arrow_up-blue blog branches consultations events facebook-icon facebook-icon2 factsheet forum-icon forum hands key link location lock mail measure menu_plus news pdf pdf2 phone policies publications related search share subjectguide twitter-icon word youtube-icon
#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing

English Patient

Michael Ondaatje

Tim Spring, Graduate Trainee

Reason you chose this book

Back in my youth, I was recommended this book by my English teacher. Despite being too-cool-for-school and never willing to admit it, I thought this was a beautiful book that has stayed with me over the years. It felt like a great choice for one of our page-turners as one of the main characters is a nurse and she exhibits many of the qualities we value nurses for.


The English Patient tells the story of four damaged characters whose lives have become intertwined against the backdrop of World War II. One of these characters is Hana, a young Canadian nurse suffering from her experiences who has stayed in Italy to care for the badly burnt Almasy – the aforementioned English Patient. With writing that flows and reads like prose sometimes, Ondaatje has crafted a modern classic that does a brilliant job of portraying the nurse-patient relationship, with Hana demonstrating great compassion and care for Almasy.

November's page turners

Read all of November's book reviews.