Medical Students / JMOsNews / Opinion

ABC TV Junior Doctors: Your life in their hands

The ABC began airing a new series about junior doctors in the UK that many young doctors and students in Australia will be able to relate to. This is the not the first series of its kind aired on the ABC, there was also one made in NZ, and I believe an earlier series by the same name. Junior doctors is available for viewing on iView.

At the beginning of August every year in the UK, when most senior hospital staff are on holiday, over 7,000 inexperienced newly qualified students face the daunting prospect of walking into the hospital wards as doctors for the first time. What happens when they are left in charge of saving lives?

Junior Doctors follows six such rookies over a four-month period as they set out on their chosen careers in the busy, big city hospitals of Newcastle in the north-east of England. For each, this is a journey of discovery and viewers will empathise with these engaging young men and women as they face one of the most demanding jobs in the world, where dealing successfully with patients and other hospital staff is as important as getting the diagnosis and treatment correct.

This is life at the sharp end of medicine, and cameras are there every tentative step of the way as they tackle everything from first-day nerves and wrestling drunks in A&E, to coping with their first experiences of death, delivering their first baby, performing life-saving operations, right through to their first professional placement.

The cameras are also there when their hospital shifts end and their private lives begin. These dedicated young doctors are sharing accommodation on the Quayside, much as they did during their student days. Of course, their lives are very different now and they must learn to balance work with play, relationships and family commitments.

Expect an emotional rollercoaster of tears, frustration, humour and triumph as friendships form, romances blossom, and the reality of working for a living takes hold. All that, plus the constant fear of accidentally killing someone.

Beware of spoilers for those who read more.

