See the current issue of Scrubs Magazine

Nurse Jackie: love, hate, or love to hate?

Image: Showtime

Nurse Jackie – saint or sinner? If you’re a nurse and have excitedly previewed the pilot episode, chances are you’re shouting your answer and stomping your feet. Showtime’s new half-hour dark comedy may not have officially premiered yet, but one could hardly tell.

Ever since the sneak-peek trailer appeared on the Web showing the title character, ER nurse Jackie O’Hurley – played by Edie Falco – saddled with drug problems and being groped by the hospital staff, real nurses have been burning up their keyboards in response.

Lacking budgetary wherewithal to stage a puppy bowl, Scrubsmagazine is tailgating the Showtime premiere of Nurse Jackie with the following “highlight reel” of the nurse pre-buzz that has been blazing across the Web.


FrecklesRN tweets:
“I’m a bit nervous about the two nurse shows coming out this summer HawthoRNe on TNT and Nurse Jackie on Showtime – hope it represents us well!”

LuvenRN tweets:
“In contrast to what Nurse Jackie has to say about healing, I’m thinking team work. The interdisciplinary team + patient…so very important.”

terikris tweets:

“Nurse Jackie: ‘you’re chatty. I don’t do chatty, quiet & mean, those are my people.’ I love it!!!”


“Nurses on TV Sitcoms” – Young and Restless Nurse

“…Several nurse bloggers have mentioned the upcoming shows that feature nurses in protagonist roles – One is Nurse Jackie – the controversial show with Edie Falco featuring a nurse with substance abuse issues and walks the line between “saint and sinner” as Showtime puts it. Problem is that we don’t need more shows depicting nurses as walked upon sex objects that can’t tolerate the stress of their jobs, and are ignored in the clinical decision-making arena because they are “just nurses”. ANA is very much against this show, and public dissemination of that fact is upcoming…”

“…I always wonder how other professions react to shows that portray them as a certain way – the Hollywood way. Real life doesn’t make for stimulating TV (although it seems to on TLC and other reality channel shows about healthcare), so there will always be a bit of creative license. But do firefighters get upset over “Rescue Me”? Did police officers and detective get rifed over “NYPD Blue”? How do crime scene investigators react to them being portrayed as skinny and sexy on “CSI Miami…”

“…But nursing should hold producers accountable for how they portray nurses, especially if there is no counterbalance in their shows. ANA needs to do a better job of publicly speaking out about these shows, too!”

“Nurse Jackie Drug Addicted Nurse Character Hits the Airwaves…Again” – Emergiblog writes:

“That’s Edie Falco.
You remember.  She played Carmella Soprano.
Great actress; I love her.
Too bad I won’t be watching her new character on Showtime.

You blew it, Showtime.
Of course, it’s not too late to rectify the issues, the show has not debuted yet.
But know this:

No matter how funny, how dramatic or how well written “Nurse Jackie” is, you are doing nothing to advance or promote the nursing profession. But then I guess the goal is ratings and nothing defines a “hit” like sex and drugs.”

“Nurse Jackie vs. HawthoRNe: The Battle of the TV Show Nurses Continues” – My Strong Medicine writes:

“…whole heartedly agree with the concept of the show, but cannot get my mind around why they have to have this character be a drug addict of some sort while being a part of the warped-like mindset of the public’s depiction of nurses being some sort of abused sex object.

Now my opinions are of course solely based on the video clips and previews I’ve seen, and yes I’m well aware that it IS just a TV show, not the real thing. The more talk, the more drama, the more the ratings go up. Blah, Blah, Blah.

I still think they could have done a bang-up job without the drug addiction and sexual antics…”


Commented on “Nurses on TV Sitcoms
Sean says…
“I think it’s the imbalance that upsets us nurses as well as other professions. I understand that drama ‘gets ratings’ and ‘makes money’ but you think they could find a healthy balance. I guess in my humble opinion we need more positive than negative, at least to start. These shows are the first of their kind for nurses. Don’t you think we should put our best foot forward? Great thoughts. Thanks.”

Commented on “Nurse Jackie vs. HawthoRNe: The Battle of the TV Show Nurses Continues
KatieBeeRN says:
“I don’t think we’re saying we don’t like shows like Nurse Jackie because they don’t portray nurses as the angelic Florence Nightengale character – but there doesn’t seem to be a proper balance of the good nurse/bad nurse image. It’s all negative. That’s why I kind of like Mercy – although their characters could use a little more depth and the script (at least for the pilot) is very two-dimensional.

