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Jada Pinkett Smith takes Nursing Profession to Prime Time in show "HawthoRNe" (1429 hits)

Throughout most of television history, nurses have been relegated to the background... Things are changing in prime time as two new shows bring nursing into the limelight. Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and TNT’s “HawthoRNe” each take a revealing look into the lives of the title characters as they cope with the common—and sometimes uncommon—aspects of being a nurse.

Christina Hawthorne, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, and Nurse Jackie, played by Edie Falco, are far from wallpaper figures. They both emerge as strong characters serving the more realistic roles of nurses in patient care. “It’s important to show nurses as strong members of the health care team that have a contribution to make,” noted Dominiak. “They are educated and not just there to hand physicians instruments. Over the years there were some shows that have done a decent job of showing a strong nurse character, but those have been more in the minority.”

TNT’s “HawthoRNe,” the title character is the chief nursing officer at the fictional Richmond Trinity Hospital, where she handles everything from suicidal cancer patients to overwhelmed novice nurses, all while deftly navigating through the complicated world of clinical care. Her multi-faceted role of administrator and clinical professional presents the often unseen side of nursing. “One of the positives of Hawthorne is her role as a chief nursing officer,” said Dominiak. “I don’t think most people know that role exists.”

Likewise, the dark comedy “Nurse Jackie” explores the fatigued and often thankless role that nurses take on in an emergency room setting. In the pilot episode, which aired on June 8, Jackie is confronted by a hospital administrator who tells her not to work more than 12 hours at a time, and in the same breath requests her to work a double shift. Perhaps the more controversial aspect of “Nurse Jackie,” is the character’s apparent addiction to pain killers, which she takes throughout her shift. Despite the morose disposition of the character and her infatuation for barbiturates, the show sheds some light on the physical limitations of nursing.
© 2009. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted By: Jen Fad
Wednesday, June 24th 2009 at 7:18PM
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