See the current issue of Scrubs Magazine

Nurses react to HawthoRNe

Image: TNT

A CNO who gets her hands dirty?  Must be a Hollywood invention.  In fact, it is.  HawthoRNe, which premiered June 16th on TNT, features Jada Pinkett Smith as Chief Nursing Officer Christina Hawthorne. The show isn’t as controversial as Nurse Jackie, but it still has lots of nurses talking (especially about glaring medical errors…).

Yes, tinseltown may be taking its usual creative license, but the HawthoRNe audience still seems thrilled to see a nurse who not only leads a team of nurses, but also rolls up her scrubs sleeves and actually performs bedside care.

Apparently the notion of a hands-on CNO isn’t pure science fiction.  Blogger RehabRN recently commented on Emergiblog:

“I worked with a CNE like that. She was (and still is) that kind of person. She saw when things were busy and answered call lights, acted as the unit secretary and took people to the bathroom, suit on for an exec meeting or not, isolation or not. If we needed help and she couldn’t get it, she was in there.  I would work for her again in a second.”

So where does this leave this summer’s nurse show rivalry between Nurse Jackie and HawthoRNe? Here’s our opinion: Although the writers at Nurse Jackie have molded their title character as sometimes saint, sometime sinner, the show itself may very well be sharing its dual identity with darling real life nurse-pleaser, HawthoRNe.  One only has to look at Nurse Jackie’s headline-making premiere which had nurses up in arms against the negative image of nurses created by the show.

While Nurse Jackie’s title character is a tough pill to swallow, HawthoRNe may have imagined the kind of do-it-all nurse that even real nurses have rarely seen before!  Us Scrubs editors are saying nurses will watch HawthoRNe and Nurse Jackie…but for entirely different reasons! Below are the latest highlights of how nurses have been weighing in on HawthoRNe vs. Nurse Jackie all over the internet.


muckersdream tweets:
Jada Pickett-Smith shined on her new show, Hawthorne. Show was eclectic, not predictable, kept me interested, will watch again.

nightnurse tweets:
Saw glimpses of Hawthorne while @ work. No conclusions yet. Still kinda shocked to see a nurse on tv w a brain and doing actual work.

bthenextstep tweets:
Nurse Jackie vs. HawthoRNe: The Battle of the TV Show Nurses Continues


From HawthoRNe – You GO Girl! – Emergiblog

“…In all my decades, I have never known a Chief Nursing Officer to don scrubs and do patient care.

And Christina Hawthorne does it all!



Am I going to watch?


HawthoRNe has personal problems that don’t include drugs or sex.  She is widowed, single mother and her teenage daughter is a pain in the ass.  She, like her Showtime counterpart, is a strong woman who isn’t afraid to break the rules.

And as so many commenters pointed out in the great discussion following my “Nurse Jackie” post, no television show is going to be perfect in its portrayal of any profession (my hubby used to rail at “LA Law” every week!).

So, you can call me naive, an idiot, a pollyanna, out-of-touch, crazy or whatever name you like…

I’m taking the more idealistic portrayal of nursing offered by “HawthoRNe”.

, , , ,


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

2 Responses to Nurses react to HawthoRNe

  1. It’s nice that there is a new TV show out with a nurse in the lead role, but why oh why do they have to pull same old, worn out and tire, dog and pony show? The average medical show (ER, House), has doctors performing deeds that are completely alien to real life. And now, here comes Hawthorne in their footsteps.

    Please, a CNO who steps in and does patient care? A CNO who even leaves her office? A CNO is an administrator, not a clinician. Maybe the CNO might put on a pair of scrubs if she worked in a 20 bed rural hospital, but not in a large urban facility. That the CNO is “fighting” for her nurses is ridiculous, or even knows who the nurses are working at the hospital. Even her strutting around in a white coat is ludicrous—CNOs are executives. They wear business suits, no white coats.

    Plus, how difficult is it to come up with a script that doesn’t look like it was written by Mickey Mouse. Would a nurse in 2009 really give a med that he/she knew to be detrimental? No, of course not. If the doctor remained firm, the nurse would take it up with the nurse manager of the unit or supervisor, and hold the dose.

    And of course, the primary problem that Hawthorne has to contend with is physicians being mean to nurses. Yawn….

    The show is just a jumble of the worn out Hollywood cliches of the hospital environment, only now we have nurse Hawthorne instead of Marcus Welby. Why not do something innovative, like have the main character as an “ordinary” nurse who is fighting for better working conditions, trying to get the nursing staff to unionize, showing how the hospital deals with uninsured, etc. Or even make her the manager of a single unit, where she would realistically be involved with nurses and could have easier contact with patients.

    I hope this silly show dies a quiet death, before making nurses look even more ridiculous. Or before spreading even more myths and legends about life in the hospital.

  2. Anonymous

    I agree with the previous comment by anonymous. I am a Nurse Manager on a busy med/surg/telemetry unit and, although I do get in there and help whenever needed, I don’t have time to be out there as much as Nurse Hawthorne is and she is supposed to be over the entire facility. I was also turned off by the nurse who became a nurse because he couldn’t get into med school. Nurses are not junior doctors or doctor wannabes. Most Nurses become nurses because they want to do what nurses do – care for and about their patients and use their excellent brains to make critical decisions that have a profound impact on their patient’s lives. While the concept of Hawthorne shows promise, the situations depicted so far have fallen flat in reflecting what nurses really do. I hope the producers of this show will hire some technical advisors who really know what nursing is all about. There is so much that is exciting and challenging about real nursing today. It is not necessary to fabricate antiquated concepts such as nurses in submissive roles to doctors. Nurses and doctors have totally different roles – interconnected and dependent on each other – but equally important to provide the care patients require today.