Nurse Jackie

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I’ve just had the opportunity to view the first episode of Nurse Jackie – a new drama premiering on June 8 on the Showtime Channel. You can preview the episode at   by entering the password “shift happens.”

Although Jackie is a very flawed character, the episode portrays some strong, positive, and interesting realities of nursing as opposed to the many physician-centric shows that are currently airing where nurses are minor, background characters existing to serve the physician. There is no doubt that the show will create controversy on many levels and it will be interesting to see what happens once the show airs.

As television viewing goes, I found the episode to be compelling. It left me wanting more. And as a nurse, especially a former ER nurse, I could see some of myself in Jackie (No, I’m not talking about the drug addiction and unethical/illegal stuff) .  See what you think and share your thoughts.

9 thoughts on “Nurse Jackie”

  1. Interesting to say the least! I’m wondering how she will be perceived as by “non-nurses.”

  2. Very disappointed at the show. Nurses are highly regarded by the public and to be seen as a pill-popping thief offended me. As a critical care nurse,I know that there was so much that could have been built into her character. The nurses are who affect the lives of patients and yes “guide” young and old md’s alike. Having sex with the pharmacist in the pharmacy and his giving out controlled substances are not realistic. The writers need to talk to real rn’s who can give them a plethora of matter to write about.. Hopefully they will read this

  3. It’s interesting to note that the show was supposedly based on journals kept by a real ER nurse – not the illegal / unethical stuff, but the general experience/perspective of a nurse. There are quite a few online reviews of the show. See what Sandy Summers, RN had to say about the show at

  4. The men I’ve known who become RN’s (and usually snag better jobs than their female peers even when they’re job hoppers) are the ones most likely to be pill-poppers, drug thieves and generally bad for the profession — but my sample is limited to two males who are R.N.’s.

    Don’t know what women in the nursing profession have experienced about the relative ethics of males and females in nursing , but generally media seem to be doing a hatchet job on women at all levels. I’ve started a blog about it, with images, and the Nurse Jackie series seems part of the same cultural disinformation. For example, Nurse Jackie communicates how she knew better than a doctor about a patient who would die (something true in my experience about the higher calling of nurses over doctors), then the doctor gropes her breast. TV and movies make their primary impact on people’s minds by the pictures. In a similar vein, I’ve blogged about media and sexting today,, plus many prior posts on the anti-woman focus of modern mass media (with images to prove the point).

    Nurse Jackie, in context, takes away more than it gives to any goal of seeing women, and women as nurses, in the strong professional light that is deserved by reality instead of media fiction.

  5. Jude:.. I agree with you! Women are still exploited and expected to do tasks that no male nurse would be asked to do. I too had an experience with a male nurse who was shooting herion in the restroom. I knew this by how he acted. I reported it and finally the supervisor caught him zoning out in a room. I wonder how many people received wrong medications because no one would listen to me? I watched Nurse Jackie and was very upset… nurses have a difficult time enought without that type of program. Every time a nurse makes an error it is on national television… but the MD’s… can cut off the wrong leg and most of the time no one hears about it. I will keep being a good nurse and standing up for other nurses .. maybe someday THAT will be on the news or in a program! Take care all and hug your patients!

  6. I think the show is entertaining, which is what a tv show is meant to be. I understand why some nurses may be shocked at some of Nurse Jackie’s behavior, but it’s not a documentary. It’s meant to entertain, and ratings show that it has been just that.

    I just think we need to take it for what it is and not take it personally. I don’t think that non nurses watching the show are really thinking “Oh, so that’s what nurses are like.” People base their opinions on people from personal experience, and most people I’m sure have had personal experience with a nurse. Not a pill popping, donor card signing, sex maniac nurse, but probably a nurse that helped them in a time of need and left a lasting impression on them.

    It’s fiction! So watch it if you like it, and don’t if ya don’t. =]

  7. As a “non-nurse”, I have watched a few episodes of the show and I find it to be simply a form of entertainment. I agree with rtb – that viewers are not thinking that Jackie is a typical, real-life nurse. I have experienced nurses who are caring and capable as well as those who seem not to care much about me as a patient. Generalizations, whether from a tv show or in everyday experience, are often flawed.

  8. “Nurse Jackie” is listed as a comedy-drama. I didn’t find much comedy in it. didn’t much like seeing a supposed in-control nurse snorting various controlled substances prior to caring for her patients. I agree with greyhoundgirl that if a female nurse were to make a major error resulting in a patient’s death, it would make the evening news, yet the plethora of surgical and med errors being made on a daily basis by MD’s gets only a glance, and you never hear the name of the MD who actually made the error.
    We nurses need to be able to support one another.. When I was a new grad, an older nurse told me, on my first day on the unit, “nursing is the only profession in which we eat our young”. How right she was, and how careful I always was with a new grad to be available, to support, and to listen.

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