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Does Nurse Jackie Discourage People From Nursing?

If any buzz is good buzz, then Showtime execs must be mighty pleased right now as nurses react to the new series starring Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie. Falco's lead character is no Florence Nightingale . . . well, unless Nightingale also snorted drugs, had sex on the job, and stole money, just to name a few of Nurse Jackie's proclivities. Some real-life nurses have expressed their anger and dismay:

"I don't know what they wanted from us," said [Barbara] Crane, a nurse in the intensive care unit at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, N.Y., and president of the National Federation of Nurses. "I have no clue what the screening was supposed to be about," she said. "They couldn't think that those of us in the most ethical profession — and we are the most ethical profession — that we could possibly find that entertaining."

The folks at Showtime maintain that it's just entertainment and "negative publicity is publicity." Plus, plenty of nurses are actually praising the show for presenting a nurse character "with such smarts, fierce dedication to her patients and human contradictions." But Tina Gerardi, chief executive officer of the New York State Nurses Association, has concerns that the show will discourage people from joining the nursing profession.

Do you think TV shows are that influential? Will would-be nurses avoid the profession because of Nurse Jackie?

Photo courtesy of Showtime

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