My first impression was that the doctors, especially the young pretty blonde and the tall, dark handsome young doctors were specifically chosen to represent stereotypes that make for good viewing. I found their journeys, often proceeding according to the stereotype script weren't that interesting, but other aspects were. I'm hoping the first episode was more about setting the scene and that deeper themes will get some time later on. Still, it was interesting to watch and a felt a little close to home with my own internship so near.
    <blockquote>especially the young pretty blonde and the tall, dark handsome young doctors were specifically chosen to represent stereotypes that make for good viewing.</blockquote><br />
    <br />
    This. <br />
    <br />
    It was a good watch though. Might see if I can find the other eps somewhere.
      A litmus test: some of you will find Keir impressive; others will want to stick him with a fork to put a stop to the smarmy. Similarly, you'll either feel sorry for Katherine, or want to shake her. ;)
        J
        • J
          JeremiahGreenspoon
        • July 22, 2011
        I quite enjoyed it, but would still be hoping for a bit more, like Matt said.<br />
        Partly because so far I'm more interested in the other characters rather than the first episode stars Suzi and Adam. Katherine and Lucy at least seem interesting to me.<br />
        <br />
        Keir's true colours shone as he rushed in to save the house from burning down with that fire blanket. Thank goodness he was there:huh:
          Yeah I found this really interesting. But I am of the opinion Keir should be stuck with a fork....<br />
          <br />
          I quite like the chubby one, he seemed nice.
<blockquote></blockquote><br />
suzi was cute
J
  • J
    JeremiahGreenspoon
  • July 22, 2011
To be fair to Keir, it's probably not an unusual way for a competitive a-type personality (possibly lots of med students) to act when a relative superior put on camera. Alpha male attributes, here they come...<br />
<br />
<span style="font-style:italic;">*cough* Thou shalt not discuss illegally obtaining TV shows *cough* ~Hav.</span>
    He didn't strike me as much of a Type A personality, TBH. It's been a few months since I watched this series (so my recollections are not fresh), but what struck me was the over-arching confidence. There was never much evidence to show whether that clinical confidence was entirely justified, but the impression I got was that he was set up as the mature poster child JMO (ie the one you all want to be or work with), regardless. Almost undoubtedly, this portrayal is the fault of the editors than Keir himself - there's no way of knowing if these criticisms are fair or not. <br />
    <br />
    It's funny - most interns and residents come across as underconfident, and more often that not, they under-estimate their abilities - this is almost the default for most. On the flipside, you can get some juniors who present very well indeed, and can give the impression they know more and are more capable than they really are. When you're supervising such JMOs, you can get a nasty surprise when you realise they weren't as competent as you first assumed. This can be further compounded when the JMO in question has limited insight into their limitations (some convince even themselves by way of that strong, secure and confident attitude they put out).
      Channel 9 (NBN) are currently filming an Australian series about junior doctors at the John Hunter, I think it's planned to screen near the end of this year.
        <blockquote>Channel 9 (NBN) are currently filming an Australian series about junior doctors at the John Hunter, I think it's planned to screen near the end of this year.</blockquote><br />
        <br />
        Here's hoping they break new ground. Australia is yet to produce a fresh and honest "fly on the wall" series about medics. It would be great to see them reach beyond the safe waters they've navigated to date... though I'm not sure Channel Nine and a hospital's PR department would be keen on that.
          It'll be very interesting to watch something set in Australia regardless, I'm looking forward to it. I think you can watch from a different perspective as a med student/doctor.
          You might find your interest wanes over time! After a while, it is a bit like bringing work home with you - the last thing you feel like doing at the end of your working day is watching RPA if you've just come from there, for instance. ;)<br />
          <br />
          Anything better than "Medical Rookies" would be a good start. Let's see if Channel 9 can better that.
          <blockquote>Here's hoping they break new ground. Australia is yet to produce a fresh and honest "fly on the wall" series about medics. It would be great to see them reach beyond the safe waters they've navigated to date... though I'm not sure Channel Nine and a hospital's PR department would be keen on that.</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Yeah who knows, you couldn't pay me enough to be filmed for a show like that. It's interesting watching reactions to the cameras too, I've been in close contact while working and found most other health care workers want to stay away from the cameras and feel their work will be analysed if caught on film. People seem to wash their hands and follow protocol a lot more when they are possibly being filmed... maybe a few hand hygiene surveillance cameras would make the world of difference in infection rates? ;-) <br />
          <br />
          <blockquote>It'll be very interesting to watch something set in Australia regardless, I'm looking forward to it. I think you can watch from a different perspective as a med student/doctor.</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Meh I'm sure they'll have to cut out a heap of boring paperwork or simply won't get a good audience. Who wants to watch the intern doing admission and discharge paper work? The audience is going to want drama and action, I'm sure interns get a bit of that but the majority of day to day stuff isn't that exciting I would have thought.
          <blockquote>I'm not sure Channel Nine and a hospital's PR department would be keen on that.</blockquote><br />
          Yeah I think that it will probably be heavily edited and only show selective scenes.....I think the BBC one was definitely playing to the stereotypes a little bit but from what I've seen it was a reasonably well produced series, even if it perhaps didn't show everything.
Episode 1: <a href=http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/799436>http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/799436</a> <br />
