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The Locked Ward

Memoirs of a Psychiatric Orderly
Narrated by: Dennis O'Donnell
Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (220 ratings)

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Summary

In 2000 Dennis O'Donnell was approached to work as an orderly in the Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit of a large hospital in central Scotland.

'I don't know if I'm the man you want,' he told the Charge Nurse. 'I'm not a fighter.' 'I don't need fighters,' the Nurse replied. 'I need people who can listen.'

The Locked Ward is an extraordinary memoir that sets out to reveal the true story of life in a psychiatric ward - the fear, the violence and despair, and also the care and the compassion. Recounting the stories of the patients he worked with, and those of the friends he made on the ward, O'Donnell provides a detailed account of day-to-day life behind the doors of the most feared and stigmatised environment in healthcare. In doing so, he examines the major mental disorders, their symptoms and manifestations, and how certain triggers such as religion, sex, wealth, health and drugs bear influence; the methods of treatment, by medication, therapy and conversation; the love and support of patients' friends and family members; success stories and failures, and attitudes to psychiatric illness, both by the authorities, by those around him - and his own.

Over seven years O'Donnell witnessed the day-to-day lives of people suffering from the most hair-raising illnesses. What emerges is a document of humanity and humour, a remarkable memoir that sheds light on a world that still remains largely unknown.

©2012 Dennis O'Donnell (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Insightful, Poignant, Thought Provoking and Funny

Where does The Locked Ward rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Amongst the top I have heard

What did you like best about this story?

The way Dennis brings you on to the ward and defines the varying personalities he has come across.

What does Dennis O'Donnell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The Glaswegian accent and Colloquialisms used in the anecdotes

Any additional comments?

This book is the very first I have felt worthy of a review in all my years with Audible.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic book

Any additional comments?

Be prepared for the thick Glaswegian accent, and abundant bad language! A fantastic book nonetheless; a collection of heartwarming, though at times challenging, anecdotes from Dennis' time working in a psychiatric ward. Fascinating.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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The last line is cut off

The book is interesting and fairly accurate, though the treatment of the trans patient is a bit unsavoury. I imagine id like it more if the end of the book wasn't cut off halfway through a sentence and filled with silence.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I wanted to like it...

The reviews were great and the story should have been right up my street but I actually, sadly found it just dull after a while. The narration was so one note it made me a bit sleepy. It’s a shame, I wanted to love it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This a book written well and it is read by the abr

an exceedingly good insight into the workings of the locked psychiatric ward and all the patients and staff who are within it. It shows daily routine and sudden sharp change to aggression, then back to the daily routine. I believe this is a very good representation of locked ward life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating, first hand account

Beautifully narrated and addictive. Great for anyone wanting to work in this area. The difficulties and day to day challenges exposed give the reader an honest perspective of a world that society would rather not see

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Well written and well told!

I really enjoyed the vivid and humorous accounts of life on ward 25. Usually listen to this in my car on long journeys. Found my self popping to the shop just for a listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Locked award

I just loved this book. I spent 30 years working as a qualified nurse in acute psychiatry in several large mental health units in Scotland and have several years experience in IPCUs, so can relate to the content of this book. I might not have known the staff or patients, or then again I might have, who knows, but I remember like incidents from my time as a student nurse till the time I finally decided I was too old to be rolling about the floor trying to restrain. I laughed and I cried as I was reading this book and have recommended it to several like minded friends.

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Wonderful!

Filled with humerous pathos, this has been written in the only way one can deal with the s**t end of the stick of life. Compelling listening, the author’s wonderful accent was so cleverly changed when describing some of the patients and their antics. One can be excused for sometimes forgetting the anecdotes were about sick people. Black humour to deal with these situations is commonplace. However the patients’ foibles and actions gave the author such ammunition. An extremely good listen. First class

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Brilliant book. loved it!

fantastic book, well written and very funny at times, whilst always being respectful of patients. brilliant insight into mental health and the suffering of those afflicted with serious mental illness, plus the daily routine and compassion from nurses who care for them.

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  • Paul
  • 20-01-12

Narration unbearable

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No; the man has no sense of prose

Would you be willing to try another one of Dennis O'Donnell’s performances?

Under no circumstances.

Was The Locked Ward worth the listening time?

Vary hard to stay with it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca Collins
  • 07-04-15

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The author/narrator has a lovely Scottish accent. Dennis O'Donnell is compassionate and does a great job educating others who are not familiar with mental illness.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • LawmanDoug
  • 19-03-15

Retiring crim atty says

Interesting as I had served as a medic and lab tech in US Army with some contact with psych wards. I would give a four avg but I couldn't understand the readers dialect. He was bright, interesting and humorous but I have some hearing loss and was at a loss as and frequently rapid strings of words were unintelligible. My British buddy says "don't you Yanks know, we don't share the same language?" But still a good book and the fault of my artillery ears.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph L. Moore
  • 20-07-19

Very witty

Excellent stories told by a psych ward tech. Extremely witty, intelligent and very compassionate. An excellent read/listen.

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  • Laura Grandmont
  • 05-01-17

Fascinating!

Excellent memoir, full of humour, compassion, and interesting facts. The author's wonderful accent lends great expression and character. I really enjoyed this one, and only wish it had been longer!

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  • Crystal
  • 14-09-15

Engaging, funny, insightful

What did you love best about The Locked Ward?

All of it! The story flows beautifully and is worded and narrated like your best mate is telling you a story with passion and animation.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Locked Ward?

The telling of the suicide attempts. Although a raw subject for myself, it's not at all told in a clinical way, it's raw, but not upsetting. The accent and some of the colourful phrases and slang are excellent.

Which scene was your favorite?

Code brown! The scene painted where a patient uses his bowels to try to escape restraint is hilarious

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh! From a chortle to full belly laugh and sore cheeks. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish with many of the orderly and patients antics, though told with humour, they aren't mocking.

Any additional comments?

I just love the accent of the narrator/author. I initially thought I'd have to return the book because the very heavy/thick brogue was initially hard to understand but as the story kicked in I plugged on listening and found I not only got used to it, it became easy to understand and ended up adding to my enjoyment of the book.

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  • Girl
  • 08-06-15

hard to understand

I read my books in 3 days this one I had to keep replaying and took me 3 weeks because I had to have it on slow mo. frustrated

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  • Diana Prince
  • 06-05-12

Enjoyable and Educational

I enjoyed this book once I grew accustomed to the reader's (author's) heavy Scottish accent and vernacular. He is a better reader than most authors, on a par with a professional reader. He showed great compassion for the mentally ill subject matters of his memoir of the locked psychiatric ward, as well as a great deal of insight. An all-around good book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful