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October 8, 2015

Nurses hate Nurse Jackie

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 9th 2009 7:01PM
Nurse JackieI don't look for accuracy when it comes to professions on TV shows, even if that profession is a real-life profession too. So if I were to watch Nurse Jackie and see her popping Vicodin, I wouldn't say to myself, "hey, that's what all nurses might do!" I also don't think that all Madison Avenue advertising guys cheat on their wives (Mad Men) and I don't think that all politicians can fly (Heroes). I do, however, think that all of the hot women you see on those late-night chat line ads really do represent the type of women you'll talk to when you call.

But nurses are upset over Showtime's new Edie Falco show Nurse Jackie.

Especially the New York State Nurses Association. A spokesperson for the organization says "we believe that the public's view of nurses is influenced by TV dramas, and we have yet to see an accurate portrayal of what nurses really do." Even ER?

So, do they have a legit beef? I don't think the show is saying "this is the world of nurses," they're saying that this is the world of this particular nurse on this particular drama. To quote William Shatner on SNL, "it's just a TV show!"

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P.S. someone below commented about wanting a Nurse Jackie to treat them, based on their experiences. I have to add to that. I agree. Having recently visited the ER twice, each nurse that attended to me were quite unapproachable, and seemed downright bothered by me. I was literally scared of the first nurse who was assigned to me. She was crass, sarcastic when I asked a question, she literally walk away when I was mid-sentence. I agree, that some seem either 'burnt-out' or perhaps just 'not happy' with what they are doing. Ironically, the Dr. in both visits were the comforting genuinely nice ones. Now, I don't ASSUME that all nurses are like the one's I recently dealt with, and I do ASSUME many nurses are considerate and kind, but the ones that I had must not have taken bed-side manors 101, because I know that I'm a very respectful courteous patient, why couldn't I receive the same? Many thanks to the two ER physicians however, as I said, it was them who relaxed my concerns and treated me with an inviting and respected manor....

March 15 2011 at 4:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My Goodness people, it's a story about ONE nurse with obvious issues! You really think people in crisis are going to get rushed to the ER and stop the first nurse they see and say "hey, you take vicodin or forge donor cards?" Of course not. This is no more dramatic than any other hospital based show and should be taken with a grain of salt. I sincerely doubt this show is hurting you nurses; the nurses in my local hospitals are making insurmountable amount of money, have great job stability, most work but a mere 36 hours a week and are immune to our current repressive economy. So quit complaining because anyone with a brain isn't going to equate Nurse Jackie as the 'norm' of nurses. BTW, do ya really think there isn't a Nurse Jackie, or a few nurse Jackies out there? I suppose it's illogical to think there have been nurses/doctors/etc who have had addiction issues? Like every walk of life, addiction inflicts every aspect of society, so this show is about ONE nurses problem(s)-and very dramatic at that. I can't see why any nurse would loose sleep over a Showtime dramatic series and surely this isn't going to affect any hard working nurse out there! If you don't like it, DON't watch it, simple enough.

March 15 2011 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The ironic thing is that Nurse Jackie is EXACTLY the kind of nurse I would want to have as a patient. In real life my experience with nurses has been that they in general seem to hate patients, are put-out if you dare ask them for anything, and in general seem to hate their jobs. Nurse Jackie, however, may have an attitude but genuinely appears to care for the people in her care. Give me the Vicodin-addicted nurse over the bitchy one anyday!

July 09 2009 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The men I've known who become RN's (and usually snag better jobs than their female peers even when they're job hoppers) are the ones most likely to be pill-poppers, drug thieves and generally bad for the profession --- but my sample is limited to two males who are R.N.'s.

Don't know what women in the nursing profession have experienced about the relative ethics of males and females in nursing, but generally media seem to be doing a hatchet job on women at all levels. I've started a blog about it, with images, and the Nurse Jackie series seems part of the same cultural disinformation. For example, Nurse Jackie communicates how she knew better than a doctor about a patient who would die (something true in my experience about the higher calling of nurses over doctors), then the doctor gropes her breast. TV and movies make their primary impact on people's minds by the pictures. In a similar vein, I've blogged about media and sexting today, http://thelongestwar.wordpress.com/, plus many prior posts on the anti-woman focus of modern mass media (with images to prove the point).

Nurse Jackie, in context as the media image manufactured for the mass mind, takes away more than contributing to any goal of seeing women, and women as nurses, in the strong professional light that is deserved by reality instead of media fiction.

June 14 2009 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cathy Parochniack

To MJ and all other fellow nurses, Nurse Jackie is fiction, although I don't doubt there are impaired nurses around, but it does not cast a foul light on what I do for my patients and my relationship with them, it is a wise person in any profession that can take their job seriousle but themselves lightly, Nurse Jackie is, in my opinion really funny, and at the end of the day is just that and no more.

June 10 2009 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It seems at least one patient/mother of a patient thinks that Nurse Jackie was in some ways a positive reflection of nurses. See her post at http://iamsoannoyed.com/?p=1643

June 10 2009 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's pretty simple: there would be no controversy if the word "Nurse" didn't appear in the title.

Yes, it's a drama about a character, not a documentary about a profession. But "nurse" is not a fictional job. So it's understandable that nurses might feel they're being poorly portrayed.

But, that said, everybody needs to lighten up. It's true that nurses don't get enough respect. It's also true that pretty much everybody doesn't get enough respect. Modern media is about exploitation, not respect. No news here.

June 10 2009 at 4:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

basically it's a show about a woman whose a skank and a criminal.

June 10 2009 at 1:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to marla's comment
eric f

And that's a bad thing? It's very entertaining, which = good tv.

June 10 2009 at 10:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sigh. I suppose I should just smile every time a nurse is shown doing bad things? Sorry, you get tired of it after awhile, especially when people DO comment on it, with a snide smile. I once had a man say, "Oh, all nurses are whores." Should I have laughed it off? I didn't.

June 10 2009 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mj's comment
BC McKinney

I would have asked him just how he came by that knowledge.

The question remains, why is a show that portrays doctors in a negative way good, and one that allegedly portrays a nurse in a negative way (I don't get Showtime and thus can't form an opinion) bad? Another question would be, have you sought counseling to deal with your delusion that scripted drama is intended to represent real life?

June 10 2009 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Get over yourself. It's hard to believe you are intelligent enough to be a nurse. Are you a woman or a man?....do you object to the way people are portrayed on fictional tv shows?
There is no controversy here, just people looking to fuss and argue.

June 10 2009 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm a nurse. I have never stolen, taken drugs, eaten at my desk, or had sex with doctors. I have always tried to be good at my job. I am so sick of nurses shown this way on television and films. This is why I refuse to watch any medical shows, except House, because they seldom even SHOW a nurse.

June 09 2009 at 11:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mj's comment

...because it is ok to show doctors as rude, vicodin popping, manipulative, etc....just not nurses.

June 09 2009 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cry me a river! So i should start crying too that all IT workers are portrayed as lazy slobs? Or that not all of us are really secret agents?

June 10 2009 at 2:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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