Episode 6 is on youtube: <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOTqT6K8nwU&feature=related>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOTqT6K8nwU&feature=related</a>
    As a med hopeful I had very mixed reactions to it (all the while assuming it wasn't completely representative of life in the health industry). On the one hand it was all very exciting and cool and made me really look forward to hopefully being a doctor one day. On the other hand it scared the crap out of me. I just kept thinking 'There's no way I could do that' even with things which would be relatively mundane like taking blood. It really made me think that perhaps I'm not cut out for medicine as some of the things they were doing I don't know if I could do if I'd had a million years training.
      I watched the series start to finish today, thought it was pretty interesting :)
        <blockquote>I watched the series start to finish today, thought it was pretty interesting :)</blockquote><br />
        <br />
        Howw?? Where'd you find all the episodes! :)
          J
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            JeremiahGreenspoon
          • July 23, 2011
          <span style="color:#222222" class="colored"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><font size="2"><span style="font-family: verdana"><blockquote> I just kept thinking 'There's no way I could do that' even with things which would be relatively mundane like taking blood. It really made me think that perhaps I'm not cut out for medicine as some of the things they were doing I don't know if I could do if I'd had a million years training.</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          I know where you're coming from, but Matt's blog about hurting people (and how quickly he was desensitised to it) is probably relevant, and yours is probably not an uncommon feeling. Blood and needles are probably some of the more common 'eeps!' things, although I was watching it with others and they baulked at the idea of the rectal exam, but that sort of thing doesn't bother me (I guess having a baby might make someone else's poo seem a bit less frightening).</span></font></span></span><br />
          <font size="2"><span style="font-family: verdana"><br />
          <blockquote>Howw?? Where'd you find all the episodes! :)</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Let's just say the internet is amazing, and I have it too.</span></font>
          <blockquote><span style="color:#222222" class="colored"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><font size="2"><span style="font-family: verdana"><br /></span></font></span></span><font size="2"><span style="font-family: verdana"> Let's just say the internet is amazing, and I have it too.</span></font></blockquote><br />
          <br />
          I looked but couldn't seem to find it....Do you have a link? If so that would be much appreciated :)
          J
          • J
            JeremiahGreenspoon
          • July 24, 2011
          <blockquote>I looked but couldn't seem to find it....Do you have a link? If so that would be much appreciated :)</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Owing to this:<br />
          <br />
          <span style="color:#222222" class="colored"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman"><blockquote><br />
          <span style="font-style:italic;">*cough* Thou shalt not discuss illegally obtaining TV shows *cough* ~Hav.</span></blockquote></span></span><br />
          <br />
          which is fair enough, PM sent :)
          Lucy's sister (episode 2) is pretty good looking. That's about it for my reactions so far :p
          I'm nearly finished the series and I have to say, I'm in the group who want to jab Keir with a fork for being a bit of a knob.
          Hmm, I had every intention of following this through on a weekly basis but if everyone is going to watch all of it then I might have to follow suit!
          J
          • J
            JeremiahGreenspoon
          • July 24, 2011
          Yeh it's tough to wait these days when full seasons are available on tap online at the same time as their dripped out to Australian TV.<br />
          <br />
          Watched ep2 last night, the outstanding theme seeming to be long hours and 'you can't save everyone'. Interesting enough... they haven't done a detailed episode on Keir but so far to me he just seems calm and accomplished compared to the rest (as he should, being a resident). A bit smarmy but I put that mostly down to his unfortunately plummy english accent and expressions rather than his words or actions.<br />
          <br />
          Finding I identify most with Lucy so far, and looking forward to the patient that doesn't give Adam the thanks and appreciation he seems to crave so much.
          <blockquote><br />
          Finding I identify most with Lucy so far, and looking forward to the patient that doesn't give Adam the thanks and appreciation he seems to crave so much.</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Adam definitely does better further on in the series (I don't think the editors did him any favours) - by the end, I found myself thinking I wouldn't mind dealing with an intern like him. He nicely exhibits the tendency of interns wanting to run before they can crawl, as well as that awful frustration of being at the bottom of the ladder - it's something that almost all of us experience... hence some of the cringe-factor, I think. Lucy was my other pick of the bunch (as in, who you would find interesting to work with).
          Interesting chinaski, I'm looking forward to seeing those characters progress in that case.<br />
          <br />
          <blockquote>Lucy's sister (episode 2) is pretty good looking. That's about it for my reactions so far :p</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          That was my reaction too. I don't know if I could have had any other reaction, to be honest, I don't even remember what was being said while she was on camera...
<blockquote></blockquote><br />
I also found Keir somewhat arrogant.I did think it was a little strange that I too will be a 24 year old intern.
    What wasn't made completely clear (to me, at least) was that they aren't all interns. Some of them are residents, which accounts for a difference in their skills and confidence levels.
<blockquote></blockquote><br />
<a href=http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/its-the-real-young-doctors/story-fn6b3v4f-1226118731529>http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/its-the-real-young-doctors/story-fn6b3v4f-1226118731529</a> An Australian version about to come out =)
