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TV series aims to give insight into life of student nurses


Next week will see the start of an eight-part document series following the lives of a group of student nurses in Nottingham and Manchester.

The series, called Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages, will be screened on ITV from 14 February.

ITV said the series would offer an “insight into what it takes to become a nurse in the 21st century”, featuring all the “pressures, emotions and challenges” they faced.

It would uncover their motivations and the challenges they faced on a daily basis, while “juggling academic study with home life and work on the wards”, the TV company said.

Episode one will follow three trainee nurses, including 24-year-old first-year student Alistair, who previously worked as a carpet fitter.  

It sees a nervous Alistair set foot on the ward for the very first time, after two months in the classroom. He said: “You won’t save lives fitting carpets. But if I can save one life being a nurse, then what an achievement that is in life.”

He added: “I’m worried most about how I’ll react to people in such poor condition or people who seriously need help. I’ve never seen it before, so I think it’ll be quite a shock to the system.”

The programme also follows mature student Dany, 50, who is picking up a career she began training for 30 years ago, but had to give up due to illness, and Helen, 21, who is nearing the end of a degree in children’s nursing.

Helen said: “When I started, maybe I was a little bit naïve to how much work there was. But now I definitely know. The work-life balance has kind of gone out the window and I am doing a lot more work than life, if you know what I mean. But, I know at the end it’s for a good cause.”

She added: “What people don’t understand is, it’s not just a degree – I’m still doing a degree now, plus full-time hours every single week.”


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Readers' comments (11)

  • michael stone

    The one(s) following junior doctors (BBC I think) were interesting.

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  • Good job they didn't follow my group of students. The midnight police raid in the graveyard is still talked about almost thirty years later....... :)

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  • It's a shame the title of the series reinforces the idea that all nursing takes place in acute hospitals. I hope that the series itself reflects all fields of practice and the diverse settings in which student nurses practice. I look forward to it with interest!

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  • Bedpans and bandages? That clearly conveys graduate level critical thinking training...

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  • Yeah im pretty sure this is just going to show a media friendly diluted version of Nursing. Lots of chatting and talking and students waffling on about the human aspect whilst omitting the science altogether.

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  • Will be somewhat scripted and edited of course,

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  • It's not really going to be a true depiction though is it? I suppose these students will be welcolmed onto the ward, introduced to everyone, given a list of learning objectives etc. When anyone who has been a student nurse knows in reality that doesn't really happen.

    You are a dogs body, escorting patients to lets say x-ray and then getting shouted at by the staff there because you can't tell them very much about the patient, running on endless trips to the pharmacy, expected to make up the numbers when there is a shortage of HCA's, or even being rostered on the off duty so the HCA's can have days off, even though you are supposed to be supernumery.

    Personal care is very important, any humane person knows that, and everyone who works on the ward wheter they be ward manager or the hca, should all partake, but you are there to learn, not to be a HCA all the time. So you have to speak up for yourself, and always ask to do things, I learned that after my first year.

    It all depends on the placement you are on, some will treat you like rubbish and some will be lovely and really enthusiastic. But if you are unlucky enough, you do get a mentor that doesn't speak to you, but this is what the happens, and that will not be shown.

    But I hope it isn't to misleading, but when there is a camera there, the staff will not act themselves.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 8-Feb-2014 11:43 pm

    The BBC ones about the junior doctors, were very open about the tyro medics being unsure of their medical competence and being 'nervous' when they first hit the wards: it seemed to take about a year 'before we feel like 'real' doctors'.

    The series also touched on lots of other things - how hard some of them found it to deal with patient deaths was one - and those series were in my opinion pretty informative: perhaps the one about nurses will be as well.

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  • Can't wait to see the edited version of how my placments should look like!!

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  • It is great that a TV programme has aimed to look at the role of the nursing student, however, one field of nursing hasn't been covered! That is very bad indeed! Learning disability nursing is a vital field of nursing and the meeting the needs of people with learning disabilities is so important! The programme has done learning disability nursing and the client group no favours at all. I only hope the omission does not have a detrimental affect on recruitment into learning disability nursing, which will ultimately affect outcomes for the client group.

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