But, maybe this will spawn more nurse shows that have better character development and really take a deep dive into the world of nursing!”

Commented on “Nurse Jackie Drug Addicted Nurse Character Hits the Airwaves…Again
Marisa says:
“I know I am the minority here, but I saw the pilot of Nurse Jackie and thought it was pretty good. Yeah, were all not drug addicts and banging white coats, but the show wasn’t bad besides that stuff. oh well”

Nurse K says:
“Now, would somebody please tell me why, why? they had to portray this nurse as a drug addict?” It’s TV! OMG!
And like I said on Twitter…everyone knows someone who has been fired etc for stealing drugs at work…it’s not that uncommon. Maybe it’ll bring attention to the problem of nurses/health care staffers who get addicted to drugs or who go into health care due to easy accessibility of drugs… If not, it’s a TV show.”


Nurse Jackie and HawthoRNe – thumbs up? or thumbs down? – Forum page 27

from LilKwonie
“Hey, nurses! I just got done watching the new pilot episode of Nurse Jackie that will be on SHOWDOWN starting June 18th. The pilot episode is great! I mean, it was kind of jacked up here and there but overall I was amazed how the show just totally took control of my emotional senses. I seriously feel like I set down and finished the show without a blink of an eye. I think any nurses would enjoy this show so thought I would share with people who have not heard about Nurse Jackie. The pilot episode is on Youtube…..enjoy and tell me what you think!”

from RisaRNBSN
“I had very high hopes for Nurse Jackie, which were dashed within minutes of watching. Not at all what I expected, but I should have been more realistic seeing as the show is on Showtime. I for one, do not want perceptions about my life’s passion to be tainted by a drug-snorting, sex-crazed, immoral maniac. My jaw hit the floor.

“I certainly hope the letter writing campaign ensues shortly.”

from Angie O’Plasty, RN
“Ugh. I just watched the first episode.

“I’m so mad, I don’t know where to start.

“With the drug snorting? the forgery? the affair? the failure to advocate for the patient (why didn’t she get another doc to OK the CT head?)? Flushing the ear down the toilet? Stealing?

“She’s a walking crime scene, not a nurse.

“What the heck is wrong that Hollywood cannot find a good story in the drama of what nurses really do and who we really are. Are all Hollywood writers nurse-hating misogynists?”

So what do you think?  Watch Nurse Jackie this coming Monday, June 8th, at 10:30 ET/PT on Showtime and leave a comment here or write to us at

, , ,


The Scrubs Staff would love to hear your ideas for stories! Please submit your articles or story ideas to us here.

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

7 Responses to Nurse Jackie: love, hate, or love to hate?

  1. Meriannea

    From the prospective of promoting a + rep for nurses on TV, I am ASTOUNDED disgusted at the reprehensible actions protrayed in Nurse Jackie. Ms Falco is talented and the show;Nurse Jackie, entertaining. I feel strongly that to call her character a saint dishonors my profession.
    Just my humble opinion.

  2. Anonymous

    It’s a great show. I think Jackie says some of the things we would all love to say to certain patients and doctors in the ER.
    It bothers me a bit that she is a drug addict and hope people don’t get the idea that all ER nurses are like this. I think most will see the humor in this show overall.

  3. How soon will you update your blog? I’m interested in reading some more information on this issue.

  4. NM

    Nurse Jackie reveals the dark edges of nursing. After 30+ years in Med Surg, ER, Hospice and HHealth it is great to sit back and laugh at this absurd mix of a good/evil (a.k.a. human) character. Get it folks? She is a character. On a TV show. Go watch reruns of Little House on the Prairie if you like your TV cushy cushy feel-good.

  5. Anonymous

    It’s a DARK COMEDY..funny, entertaining..I laugh my A** off! She dares to say what others only think..lighten up people!!
    hawthoRNe, on the other hand is frightening..sappy, stereotypical, talk about disgusting..bring out the violins

  6. Thanks for the mention

  7. Anonymous

    Geez….I’m a nurse and I love the show!! Whether you love it or you hate it, it’s just a show….