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Reviewed by Hannah Anderson
Opening sentence
Heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious stories of a junior doctor's first year.
Life for Izzy is chaotic. She is in her first year as a junior doctor at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital. She documents the heart-breaking, sometimes hilarious stories of a junior doctor’s first year.

Izzy documents everything, from the madness of ward rounds to post-acute rounds . The rotations around different specialties, looking for that spark, the epiphany that lets a junior doctor know where they’re going to go. The exhaustion of doing night shifts – being awake for three nights in a row. Dealing with death and trusting in yourself to make the right decisions in impossible situations.

Izzy didn’t know she wanted to be a doctor till her mid 20’s. She’d always liked watching medical shows, like Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy. Once she decided to become a doctor, she was committed. Her book describes the ups, downs and all the in between’s of becoming a doctor. She writes about superiors who don’t respect her, setting boundaries with patients, helping all those that come across her path and more.

“Get your scrubs on,
chug your coffee;
ward rounds start at 6.45.”

This quote from the book shows how chaotic and demanding life as a doctor is for Izzy, and yet she comes back every day, loving (almost) every moment.

This book is a collection of true stories from Izzy’s life. It really shows an in depth look into life as a junior doctor, and all the struggles they face every day. It was really inspiring to understand a doctor’s job more, but also really interesting to learn more about the medical procedures and how a hospital works through this book.

Vital Signs shows the message that you can do anything you put your mind to, and that, although things may be tough, there are always bright parts that outshine the dark patches. This is a really strong message as it shows us how we should never give up on something we love. Izzy, although going through many losses within the hospital environment, and many challenges working as a junior doctor, has shows us that it is possible to keep going and do what you love in the face of these difficulties.

Izzy’s writing style is easy going and makes the reader feel like she is talking to you. Her humour in the writing as well as her insights into human life makes her feel more approachable as a reader. She writes almost colloquially, so it is easier to connect with what Izzy is saying.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in medicine as a career, as it is enlightening to the real experiences that doctors face. It is an inspiring book that everyone should read, even if they don’t want to become a doctor, as it teaches you many life lessons that are important in all aspects of life.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781988547909
Format: Paperback
Publication: 2022