When I was at unit me and my housemate would watch Casualty and Holby City for the enjoyment of pointing out the errors and how it was as much like a real hospital as Silent Witness is like a real pathology lab (I do love Silent Witness though). I haven’t watched any sort of medical drama for years, partly because I can’t get over the multitude of errors and partly because I can’t stop laughing and any non medical people get annoyed.
When I started at uni it was quite obvious which of the other nursing students had watched far too much Casualty. When we were fitted for our uniforms there was one girl who was trying to persuade the fitting assistant to order her uniform a size smaller so that it would be ‘more figure hugging.’ I also remember one girl in particular who was convinced that she was going to bag herself a handsome young doctor whilst on placement and was then very confused when they were all far to busy and harassed to be remotely interested.
Needless to say neither of them made it to the end of the course.
So apart from the obvious differences (the majority of the staff being ridiculously attractive for starters) here are my favourite ways in which Casualty in no way resembles working in an NHS hospital.
The bags of IV fluid are always full.
All of the electrical equipment always works because no one has ever forgotten to plug it in.
Patients never have to be sent to a more specialist hospital for anything, ever.
The wards never run out of hand soap, paper towels etc because it’s the weekend and the staff never have to go on a hunt through six wards to find some more.
No one is ever off sick because they’ve got a back injury.
They never take advantage of Domino’s Tuesday offer for NHS staff.
The staff get as many breaks as they like.
Every type of heart rhythm in a cardiac arrest is shockable with a defibrillator (nb in reality only two heart rhythms are shockable, the other two do not respond and using a defibrillator is pointless).
Half of the staff are in, or have been in relationships with each other (I’ve worked with two couples and in both cases they worked on the same ward for less than two years).
They all seem to work together on the same shifts, no one ever seems to work the night shift (I’ve no idea who staffs the hospital the rest of the time) and they always work Christmas AND New Year’s Eve. (The original series of Casualty was based on the staff working the permanent night shift so I’ve no idea what’s happened there).
Everyone always has the not only the energy to go out after work but actually make themselves look presentable as opposed to just going to the pub in their jeans (like we used to do).
The staff never have stains on their uniforms from pens that have exploded in their pocket or have been through the washing machine. It’s also always perfectly ironed and stays that way for the entire shift.
There’s a distinct lack of nursing students and it must be the only hospital in the country than manages to function on a daily basis without them.
Battles of life and death are an every day occurrence whereas being covered in a patient’s rapidly expelled bodily fluids is a rarity. If they do have a run in with bodily fluids it’s either vomit or blood, never anything else.
Even after they’ve been doing chest compressions for ten minutes no one ever looks in the slightest bit sweaty or messy or even particularly tired.
I’m just jealous really!!