Reflections on #bedpansandbandages – Student Nurse Graham Bennett

Graham Bennett, @nursingSUni student nurse reflects on his time being filmed for #bedpansandbandages.

Last year I had the exciting experience of taking part in and being filmed for the ITV documentary ‘Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages’.

Back in June 2013 I spotted the announcement on the University Blackboard site and thought that’s definitely something I would be interested in. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to be on the television and it looked like a really positive show looking into the lives of student nurses. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share my personal experiences and perhaps even inspire people to get involved with healthcare in the future. I also thought ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ so, I expressed an interest and was provided an application form from ITV4 the production company and proceeded to complete it. I submitted the form as requested and much to my surprise I received a call back from one of the production team 15 minutes later offering me an interview!

The initial interview was held at the Mary Seacole building at the University and when I met the producer and entered the room it was a little like the big brother diary room. There was a small TV camera and a chair waiting for me and the interview was conducted from there.

It took a few weeks to hear back, but a couple of weeks before I commenced my eight week placement over the summer; I received a call confirming I would be part of the show!

When I arrived at my placement on Coronary Care Unit (CCU) at Royal Bolton Hospital I broke the news to my mentor and ward manager that I had been selected for the show and checked if it was ok with them to be filmed around the unit.

At the time I think we all had visions in our heads of a large film crew with railway tracks, snapper boards, floodlights and makeup all over the unit. We thought that would be following me round from the second I woke up until I went to bed. In fact it turned out to be quite the opposite. The team was fantastic and filming was performed very discreetly with just a two person crew and a handheld HD video camera and small radio microphones. To be honest you barely noticed the crew were there for most of the filming as they blended in to the background really giving it a ‘fly on the wall’ feel to the experience. Although there is always activity happening in and around the CCUunit we were not filmed all the time and nobody was filmed without consent.

After every day of filming we took time out to reflect and do a small interview to answer questions about the day. This was really interesting as I had no prior warning as to what questions would be asked and really had to think on my feet. However, I enjoyed this as it was a really good test of my knowledge and experience.

There was a large amount of footage taken including most aspects of my life, in hospital, at university, in my home, performing with my band and out doing my volunteer work with St John Ambulance. I even had a four hour long ‘master interview’ we could have gone on and on and filmed more but we ran out of time.

Overall, I found taking part in the documentary and the filming to be a very positive experience and I got a lot out of it. I am looking forward to seeing what footage has made the final cut, and I hope people enjoy the series as much as I have. There are a lot of fantastic nursing students and a great team of people contributing towards this series and I hope it is well received.

Graham Bennett

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