Nursing on TV: More Fiction than Fact

From Nurse Jackie and Private Practice to Grey’s Anatomy and Royal Pains, medical-based television dominates the airwaves, both in first-run shows and reruns. Some of the interactions between nurses, doctors and patients are accurate – and some are not. Check out these five ways nursing is wrongly portrayed on TV:

  1. Nurses Simply Wait for a Doctor’s Instructions
    Doctors and nurses work side-by-side, as a cohesive team. Sometimes, nurses on TV are portrayed as merely assistants to the doctor, unable to act until told what to do. Yes, nurses do assist doctors, but they are also highly trained and often operate autonomously.
  2. Nurses Regularly Ignore Patient Care to Discuss Personal Business with Colleagues
    Here’s a familiar scene on a medical drama: A patient goes into cardiac arrest, but the nurses are bickering in the break room about their love triangle. More often than not, nurses are portrayed as chatty gossipers who do more socializing on the clock than actual nursing. In reality, nurses don’t have time to chat, bicker or gossip – their days are meticulously scheduled and their time is utilized for patient care.
  3. Doctors Can Do Anything That Nurses Do
    TV writers have a tendency to blend together the workplace responsibilities of all medical professionals, in an effort to have the focus remain on the drama of the storyline. In reality, doctors and nurses do have some overlapping of skills. However, both fields are independent from each other and require different training and education.
  4. Nurses Rarely Perform Lifesaving Techniques
    Many times on television, the doctor is given sole credit for saving a life. While doctors can and do save lives every day, nurses also perform lifesaving techniques. Nurses are often the first point of contact for the patient, especially when they take a turn for the worse.
  5. Only Doctors Get Accolades
    On TV, the hugs, high-fives and teary thank yous are often left to the patients, their families and the doctors. It’s not very common for a scene to revolve around thanking nurses for all they have done. Nurses do receive thanks and praise on a daily basis – maybe not enough, but they are often recognized by doctors, patients and their families as an integral part of patient care and healing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for nursing positions are slated to see a sharp rise – about 26 percent between 2010 and 2020 – which translates to a higher need and better career opportunities for Nurse Managers. Loyola University New Orleans understands challenges Nurse Managers face, and has designed an online nursing program that develops the abilities and skills of nurse professionals to think outside of the day-to-day operation and emerge as leaders.

Chartered in July of 1912, Loyola University New Orleans is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States and one of the largest Jesuit institutions in the Southeast. The 2018 edition of the U.S. News & World Report Top Online Education Programs guide singled out the Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing as one of the best online graduate programs in the country. The publication has also ranked Loyola among the top ten regional universities in the South for the last 24 consecutive years. The fully ACEM accredited online Master of Science in Nursing program currently serves students throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Loyola University New Orleans is a not-for-profit, Catholic Jesuit institution welcoming students of all faiths.

Registered nurses who are ready to explore the advanced career options made possible with an online nursing master’s degree can visit elearning.loyno.edu to learn more, or speak with an admissions representative by calling toll-free (866) 789-9809.