3 Famous Fictional Nurses We Wish Were Real

NursingFebruary 24, 2014

If you're thinking of becoming a nurse, you probably drew inspiration from famous fictional nurses on television. Here are three favorite characters that we would love to meet in real life.

When they wheeled in Nurse Carol Hathaway (played by Julianna Marguiles) on a gurney after a suicide attempt in the pilot episode of E.R., she was never supposed to leave the hospital or that initial episode. Yes, Hathaway was originally supposed to die in the pilot episode. But writers decided to keep her for the series, and it's hard to imagine the show without her in its early years. Who else could have been a worthy ex-fiancé and eventual wife of Dr. Doug Ross (played by George Clooney)?

The levelheaded Hathaway spoke quietly and carried a big stick, especially when it came to sticking up for her fellow nurses. When a cocky young surgeon was condescending to one of her nurses, she didn't throw a tantrum or even raise her voice, but she quietly put him in his place.

Nurse Jackie (played by Edie Falco) can put any doctor, nurse, or patient in their place as well, but you can bet she won't be as polite about it as Nurse Hathaway. Even outside the hospital, Jackie just can't help herself when it comes to dealing with rude people. In one episode, she was having lunch with a friend when a man at the next table berated and humiliated a poor waitress. She tried to ignore it and control her temper, but she's a woman who's spent years toughening up in the emergency department. So, she verbally ripped him to shreds in front of everyone. "Your friend is awesome," whispered the waitress to Jackie's dining companion.

Jackie is as cynical as they come, and she is far from perfect. She cheats on her husband and abuses prescription drugs, but when push comes to shove, she brings a genuine, no-nonsense compassion to her patients and sometimes her coworkers. She even invites hyperactive nurse Zoey (played by Merritt Wever) to live with her, creating a comedic duo on par with George and Gracie, Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello.

Zoey may be way too bubbly and naive at times, but she earns a place among the top three famous fictional nurses because you can't help but love her. It takes a special person to annoy us and entertain us at the same time. She's a refreshing antidote to Jackie's learned cynicism.

One of the most priceless moments of the series is when Zoey moves in with Jackie and the cabinets are bare, except for pancakes. To say Zoey is thrilled at the prospect of pancakes for dinner is a great understatement, but when Jackie offers to make them in animal shapes, like she does for her kids, Zoey goes into overload. In fact, she does her pancake dance, which surely helped earn Merritt Wever an Emmy for her role on Nurse Jackie.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons