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Nurse Jackie: A male nurse’s perspective

Image: BananaStock | Thinkstock + Showtime

I’d like to shift gears this month and talk about something a bit lighter in content.

Nurse Jackie is the new show on Showtime that features Edie Falco (of The Sopranos fame) in the lead role of—you guessed it—Nurse Jackie. In the weeks leading up to the show’s debut, nurses around the country were really excited to finally see a show in which a nurse and the profession of nursing were the main focus. Now that the show has aired, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of complaints from nurses and nursing organizations around the country.

After watching the first episode, it took a little while to sink in: Did I just see what I thought I saw?

In addition to the show being downright hilarious, I think it provides a sort of realism that is missing from most medical shows. That’s probably due to the fact that it’s on cable. A series like this couldn’t be shown on the big three networks.

Now, let’s try to separate the “real” from the “drama” that is television, because the show features some pretty outrageous moments! In the first episode, we’re introduced to Jackie’s drug-abusing ways right from the start. Her behavior is highly unethical and some of the things she does are reprehensible. Unfortunately, this is where most people have focused their attention. To me, that’s just TV, but many people base their opinions on things like that. That’s where the show could do a better job of representing the nursing profession. What I do like about Nurse Jackie is that in between all the things she does that make us cringe, she gives us a sense that she’s a really good nurse (Warning: Spoiler Alert!).

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Jim DeMaria

James DeMaria, RN, BSN, is Vice President of Renal Care Registered Nursing Services, located in Nanuet, N.Y. Founded in 1991, Renal Care Registered Nursing Services provides acute kidney dialysis services to some of the northeast’s largest hospitals and caregiving facilities. While having had no formal business training, James has excelled as an entrepreneur, a role he must balance with his responsibility as a nurse, husband and father, and is always on call, explaining, “You never work harder than you do for yourself.” He is also cohost of “Nurse's Station,” a new audio podcast by and for nurses.

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