I wanted to find it endearing that TV is striving to bring nurses into the gamut of medical drama heroines, but with “Nurse Jackie’s’’ portrayal of nurses, it’s downright appalling. Portrayed by Edie Falco, she has sex on the job, snorts drugs, and steals money! I thought nurses were supposed to have integrity and upstanding morals.
“HawthoRNe,” on the other hand, takes it to the other extreme of an overzealous nurse who refuses to take orders from her superior if she feels they are in conflict with her duties. The show’s intent seems to be in the right place. Its producers want to portray nurses as remarkable saints in a corrupted healthcare world, but Hawthorne, portrayed by Jada Pinkett-Smith, almost overdoes it with her goodness.
The new trend of highlighting nurses and bashing doctors (that is, making them out to be careless and condescending) is about to backfire if something isn’t done to these characters to make them more believable and likeable.
Nurses don’t blatantly disregard orders, and they most definitely aren’t having sex in the closet. Things like that could get a nurse fired because it compromises the health of the patients. Even though the writers of both shows want to show professionals who care deeply for their patients, any real nurse would know that there’s a proper way to act in the healthcare field, and neither of these characters portrays that.
My mother, Mrs. Beverly Hopwood, a registered nurse and instructor for Mcfatter Technical High School, said she thinks the Showtime series should be removed and that real nurses should protest Nurse Jackie.
“It’s demeaning to nurses and women in general,’’ she said. “It’s very inaccurate. Nurses are very hardworking and busy people. They don’t have time to be fornicating and snorting drugs. It makes it embarrassing to be a nurse.”
Mrs. Hopwood said she resents the images portrayed by these shows, and that nurses are highly trained professionals “who are in the business of caring for and helping others” and should be presented as such.
So which show will prevail as the new nurse drama? The one that doesn’t even try to be accurate or the one that tries too hard?
See for yourself. Catch “Nurse Jackie” on Showtime, Mondays at 10:30 p.m., and “HawthoRNe” on TNT Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
Brittany Hopwood, 18, of Lauderhill, is a senior at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Photo: Jada Pinkett-Smith stars in HawthoRNe.