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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

Join The Conversation
daise daise 8 years
Was I watching the same show as you guys? 1)To my understanding, Nurse Jackie was taking drugs not as a recreational habit but because she has a bad back. I'm not saying her actions are acceptable but it's not like she's a hedonistic drug-taker.. 2) Why would you be afraid of someone like her treating you? She was only a b*tch to the guy who cut up the girl in the limo - What was it? 200 over stitches she needed? If I was Nurse Jackie, I'd be tempted to flush the ear down the toilet too. But then again, that's why I'm not in the medical profession...... If anything, after watching the first two episodes, I developed an increased respect for nurses - she's a conflicted character and that's what makes the show interesting. Do you think House would be so popular if he was your regular, respectful doctor?
medicgirl medicgirl 8 years
I love the show and I also work in the medical profession, and just like previous comments there are staff who abuse narcotics and alcohol (while working), sleep with other staff (while working), and probably steal things as is sad and scary. But not all nurses and doctors are like that. People need to remember this IS just a tv show. Nurses work their asses off, they get hit(just like Jackie) and attacked, various body fluids on them, have to lift (lots of back injuries in nursing), take verbal abuse, run their asses off during a shift seldom getting a proper meal break or bathroom break. And we return the next day, and the next with little or no gratitude or thanks.It's about time that a show did focus on a nurse's POV.... The only thing unrealistic that I noticed was Jackie and her doctor friend actually leaving the hospital for a proper meal break (that just doesn't happen on my unit, and pretty sure it doesn't happen on other units either)
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I completely second (or third?) Allyace.
Amanda-La Amanda-La 8 years
allyace I couldn't agree with you more. It sounds to me like a female house. House is extremely popular. And what about Grey's Anatomy where every five seconds two dr's are hooking up in the coat closet? People like to see people with issues. It sells.
annebreal annebreal 8 years
Um, am I the only one incredibly put off by her insisting vehemently that nursing is THE most ethical profession? You're no doubt ethical, lady, but you personal are another "e" word...elitist.
Grantz Grantz 8 years
But no, I dont believe "Nurse Jackie" will discourage anyone from pursuing a nursing degree. With our economy as it is, Nursing is regarded as one of the most secure professions. And pays very well.
Grantz Grantz 8 years
Well, nurses and doctors work unbelievably long hours at noble professions. But, some are exposed and vulnerable to drug abuse. I have personally seen both a nurse and doctor abusing like Jackie; they both lost their licenses. I love this new show though.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
If someone is going to be discouraged from entering a profession based on a fictional tv show then they shouldn't enter that field !
melx melx 8 years
exactly, allyace
Allyace Allyace 8 years
My answer: Has House discouraged anyone from being a doctor? Did The Shield discourage anyone from being a police officer?
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