While I agree with Diana Mason that Jackie, the nurse played by Edie Falco on Showtime’s new series, has some admirable qualities, some of her actions caused me to cringe: falsifying an organ donor card; snorting pain medication; cavorting with a coworker while on duty; and yes, flushing the ear of an abusive creep down the toilet (okay, part of me agreed with her—doesn’t the Bible say “an eye for an eye”? Couldn’t that apply here?).
I get that this is a TV show and designed for entertainment and that Jackie is a fictional character. And I’ve worked with nurses who have some of Jackie’s problems, though not all rolled up into one person.
But I still find myself wondering if the writers thought that in order to make nurses’ work interesting to others they had to add such extreme behaviors. Aren’t nurses’ stories compelling on their own?
Just last month, in the May issue, we carried stories of nurses who served in Vietnam and Iraq. Nurses routinely deal with more drama than most people see in years, in all settings—just think of Mary Pappas, the school nurse in New York City who sounded the alarm for the swine flu pandemic. And a public health nurse, Lynne Slepski, mobilized the national disaster response on 9/11.
And they did it in real time, without a script.
Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editorial director