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 to 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 a doctor and patient in a medical system at breaking point.