NEWS
December 7, 2020

3 Real Nurses React To ‘Nurses’ TV Show

Nurses TV Show Reaction
Alice Benjamin
By: Alice Benjamin Chief Nursing Officer & Correspondent

The new NBC medical drama, “Nurses” debuts tonight December 7. 

The series follows five young new graduate nurses working on the frontlines of a busy downtown hospital, dedicating their lives to helping others, while struggling to help themselves. 

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Now, I know Hollywood hasn’t always been friendly with how they portray the nurse role in scripted shows and movies. And, us real nurses catch on to literally everything - I know we’ve all seen the memes when equipment, scenarios, or responses aren’t realistic. 

While I’m not sure what to expect about this particular show. I’ll be watching with a grain of salt and a sprinkle of opportunity. I’m a nurse and also a seasoned medical correspondent on television who understands the landscape of how broadcasting, both unscripted and scripted, entertainment media works. It simply doesn’t follow the same rules as nursing in the real world. So, I’m going to watch the show and then react to it LIVE with my two friends nurse practitioner, Dr. James Simmons, and Nurse Mendoza on Facebook. 

I have so many questions about this show, but I’m not rushing to judge the show based on the trailer alone and I’m giving it a chance. Why? Well, let’s discuss the facts.  

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5 Things To Think About When Watching ‘Nurses’ As a Nurse

  • Representation matters - there aren’t any current scripted medical drama shows where the nurse (or nurses, in this case) are the main character(s) of the show.  Are there shows where the nurse plays a supportive role? Yes, of course, but not the main character. So let’s be smart about this. Here lies an excellent opportunity for nurses. 
  • Scripted shows are for entertainment, not reality - And this is where my 20+ years as a nurse and advanced practice nurse expertise comes in. The sooner we accept the fact that scripted shows are entertainment and not reality – the sooner we can be the change we’d like to see. Think of media as a specialty unit – in order to fully understand how things work, you need to orient to the unit and review the policy and procedures.
  • Opportunities for real nurses - Education is usually a secondary focus for these shows. These are actors – NOT real nurses or doctors. They don’t have a full shift to show the things they need to show in one hour. We’ve got to treat Hollywood like the general public and educate them.
  • This is a teachable moment - I know we’ve all joked around about “medical scenes” we’ve seen in Hollywood but, let’s look at that as an opportunity to be a teachable moment – for both Hollywood and nursing. Yes, I said nursing. And here’s why. We need to learn how these shows come about.
    • Let’s discuss who the writers are?
    • Who funds these projects?
    • If the nurse or doctors consult on the show? 
    • How can trained nurses help with storylines and depiction that feels more realistic to us?
    • Just like when you’re on orientation and don’t get it correct – your preceptor guides you. Let’s help guide Hollywood.  
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover - I’m going to watch the show tonight, then regroup with my two real nurse friends Nurse Mendoza and Dr. James Sims to react to and discuss our thought about the show. We’ll be reacting LIVE on Facebook at 10:30 am PST to chat about some of these topics. 
    • Was it entertaining?
    • How accurate was it in relation to the nurse’s scope of practice and patient presentation?
    • Then let’s dissect the personal stories and personalities of the characters because oftentimes that’s what bothers us, nurse viewers. 
    • And what are some suggestions you would have for the creators or writers? 

Watch Nurses React To ‘Nurses’ - on Facebook LIVE! 

Join me, Nurse Alice, along with Dr. James Simmons of Ask the NP and Nurse Mendoza of Cardiac Strong for “The Nurses Aftershow” LIVE on Facebook live on Tuesday, December 8th at 10:30 am PST. We’ll be sharing our thoughts and want to hear yours. Watch LIVE here. 

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