Two thumbs where? 4 Nurses on TV and Movies

Stories - Mighty TelevisionHey Mighty Nurse readers! I was originally going to post a list of nurses from TV and movies, then rate them based on realism and how they portrayed nursing. It occurred to me, however, that I haven’t watched enough myself – and I decided against publishing secondhand reviews.

That’s why I’d like to involve you guys directly in this discussion. I’ve loved hearing all your opinions on Facebook and in comments, and as a group we’ve probably watched everything there is to watch! So I’ll start us off with some shows I’ve been able to get into… Please chime in with yours!

1. Scrubs – Two Thumbs Up. Scrubs ran for 9 seasons and was one of the funniest (or only) medical comedies out there. I loved it! The way it portrayed nurses, while not absolutely perfect, was exemplary. One of the four main characters was a nurse (Carla Espinosa), who was often schooling the new doctors on the way things ran. She was strong, consistent, and proud of her career. One episode highlighted nurse-doctor relationship friction as Carla’s medical student friends became more experienced and started to boss her around. Although, Carla was ultimately the lady on the unit everyone loved but would never want to mess with. She was also great with patients.

Other episodes included debunking male nurse stereotypes, and characters such as Nurse Laverne, one of the funniest supporting cast members.

2. 30 Rock – One Thumb Down. Nursing wasn’t a big part of this comedy created by Tina Fey and featuring Alec Baldwin (as Jack). But the single nurse character that did appear was not great. Elisa, played by Salma Hayek, was a home care nurse for Alec Baldwin’s character’s mother. Basically, both Elisa and Jack entered a steamy relationship. At one point this led to her trying to juggle a date while at the same time care for an elderly demented patient of hers. Hmm… how responsible. Not only that, but Elisa’s main attribute, and the source of many jokes, was her attractiveness. Not gaining brownie points here…

I’m not giving them ‘two’ thumbs down though – this is a lighthearted comedy, everything’s played for jokes and done in a wacky way, so it can’t be taken too seriously!

3. The Office – One Thumbs Down. You wouldn’t think nursing and The Office were very related, but the one instance where a nurse appeared casted an ugly light. When a character was giving birth (I won’t name who in case of spoiling someone’s experience), the nurse was atrociously rude. The mother to be was a typical new mother – nervous and having trouble getting her baby to latch on. When the mother declines to have the baby be bottle fed at the nursery due to reading about nipple confusion, the nurse says “Very good… because you know everything,” and rolls her eyes at the camera. When the day of discharge comes, the mother tells the nurse she’s still concerned about whether the baby is getting milk or latching on. The nurse, instead of trying to help, states “Bottles are fine – a lot of babies grow up using bottles,” and changes the subject to the discharge.

Again, just one thumb down because this is a comedy that is filled with sarcastic characters who hate their jobs and are rude to one another – that’s why it’s funny! The nurse is just one more typical Office character, so they weren’t really singling out nurses as rude and insensitive.

4. Misery – One Thumb Off. And a foot too! Misery is a horror movie (based on a book by Stephen King) about a mentally deranged former nurse, Annie Wilkes, who traps an injured author (she’s his “biggest fan”) in her home. Crazy is an understatement. She is unpredictable, borderline, and is not afraid to do at-home amputations. Not only that, she has a big stash of narcotics in her home that she uses to manipulate the main character. Worse things are revealed about her past, the worst of which happened in places where she was working as a nurse… I’m not going to rate this one like the others – it’s obviously not even in the same stratosphere! It’s a great book and movie though – and Annie Wilkes was one of the best villains you’ll ever see. A must watch for nurses if you have the stomach for it.

Pick out your favorite shows and movies now, and think back on whether nurses appeared – big roles or small roles, good ones or bad. We want to hear your Thumbs rating!

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