There’s an awful lot of people out there who want to be a nurse: mostly women, admittedly, but most of them don’t have that caring and loving streak that you need. Or the patience. Or the sheer willpower for that matter. I suggest that if you’re thinking of being a nurse, or are in the process of becoming one and are doing one of those college courses (like Latoya the healthcare assistant ends up doing in this first episode) then watch Confessions of a Nurse. It’s horrible really.
Admittedly, this programme does have the distinct whiff of ‘bless the NHS’ and focuses on the very angelic and caring nurses – and I bet we all know that there’s a lot of them out there that really couldn’t give a damn about the patients. Need we be reminded of recent Government reports in to patient care? Even one of the nurses here points out that most people think it’s an easy job because you have to do a lot of administration and they completely forget about the whole patient care part. So it feels like More4 are treading the line a bit here – they certainly don’t want to portray nurses like that, and for impartial spectators that would be a horrible experience where you’d never want to go into hospital again.
But bless ’em, it’s difficult to be mad at people like Latoya who are only paid £14,000 a year to decant peoples’ urine and change the contents of stoma bags. She works every shift she can to buy a car (which she eventually does) and wishes she’d stayed at college (which she eventually goes back to – ‘there’s only so many stoma bags you can change’, she explains). Sarah has received a £5,000 pay increase with a massive catch – she has to look after the entire hospital at night without neglecting her usual nursing duties. So when one of her patients is close to death, she knows she can’t stay in the middle of the night because her pager will go off at any minute. But she does manage to move out of her mum’s house and becomes the proud owner of a lot of Union Jack furniture. Meanwhile, Debbie is a staff nurse working in a nice ward… but she gets more than she bargained for when she’s transferred temporarily to an orthopaedic trauma ward. Suddenly it’s all kicking off and she has to deal with abusive patients and a number of language barriers. Then she goes home to a man who doesn’t ask her how her day has been – Debbie explains that she keeps home and work like separate in case he doesn’t want to eat his dinner afterwards.
It’s mildly insightful, if a little wishy-washy. Everything comes out clean in the end and the nurses are typically bubbly and chatty, but it lacks a bit of drama – the closest thing we get to it is Sarah treating a patient in cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, this is acompanied by a slightly dull voice-over telling us what she’s thinking. The major thing is that nursing isn’t glamorous. It actually looks a bit dull if you take Latoya as a marker for what they’re meant to do. Perhaps Junior Doctors is more for those who want a bit of excitement in their real-life medical documentaries. But I missed that in favour of MasterChef. Floops.