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Nursing the Nation: an accurate portrayal of district nursing?


This week, we’re watching Nursing the Nation. What did you think of it?

ITV’s new series Nursing the Nation follows the work of district nurses as they travel across the country.

In the first episode, we were introduced to specialist stroke nurse Karen and sister Shonna who is in charge of a team of district nurses in Bath.

The cameras followed Shonna on her house visit to Mr Comm, an older, frail man who needed his leg dressings changed. The sister appeared very caring and said how they had become “real friends”. Mr Comm insisted on giving Shonna two boxes of chocolates. The viewer also saw Shonna’s office, which was filled with presents and thank-you cards from patients.  

In the same episode, the programme revealed what a difference that specialist nurse Karen had made to Audrey who was recovering from a stroke. Audrey was heard saying that it was “brilliant having Karen to help me”.

What did you think of the programme? Was it an accurate portrayal of district nurses? Did it show the challenges facing the profession?

Your comments could be published in the magazine.

  • What? Nursing the Nation
  • When? Thursdays at 8.30pm on ITV1

Readers' comments (6)

  • Enjoyable. However, not a realistic picture of the challenges within district nursing. The programme quoted Shona as having, up to 10 visit's daily. In reality try 20 visit's with no lunch break! I hope in future episodes it will show the many challenges district nurses face. Including poor hospital discharges often sending people home without specialist equipment, without vital medications and without vital dressings (to mention a few). Difficulties of gaining entry to house bound patient's. I love my role as a Community Staff Nurse. However, for care to be given in the community funding is urgently needed for more staff to cope with the enormous demand on our service. If a ward is full it is closed, our list's just get longer and longer with no additional staff. I sincerely hope someone realises this soon, or more nurses will leave this essential sector of nursing. Which would be sad, as it is a very rewarding field of nursing to work in.

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  • maybe home is the most comfortable and a much safer place to nurse many patients and with this in view services available 24/24 should be increased and the size of hospitals reduced to provide state of the art care only for those who really need to be hospitalised. it seems large flag ship hospitals may now be a thing of the past and funding might be better spread to smaller well equipped and staffed clinics and far more domiciliary and community care made available.

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  • In my experience I tend to agree with Anonymous above that a whole day shift often provides me with sometimes over 20 visits, depending on type of visits and locality! Working in a rural area there is sometimes time spent travelling which also needs to be accounted for! I often have my lunch in the car, which of course is illegal whilst driving, but sometimes a necessity! A travel mug of coffee made before I leave home is a must as I may not get into the office until late afternoon when it can be a quick gulp and turn around to pick up more visits !
    I also occasionally work the night shift as our area provides community nursing 24/24 and that is another experience altogether, the patients feel more vulnerable at night, and are often more grateful because of this. Then you also get those who believe that you do nothing else but wait for their call so expect immediate service, even though you may be 30 miles away with a terminal patient requiring a syringe driver set up and catheter inserted, the distance being a major factor on country roads, so ETA could be 1 hour or more!
    Despite all this I love my job and really would not want to be doing anything else. However the number of patients requiring the service is growing so we really need more money pumped into the community to provide more staff for a less stretched and better service (or even an equal service)'in the future!
    Unfortunately there is an idea in the acute sector that community nurses have it "more easy", this is definitely not the case, and along with the actual physical work we also have to try to fit in the paperwork!

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  • I agree with all the above comments having worked as a staff nurse and District Nurse for many years. The challenges are huge these days and the staffing levels have been cut. It seems that the community teams are easy targets to absorb more and more with less and less staff. Community nursing and ward nursing cannot be compared, it is in itself a specialised area of nursing that all nurses are not able to function in. The programme did not show the real side of being a D.N, lets hope future episodes capture the real world of community nursing, and how versatile, adaptable and inventive, (not forgetting to mention hard working) they are.

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  • I work in rural Cornwall and can see 20 or more patients daily travelling over 50 miles a day doing more complex procedures than were shown on this TV programme. I would say it did not show the real side of district nursing, having to constantly pick up the pieces left by poor hospital discharges and basically any other work that other agencies do not want to do in the community with very little resources.I am hopeing the series improves otherwise I would welcome the TV crew down to see what we are up against on a daily basis with or without all the chocolates!!

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  • I once worked with a DN service where no one had a Bradford score less than 300. After a few days in post, I was amazed we had any staff at all. It is incredibly stressful. One of the reasons managers don't fund it as we'll as we should is because we don't understand it or know how to quantify things very well. But I had the good fortune to work for a brilliant nurse who taught me a lot and we used this
    I know it's long but page 114 gives a good to do list.
    Too many nurses just battle on because you're so patient centred. When you help us understand and re-design the care you provide, it makes all the difference in the world. You might sit in a meeting full of people in suits and wonder why on earth you bother, but if you use some of the things in the link to help drive change, we end up speaking the same language. After all, we'll all end up being looked after by a DN one day, so it's our responsibility to plan something together that we'd be happy to be on the receiving end of too.

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