Friday, May 29, 2009

"Nurse Jackie" Disappoints and Demeans

So, I just finished watching the first episode of "Nurse Jackie", the new Showtime television show about a nurse on the front lines.

What is so disappointing about "Nurse Jackie" is that, in the first five minutes of the premier, this insipid "dramedy" depicts the lead character snorting narcotics while on the clock, forging a dead patient's signature on an organ donor card, lying to said patient's family about the organ donor status of their loved one, and engaging in illicit sex with a coworker while her husband's at home caring for her two young children. Meanwhile, a 1st year nursing student pegs our heroine (or anti-heroine, if you will) as a saint, a designation that Jackie appears to aspire to, "but just not yet".

Now, I'm not so naive as to think that there aren't nurses out there who divert medications, have affairs with coworkers, and engage in all manner of improper behavior. But I take issue with the fact that even though nurses are the most trusted professionals in the United States on survey after survey, the media continues to portray nurses in derogatory ways that undermine our credibility and image in the eyes of the public.

While Florence Nightingale may indeed be the most famous nurse in history, Nurse Ratched of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is probably a close second. Sadly, the premier of "Nurse Jackie" does nothing to advance the cause of nursing in the eyes of the television audience, relying instead on gallows humor, sexual intrigue and drug diversion to add spice to a lackluster premier that demeans nurses and diverts the public's attention from the real story of nursing that is ultimately more compelling than any faux "dramedy" could ever be.
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