<blockquote></blockquote><br />
<a href=http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/youngdoctors/>http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/youngdoctors/</a>
    <blockquote><a href=http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/youngdoctors/>http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/youngdoctors/</a></blockquote><br />
    <br />
    Wow, if I'm judging lots just by looking at pictures, as I am often want to do, it seems like the Australian version is essentially trying to follow very closely what was done in the UK.
      <blockquote>Wow, if I'm judging lots just by looking at pictures, as I am often want to do, it seems like the Australian version is essentially trying to follow very closely what was done in the UK.</blockquote><br />
      <br />
      I really hope this isn't offensive to anyone, but I wanna know where the asian (background) doctors are that make up 70% of my course.
        • Kyle
        • September 21, 2011
        <blockquote>I really hope this isn't offensive to anyone, but I wanna know where the asian (background) doctors are that make up 70% of my course.</blockquote><br />
        <br />
        Now that is a very good question, 7 new doctors, 7 of them white...*
          Such a shame. I really feel like a series such as this would benefit from including a 23 year old who still lives with his/her parents and has never had a life/occupation outside of doing well in the HSC and then going on to medicine. Not just to be representative, but because if anyone's likely to be struck hard by the harsh reality of a full-time job with scary responsibility it will be them and that journey is surely interesting.<br />
          <br />
          [MENTION=998]Season[/MENTION], not every where is so full of Asians as UNSW, you know. :p Although, yeah, terrific point, what's the deal here? Obviously the people think every-day Australians will be better able to relate to these young adults but I think they're misunderstanding their audience if that's the case.
          Well yeah that's the reality of it. At my previous hospital placement I was the only white person (out of 9). One of the patient's actually congratulated me for being "white, female and in medical school". I was at someone's 21st the other day proclaiming how I wasn't a minority :p when the sneaky bugger illustrated that i was one of 5, including halfies, white people in the room (out of about 70). One of the main reasons for this is that all the country kids are going rural now. <br />
          <br />
          The living at home thing I think is especially prevalent at UNSW, perhaps less so at universities in less prosperous areas? That's not to say that they aren't involved in millions of co curricular activities. Its more that they get amazed at my cooking/washing my own clothes ability (new superhero ability).
          [offtopic]<blockquote>Well yeah that's the reality of it. At my previous hospital placement I was the only white person (out of 9). One of the patient's actually congratulated me for being "white, female and in medical school". I was at someone's 21st the other day proclaiming how I wasn't a minority :p when the sneaky bugger illustrated that i was one of 5, including halfies, white people in the room (out of about 70). One of the main reasons for this is that all the country kids are going rural now. <br />
          <br />
          The living at home thing I think is especially prevalent at UNSW, perhaps less so at universities in less prosperous areas? That's not to say that they aren't involved in millions of co curricular activities. Its more that they get amazed at my cooking/washing my own clothes ability (new superhero ability).</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Interestingly, and this is probably no longer true for the earlier years, my year is full of people who are quite capable of living out of home and non-subcontinent background Asians are a clear minority group. [/offtopic]
          According to the above linked site this show starts Wednesday at 8pm (The Australian one that is). Looks interesting!!
          Just reminding everyone that this series begins tonight.
          I shall be watching it ^^
          Not showing in Orange/Dubbs tonight. :(
          OOO I'm reading the profiles on each doctor and one of them is a dentist who just finished his medicine degree and is planning to do max fac, this will be interesting ^^. Its okay kyle I'm back in QLD :)
          Supposedly it is actually on tomorrow night at 8pm...
          it's on now, we're watching it
          Really? I hate NBN and everything they stand for (n)
          I didn't expect the show to be so short. Leila seems nice too.
          Just watched it. They introduced a few of the characters in a nice way. Will be interesting to see how the series progress ^^.
          Hopefully it gets put on youtube, or it's on tomorrow night here like the damned website says it is...
          I wasn't that impressed. It was alright :p. I will see as the series progresses.
          <blockquote>I wasn't that impressed. It was alright :p. I will see as the series progresses.</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          I know what you mean Cide. I had a similar impression. Not sure how the series will progress and what they will focus on. Guess we have to wait and see.
          Terrible show, could improve. Recommend watching with company, online company incl.<br />
          <br />
          I'm Leila, or at least,m in the shows attempts at diversity, Leila and I are the same token (to a creepy extent).... so I hope she's nice.
          <blockquote>Terrible show, could improve. Recommend watching with company, online company incl.<br />
          <br />
          I'm Leila, or at least,m in the shows attempts at diversity, Leila and I are the same token (to a creepy extent).... so I hope she's nice.</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Doctor (Forgot Name) to Patient: "The appendix looked REALLY BADD. My mum and I laughed. Better choice of words maybe :p
          and all this puss came out...<br />
          <br />
          so we're going to keep him in for 5 days...<br />
          <br />
          bedside manner could improve
          <blockquote>and all this puss came out...<br />
          <br />
          so we're going to keep him in for 5 days...<br />
          <br />
          bedside manner could improve</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          + 1
