Nurses and TV: Why Do We Care?

     Doctors don’t get all pissy when they are portrayed as immature adults with adolescent behavior problems (Scrubs), drug dependence (Cider House Rules), or happily married, goofy fathers (remember Cliff Huxtable?). They appear to roll with it.  So why do nurses  take it so much to heart how we are portrayed in the media? Why do we care so much about it?

     When was the last time you heard a physician complain about Dr. Cox drinking scotch in his t-shirt and underwear on the living room couch?   

     When was the last time you saw a nurse portrayed on TV with a sense of humor?

     Get it?

      Why are there no flight nurses on TV?  Everyone knows, in any exciting story, something flies, and there are nurses who do that for a living.  If Gage and DeSoto on Emergency! riding around L.A. in a fire truck were exciting (did anyone know what a paramedic was before that series?), how much more so are  flight nurses, who land on freeways in helicopters, saving the lives of trauma victims of car accidents? Or military flight teams, providing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) inside of flying surgical suites and the stories of  how the patients got there? How about the life of a midwife, or a neonatal resuscitation nurse, as if the life of an emergency department nurse, or an oncology nurse, isn’t exciting enough?  Why not make a TV series that’s populated with staff from different departments of nursing?  Maybe we need nurses to become producers and screenplay writers. Any emerging filmakers out there?

   TV dramatizes the personalities of nurses (and doctors) because writers either don’t really know what we do, and/or what we do simply isn’t exciting enough as it plays out in real life.  TV is for entertainment, and to sell commercial air time. That’s all.

   For the record, I like Nurse Jackie, but I’ve only seen the first episode.

   Be the nurse you want to see portrayed.  The rest doesn’t matter.