Northampton nursing student speaks of appearance on Channel 4’s Confessions of a Junior Doctor

Debra Main studies child nursing at the University of Northampton.
Debra Main studies child nursing at the University of Northampton.

A child-nursing student from the University of Northampton has spoken about her appearance on Channel 4’s hit television show, Confessions of a Junior Doctor.

Deborah Main, 21, was featured in a recent episode of the fly-on-the-wall documentary, which follows the working lives of junior doctors at Northampton General Hospital.

Around a million viewers who tuned in for the third episode saw Deborah, who was on a work placement at the hospital, help a fitting child.

She said: “It was really strange to see myself on the television, but it was reassuring to see how I reacted to the situation.”

“You can never really gauge how you come across to patients, and the pace is so quick on the wards that you don’t get a minute to reflect on that aspect of the job, so it was nice to see how calm I was when the boy started fitting.

“When something unexpected like this happens, you go into survival mode, crack on and help in any way you can.”

The boy, who was in the hospital to visit his poorly brother, suffered a febrile convulsion, which was caused by the rapid increase of his high temperature.

After being helped by Deborah and a junior doctor, Deborah stayed with him and his sibling after the incident to comfort them.

“Looking back at the footage, it reminded me of why I want to do this job,” said Deborah originally from West Sussex.

“You feel as though you have people’s lives in your hands, which is both a scary and an amazing feeling. It’s a privilege to be able to make a difference.”

Like all nursing students at the University, Deborah combines theoretical studies with work placements and has enjoyed two spells at Northampton General Hospital, plus stints providing healthcare in the community, including school visits.

She said: “I have loved being in a ‘go, go, go’ environment, learning alongside some amazing NHS staff, all of whom have been so supportive.

“The placements can be tough, but you need to experience working in a hospital to make sure you are cut out for it. You will encounter many heartbreaking and upsetting scenarios and it’s important you find a way to deal with it afterwards.

“Meeting up with my fellow student nurses back at University really helps, as we all share stories about what we have experienced and we’ve built up a real bond between us. We all support each other, and the teaching staff are also fantastic, as they know exactly how we might be feeling, and they offer us so much encouragement and support. Without the support from all the amazing people around me, I don’t think I would have come this far.”