Why I love TV's Nurse Jackie
You know you're a nurse when ...
It's not the dialogue or the ridiculous diagnosing or the fact that someone has to vomit blood on each episode or whatever. (Yes, we have actually invented a drinking game where we can take a “shot” — all puns intended — as soon as that happens on EVERY episode of “House.” The problem is you get only one drink, but that is perfect for a lightweight like me.)
It is how they portray the nurse. I mean, have you even seen a nurse on the show House, except for one of the main characters is hitting on one? Or in a background shot running around holding a chart? Seriously, what doctor puts in his own catheters, holds basins while the patient vomits (the BLOOD), gathers all his own supplies to do his own procedures, etc.?
I've worked everything from Shock trauma OR, post-OP surgical floors, hospice, IV chemo, ECFs, freestanding SNFs (in at least 4 states) and I have yet to witness that phenomenon!
Then, on other shows, the “nurse” is objectified as a sex symbol. Hey, nothing wrong with being sexy now and then but have you all seen what we do? Sexy at work just isn't happening!
And, of course, in many episodes, there is the just-out-of-med-school, wet behind the ears young doctor educating us nurses! And what's really funny is, those aren't sit-coms!
But watch an episode or two of Showtime's “Nurse Jackie” and you will recognize some aspects of your daily life — the real stuff. Yes there are some risqué parts but fast forward if that's a problem.
Whether you are the new nurse trying to make it in a scary new world (see Season 1 with enthusiastic and optimistic nurse Zoey) or the veteran nurse who saves a new doctor's behind as he hesitates in an emergency situation and she subtly hands him what he needs to help the patient survive.
Those nurses are REAL, with their incredible smarts and fierce loyalties, along with all of their flaws. They make you proud to be a nurse, and if you aren't one, you want to be —vomit and all!
Just keeping it real,
The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse who is also the director of clinical affairs for the American Medical Directors Association. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet.