A new documentary is set to shine a light on the challenges faced by nursing students as they undergo clinical placements amid ongoing staff shortages and workplace pressures.
The short film, which will be aired later this month, follows the lives and experiences of three nursing students as they navigate the difficulties and triumphs of the profession over the past few years.
“Nurses don’t really like to talk about bad aspects of the job, they just sort of get on with it”
Producer and filmmaker Ray Sims told Nursing Times she started the documentary project in 2020 after being struck by the response of nursing students during the coronavirus pandemic.
After a period of research and through reaching out to students, Ms Ray found three nursing students who agreed to be featured in the film.
The students engaged in interviews and provided some video footage from their clinical placements.
The documentary – titled On Call – is mostly comprised of clips from the nursing students involved, in an attempt to showcase “their way of seeing the world” as a student, said Ms Ray.
Within the film, nursing students described how clinical placements could sometimes feel “more like a workday” as opposed to a learning experience.
They also highlighted how “overworked” staff were during their shifts, as well as the ongoing workforce shortages.
One student nurse involved the film said more needed to be done to ensure “students aren’t seen as [being] there to fill in the staff shortage”.
Another described staff burn out and how “a lot” of nurses were choosing to leave the NHS or the profession entirely.
“I think there is a big culture in nursing where nurses don’t really like to talk about bad aspects of the job, they just sort of get on with it,” said one of the nursing students in the film.
There were also descriptions of patients being rude and racist towards nursing students and staff.
Students involved said it was knowing that they were making a difference to patients’ lives that kept them going.
Ms Ray told Nursing Times how all those who featured “spoke a lot about mental health” and “the impact that being a student had on their mental health”.
She also described the elements of “hopefulness” and “optimism” among the nursing students about what they wanted to achieve in the future as registered nurses.
The documentary is to be screened in Bermondsey, London on Saturday 25 March and will later be published online.