­volved in nurse ed­u­ca­tion for both city uni­ver­si­ties and the NHS in Aberdeen for the rest of her ca­reer.

She also trav­elled to all cor­ners of Grampian, High­lands, Orkney, Shet­land and the Western Isles teach­ing staff about dis­trict nurs­ing and pal­lia­tive care. Now she has re­tired from her vo­ca­tion she has turned her hand to writ­ing.

Mrs Law­ton told the Press and Jour­nal: “I have al­ways had an in­ter­est in the First World War, es­pe­cially about the work of nurses on the Western Front.

“About eight years ago, I be­gan to read diaries and books from the time and won­dered what it must have been like for the nurses who were car­ing for badly and fa­tally in­jured sol­diers.

“It was while I was read­ing a diary en­try about a sol­dier’s self-in­flicted in­jury that I ques­tioned what I would have done in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion and then I had the idea to write the novel.

“The story of The Nurse who found her­self in 1916 grew from read­ing orig­i­nal ma­te­rial and my own nurs­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I spent many hours in the Well­come Li­brary in Lon­don, ac­quired a small li­brary of old nurs­ing and med­i­cal text­books, and then I vis­ited the bat­tle­fields of North­ern France.

“I also un­der­took on­line re­search to en­sure that the fac­tual el­e­ments in the story are as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble.”

The book, which is cin­e­matic in scope, is avail­able in pa­per­back or on Kin­dle.

Sally Law­ton, an ex­pe­ri­enced nurse, de­cided to write about what she knew but took her in­spi­ra­tion from the the­atre of the First Wold War

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