BBC Doctors advancing practice storyline

Wendy Preston 13 Nov 2019


On 1 November, I was privileged to visit the BBC Drama Village in Birmingham, where the medical drama Doctors is filmed. 

Doctors is a daily 30 minute soap opera, and has approx. one million viewers per day. Due to the time of day it airs, its audience are more likely to be from groups that may have increased health care needs, such as parents, older people and those with disabilities.

Last year, the BBC asked the RCN if someone could advise on nurse prescribing courses. I suggested having a conversation with the producer, rather than just providing information in an email. 

We talked about advanced practice and why studying for an MSc in Advanced Practice would be preferable to a standalone prescribing course. Following our meeting, the BBC have committed to a two year storyline developing their general practice nurse, Ayesha, into an advanced practitioner.

This storyline has been running since May and have included the patient perspective of advanced nurse practitioners, a crisis of confidence when Ayesha realised that she needed 100% in her maths exam, and a practice manager arguing the business case of advanced practitioners to the GP partners. 

Ayesha has now commenced university, and the storyline will continue in the background with periodic main focus especially in January 2020. The producers have also agreed to share the RCN advanced practice standards as part of the social media activity.

They are also continuing to liaise with me to give advice on the storyline, to make sure focus and detail is appropriate. The course Ayesha is attending mentioned RCN accreditation and following qualification she will credential.  

The main aim of this storyline is to inform and influence the public perception regarding advanced nurses, in particular regarding their level of education and expertise.  

Whilst I was at the BBC, I also met with researchers and producers to discuss key nursing issues such as staffing for safe and effective care. I shared with them resources from the campaign that they will use in their general practice and hospital sets, so keep a look out for these in the coming months. 

Notes: This week it’s advanced practitioner week. Find out how you can get involved here.

Wendy Preston

Wendy Preston

RCN Head of Nursing Practice

Wendy has worked at the RCN since 2016 and now leads the College’s work on advancing practice. Before joining the organisation, she was a nursing consultant in acute medicine and ambulatory care at George Eliot Hospital in Warwickshire. Her background is in respiratory nursing and she has experience in education, leadership, research and out of hour’s (OOH) general practice. She continues to work as an honorary nurse consultant and advanced nurse practitioner in OOH alongside her role at the RCN.

Page last updated - 11/12/2020