The Care Factor

Ailsa Wild

The Care Factor
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The Care Factor

Ailsa Wild

The Care Factor tells the story of one incredible nurse - one among many - who chose to meet an unprecedented global health crisis on the frontline.

Simone Sheridan has one of the most sought-after skills today. As a nurse, her skill is to care. When Covid-19 began to spread across the world in 2020, Sim volunteered to retrain to work in Melbourne’s intensive care wards. And as she prepared to go back to ICU and case numbers began climbing, Sim started talking to her friend Ailsa. Through the exhaustion, the confusion, the many tears and the surprising moments of hilarity, Sim kept talking. And Ailsa started writing.

In The  Care Factor, Ailsa walks behind Sim as she faces the realities of the coronavirus. The result is a deeply human account of what the pandemic has really meant, not just for Sim and her fellow health professionals, but also for their patients, their families and friends, and the many who faced life in lockdown. This is a celebration of nursing, of friendship, and of the layers of connection and care that allow us to keep going when it feels impossible.     

Review

2020 was an unprecedented year in many ways, exposing much of what is deeply flawed about our current societal structures. COVID-19 has taught us much about where the gaps are in our social fabric, who are our society’s most vulnerable members and what we truly value. For me, one of the most powerful messages to come out of 2020 was the importance of kindness, compassion and care.

One could argue that the most important skill a health professional can possess is the ability to care and to provide care. Care is not necessarily perceived by most to be a skill, and yet, without it, what would our interactions with health professionals look like? The unpredictable nature of this pandemic saw an unprecedented number of nurses retraining and in some cases, returning to the workforce. This selfless willingness to put themselves at risk and to care for others is nothing less than a herculean effort. What does it really mean for those brave humans to take such a risk? How does it affect their daily lives, their families, friends and loved ones? How do they really feel about it, really? Enter Ailsa Wild’s The Care Factor.

The Care Factor is a deeply personal and moving recount of the conversations between author Ailsa Wild and her dear friend Simone Sheridan, a nurse who bravely retrained to offer her skills to Melbourne’s Intensive Care Units. Their conversations are at times shocking, heartbreaking and quite unexpectedly funny – but at all times, it overflows with empathy and love. I adored this wonderful book and felt privileged to read it. Both Wild and Sheridan lower all their barriers and generously allow the reader to see the most intimate and messy details of being a human trying to do their best. This is a wonderful and timely book that will restore your faith in humanity and our deep ability to care for one another.


Tye Cattanach works as a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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