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9 Ways Nursing is NOTHING like on TV

Nursing Notes



9 Ways Nursing is NOTHING like on TV

Being a Nurse is nothing like you see on TV. It isn’t that glamorous, it doesn’t pay that well and we certainly don’t do it to marry a Doctor. 

TV portrays a very strange image of Nurses as minimally qualified, doctor loving, order taking, glamorous and sexy icons of the healthcare world – the reality however is very different.


We don’t just do as the Doctor says.

Nursing is a profession in its own right and has it own completely different skill-set than other healthcare professionals. We work alongside Doctors to provide care for our patients. We have a mind of our own and don’t mindlessly follow commands from a god-like figure – if we disagree with a Doctor it’s our job to advocate for our patient and say so.

Sometimes a Nurse is better than a Doctor.

Sometimes a Nurse is better than a Doctor. Take; urinary catheterisation, venepuncture, cannulation, IV drug administration – Nurses when was the last time you saw a Doctor administering IV antibiotics or fluids? 

Resuscitation is nothing like TV.

It’s brutal and scary – full of sweat (from the gym-like workout that is CPR) and tears. Every second of that arrest counts so Nurses and Doctors are rushing around to save a life. You will never have seen so many healthcare professions in one place until you have witnessed a cardiac arrest.

Nurses can be Male or Female!

Healthcare workers still suffer with massive gender stereotyping – male nurses do exist and they are everywhere in Nursing.

Not every Nurse wants to marry a Doctor.

You see it on TV all of the time, Nurse meets a handsome Doctor and they fall madly in love. Although statistics show healthcare workers seem to pair with other healthcare workers, I think this is more down to the shift patterns and the stresses that come with a career in healthcare.

We deal with a lot of bodily fluids.

It doesn’t matter if its; urine, faeces, sputum, bile, blood, spit or something you found by the side of the road – it’s all in our job description.

We cry sometimes.

We are a sensitive bunch and sometimes lack the stiff upper lip you see on TV. We see people through the best and worst times in their lives and sometimes its hard to handle. We find ourselves occasionally needing a few minutes to shed a tear of sadness or joy.

We wouldn’t change our job for the world.

We complain about the pay and the long hours but ultimately we do the job because we enjoy it. You couldn’t manage 10 minutes as a Nurse if you didn’t.

We work as a team.

Doctors, Nurses, Physio, OT, Healthcare Assistant, Porter, Receptionist – these are the people that save lives everyday. We work as a team and without one another we would all be lost.

Nurses, is there anything else you would add to our list of  ‘9 Ways Nursing is NOTHING like on TV’?

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dee Lawson

    11th September 2017 at 10:32 am

    The bloody paperwork and if it’s not written in the notes it didn’t happen mentality !

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Adam Kay’s Letter to the Secretary of State for Health

Matt B




Adam Kay's Letter to the Secretary of State for Health

Adam Kay, a former Doctor, publishes an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health calling for him to walk a mile in the shoes of a junior doctor.

In his new book, ‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor,’ the former obstetrics and gynaecology doctor writes candidly about his experiences as a junior doctor and the effect working in medicine has on both his personal and professional life.

In the open letter to The Secretary of State for Health, he said;

“Roger Fisher was a professor of law at Harvard University, who suggested back in 1981 that they should implant the American nuclear codes in the heart of a volunteer. If the President wanted to press the big red button and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, then first he’d have to take a butcher’s knife and dig it out of the volunteer’s chest himself; so that he realizes what death actually means first-hand, and understands the implications of his actions. Because the President would never press the button if he had to do that.

“Similarly, you and your successor and their successors for ever more should have to work some shifts alongside junior doctors. Not the thing you already do, where a chief executive shows you round a brand-new ward that’s gleaming like a space station. No: palliate a cancer patient; watch a trauma victim have their leg amputated; deliver a dead baby. Because I defy any human being, even you, to know what the job really entails and question a single doctor’s motivation. If you knew, you would be applauding them, you’d be proud of them, you’d be humbled by them, and you’d be eternally grateful for everything they do.

“The way you treat junior doctors demonstrably doesn’t work. I strongly suggest you seek a second opinion.

If you’re interested in reading more, you can buy a copy of his book on Amazon or book tickets for his ongoing tour.

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The Junior Doctors Survival Guide written by Nurses

Matt B




The Junior Doctors Survival Guide written by Nurses

Well done. Congratulations. You’ve survived medical school and made it ‘on to the shop floor’, this is where the real test begins.

Your first few weeks as a Junior Doctor are going to be difficult and jam-packed; a new hospital, new colleagues, new patients, and a new hospital system to figure out.

Here are ten tips that will stand you in good stead for your first day, week, month, year and beyond. This is your Junior Doctors Survival Guide as written by Nurses;

  • Respect the nurses. You can come to us for advice and guidance – we will have you back – but please don’t take us for granted. We have an abundance of knowledge about our patients, the hospital and how to make stuff happen.
  • Each member of the team is important. Doctors, nurses, porters, physiotherapists, domestics, estates, plumbers – the hospital simply couldn’t function without them.
  • Don’t be a smart arse. We know and understand you have worked hard through medical school and congratulations on becoming a Doctor, but now it’s time to get to work.
  • Have a sense of humor. Make sure your able to have a laugh and a joke but be careful not to cross the line.
  • Master cannulation. I don’t just mean know how to put a cannula in – develop the skill and master it – it will stand you in good stead for the future.
  • Eat and drink. The list of jobs is, and always will be, almost endless. Make sure you take your breaks; eat, drink and chat to your fellow colleagues.
  • Show emotion. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s going to be hard – medical school hasn’t prepared you for the first few months of life as a Doctor. If you’re having an especially tough day talk to someone about it. Don’t beat yourself up for having a little cry – it happens to the best of us.
  • Don’t just look at the numbers. We spend 12 hours a day with our patient, we will come to you when “something just isn’t right”, we don’t know what, we can’t put our finger on it. But, we know our patients.
  • Your first death is hard. Expected or not, nothing can prepare you for the death of your first patient. We have all been through this. See- show emotion and How to Deal with the Death of a patient
  • Tidy up after yourself. Nothing and I mean nothing, annoys the ward staff more than a Doctor who thinks the staff are there to clean up after them. Tidy away your sharps, notes and coffee cup.
  • Ask for help. Your seniors are there to support you – it’s literally their job. Don’t be afraid to escalate patients or situations to them and never put yourself in a situation where you have no backup.
  • Admit when you simply don’t know. Making up an answer to a question can have serious consequences. If you don’t know. Say, but find out.
  • Try to go home on time. Look through your list – find out what can wait until tomorrow. Your downtime and social life are important too (check out our list of NHS Discounts for downtime ideas). You work to live not live to work.
  • The hospital at night is scary. There are fewer doctors, nurses and seniors around to support you. Call for help early and escalate appropriately.

Remember, you are part of our team. Our job is to work together in the interests of patient care. We will try to look after you, make you tea when you’re sad and, rest assured, we will tell you when you’re being an idiot.

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