The C-Word helped me to appreciate nurses even more

I like watching TV, especially the box set, series link, streaming variety.

It has to be crime – true crime, forensic crime, crime typically set in the United States, in a science lab... you get where I’m going with this – or medical drama. I am particularly fond of the well-known hospital drama set in the west of England, and a programme about midwives set in the 1950s. But reruns of a US medical drama set in a Chicago emergency department, featuring a certain Hollywood heartthrob, are my personal favourite.

My love of medical-based drama led me to watch The C-Word, broadcast on BBC 1 earlier this month. Adapted from journalist Lisa Lynch’s candid book about her experience of cancer, by the end of the programme I was a blubbering mess. There were some stellar performances, particularly from Sheridan Smith as Lisa and Paul Nicholls as her husband Pete, but it was the way the story was told with a mixture of humour and brutal honesty that had me reaching for the tissues.

Nurses featured throughout the programme, present at times of both laughter and tears. One scene focused on Lisa’s first chemotherapy appointment, and the honesty of the nurse when she explained to Lisa how she would feel after chemotherapy was a true reflection of how nurses are at the forefront of the treatment journey.

The subject matter of The C-Word made it a difficult programme to watch, but I found it inspirational. All too often nurses on TV are portrayed in stereotypical ways, so it was a pleasure to see nursing and nurses portrayed in such a professional and positive light on the small screen.

May is a good month to celebrate nursing. Nursing Standard crowned its new RCN Nurse of the Year, and International Nurses’ Day is celebrated across the world. So let’s praise nurses and nursing, and let them know how much we appreciate everything they do for their patients.

About the author

Kelly Smith is an advertising executive at RCNi