          lol. Dr. Colinda Holmes I think.<br />
          <br />
          I didn't enjoy it as much as the BBC's version. But I suppose when there's more background exploration it might be more interesting. So far we only got to know Leila and a bit of Rory.
          <blockquote>Doctor (Forgot Name) to Patient: "The appendix looked REALLY BADD. My mum and I laughed. Better choice of words maybe :p</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          Colinda, the one with the makeup fetish. To be fair to her, the comment / situation above almost looked setup. Wouldn't surprise me if they set it up as a crap one to then show a good one in a few weeks and thus demonstrate (fake) 'growth'. <br />
          <br />
          Every time I've been involved (in even a small way) with TV behind the scenes I'm reminded at how truly fake most of it is.
          Hey all, a couple of weeks ago the BBC aired a follow up on the original show one year after they started just in case you wanted to check it out...
          It's weird that you guys call them characters...considering that they're real people to me ;)
          • Omm
            Omm
          • October 31, 2011
          <blockquote>Doctor (Forgot Name) to Patient: "The appendix looked REALLY BADD. My mum and I laughed. Better choice of words maybe :p</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          I found it funny ^_^ It brought a down-to-earth component to the girls personality... But yes, I recognise it wasn't very professional :) I am sure she won't say it again though after that xD
          Junior Doctors >>> Young Doctors
          Apparently it's been axed... didn't air on Wednesday night and from the Channel 9 website it isn't scheduled to air next Wednesday either. Bit of a shame really, it wasn't excellent viewing but I definitely enjoyed it. It seems that its reception was less than lukewarm.
          That's a bit annoying really, was still good to watch to see what I'm getting myself into. Perhaps they could just stick the rest of the episodes on their site for us to see haha, might email them and make a 'complaint' suggesting that.
          They could just be spacing it out, not uncommon, and a big reason many people move to online to watch any TV that they do :/<br />
          <br />
          I have no idea of the reputation of <a href="http://www.throng.com.au/ratings/free-air-tv-ratings-wednesday-november-2nd-2011">this random TV rating site that came up from a google</a>, but if it's correct, I'd expect it's definitely not cancelled and we'll see the remaining eps - I don't watch a lot of TV but rating just behind ACA and in front of Glee seems pretty impressive. Also, given it was filmed a while back, I'd expect in any case we'll see them anyways on a digital channel or online, especially as I'm guessing Ch9 would have sold it to the UK and be producing it anyways, etc). <br />
          <br />
          <blockquote><span style="font-family: arial"><font size="1"><span style="font-weight:bold;">Top Rating Shows Of The Day - Wed Nov 2</span><br />
          <br />
          <span style="color:#000000" class="colored">1 Ch:7 SEVEN NEWS 1,208,000 300,000 347,000 244,000 115,000 202,000</span><br />
          <span style="text-align:left;"><span style="color:#000000" class="colored">2 Ch:9 THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE - CHALLENGE TWO 1,128,000 354,000 384,000 194,000 75,000 120,000</span><br />
          <span style="color:#000000" class="colored">3 Ch:ABC1 GRUEN PLANET-EV 1,054,000 303,000 304,000 225,000 126,000 97,000</span><br />
          <span style="color:#000000" class="colored">4 Ch:7 TODAY TONIGHT 1,030,000 297,000 273,000 204,000 96,000 160,000</span><br />
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          <span style="color:#000000" class="colored">7 Ch:7</span>HOME<span style="color:#000000" class="colored">AND AWAY 950,000 277,000 227,000 229,000 103,000 114,000</span><br />
          <span style="color:#000000" class="colored">8 Ch:9 FROZEN PLANET 906,000 273,000 320,000 154,000 79,000 80,000</span><br />
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          <span style="color:#000000" class="colored">11 Ch:9 A CURRENT AFFAIR 881,000 306,000 262,000 149,000 66,000 98,000</span></span><br />
          <span style="font-weight:bold;"><span style="text-align:left;"><span style="color:#000000" class="colored">12 Ch:9 YOUNG</span>DOCTORS<span style="color:#000000" class="colored">798,000 245,000 268,000 152,000 67,000 66,000</span></span></span><br />
          <span style="text-align:left;"><span style="color:#000000" class="colored">13 Ch:ABC1 THE HAMSTER WHEEL-LE 766,000 255,000 209,000 162,000 79,000 62,000</span><br />
          <span style="color:#000000" class="colored">14 Ch:TEN GLEE WED 724,000 213,000 276,000 120,000 64,000 52,000</span></span></font></span></blockquote>
          • Omm
            Omm
          • November 12, 2011
          <blockquote>Apparently it's been axed... didn't air on Wednesday night and from the Channel 9 website it isn't scheduled to air next Wednesday either. Bit of a shame really, it wasn't excellent viewing but I definitely enjoyed it. It seems that its reception was less than lukewarm.</blockquote><br />
          <br />
          I hope not :( If it is hopefully it will be available somewhere. I really enjoyed the UK version, I think the first ep would be the most boring because it is more of an introduction to everything.
Am interested in watching some episodes. Is it possible to buy a DVD copy of them?
    I think they axed it after the second episode...
      The show was boring as.
        <blockquote>The show was boring as.</blockquote><br />
        <br />
        Yeah, it wasn't edited as well as the UK one.
          How can i access episodes for both junior and young doctors? Are they available on DVD in New Zealand. Seems as if i can't view them on the internet. Perhaps i'm trying the wrong links? Any help?<br />
          <br />
          Thanks guys!
          You can easily download/stream junior doctors online if you do a quick google search...
safe website to do that?
A
  • A
    amyfisher
  • December 14, 2011
I want to ask how you guys feel about medical student liability insurance. It's important for me to know cause i'm working on a website student-liability-insurance.com and interested in your opiniion. Your comments are welcomed!<br />
<a href="http://student-liability-insurance.com/"><br />
<br />
<br />
</a>
can someone please provide me with a website to view the new series of junior doctors
    Dr Google can probably do that, otherwise, try having a look at the BBC3 website.
J