Student nurses are starting their courses at St Angela's Hospital. Flighty upper middle class Patricia Rutherford seems to have the biggest transition to make. Maureen Morahan has a much more earnest approach and has travelled from rural Ireland. The newcomers struggle to get to grips with their practical rather than fashionable uniforms. By contrast second year students Jo Longhurst and Shirley Brent go about their work on the wards with confidence and good humour.
Student Nurses Longhurst and Rutherford both have clashes with authority. Nurse Longhurst is accused by Sister Easby in an appraisal of getting too involved with patients and lacking detachment. She takes these accusations very badly and feels she has been misjudged and victimised by an unfair appraisal system. Meanwhile Nurse Rutherford is irritated by what she sees as unnecessary, irrelevant teaching and nursing lecturer Miss Windrup targets her for her perceived lack of attentiveness.
Young Staff Nurse Linda Hollis finds that managing a busy, unpredictable ward doesn't always sit with well with married life. Meanwhile two of her Student Nurses Jo Longhurst and Shirley Brent are having a fractious relationship with Jo irritated by Shirley's officious and abrasive character. However Jo can sense that Shirley is lonely and tries to adopt a more friendly and supportive attitude that might make her more amenable.
Maureen takes Patricia to see her Aunt Kath and then the pair visit a pub. Patricia finds the night livened up by meeting up with Maureen's cousin Barney but they also encounter Beryl, a former nurse at St Angela's, who feels rather in the need of company and may not have left the hospital as far behind as it first seems.
Jo Longhurst has chosen Mr. Collins for her case history but has she made a wise choice? He is an extremely difficult patient, very bitter at his illness and snapping angrily at the nurses and fellow patients, especially Mr. Slingsby who remains upbeat and seems to delight in talking about his treatment in graphic detail.
Nurse Ruth Fullman has a difficult time on the night shift. She feels uncomfortable with agency nurse Audrey Steiner with neither seeming to trust the other. Dr. Crozier brightens up her evening but even this brings her into conflict with the Number 7 and later all the ward staff have to deal with an emergency.
Ruth Fullman is pleased when her friend and former colleague Clare Truman arrives as a maternity patient. Clare, with her husband and new baby, seems to show that there is a very fulfilling life outside nursing; however she may not be as happy as she first appears. Meanwhile Nurse Morahan is worried about her personal finances.
For most people leaving hospital is a relief but not for Mr. Pettit who is terrified of the prospect and refuses to leave. Social worker Sarah Tuddenham tries to help him and discovers his problems are social rather than medical. Elsewhere the busy and cheery exterior of nursing lecturer Miss Windrop hides a woman craving for company while Jo Longhurst is persuaded by Ruth Fullman to invite the standoffish Shirley Brent to a party.
Jo Longhurst invites the withdrawn and intense Shirley Brent to a party where she meets up with an equally ill at ease male nurse. Jo attracts an admirer but is he the right man for her? Meanwhile a young doctor tries to persuade Sita to attend while for two other nurses actually reaching the party proves to be quite a challenge.
The student nurses are excitedly receiving their exam results and most of them are in a state of celebration. However senior student nurse Shirley Brent misses the morning post and events during the day make her wonder whether she cares whether or not she has passed.
Young nurse Linda Hollis sees her marriage to Brian, a student, come under severe strain as he becomes increasingly frustrated with the demands of her career. Meanwhile first year student nurses come into contact with patients on the wards for the first time.
Sister Young accuses head porter Harry Jamieson of carelessly transporting a patient. In protest he calls all the porters out on strike. The incident is witnessed by junior nurse Ruth Fullman and places her in a very difficult position, amplified by her desire to be promoted to the position of staff nurse for which she will need her Sister's recommendation.
It's the end of the nursing year and a time for the student nurses to look to their future. For some of them it's a look forward to a career as a staff nurse or towards a future specialism. However for one of them an incident with a notoriously difficult patient may mark the end of her career before it's barely begun.