The Top Four Television and Movie Nurses

NursingDecember 04, 2013


Let's face it, television and movie nurses are not an accurate reflection of nurses in real life. But that doesn't mean that we can't learn a little something from the good and bad nurses of the silver and small screens. Take a look at four of the most memorable television and movie nurses.

Meet the Parents: Gaylord Focker

An outstanding example of a male movie nurse, Gaylord Focker, or Greg, had to endure plenty of criticism from his new in-laws; but make no mistake, he was passionate about nursing and patient care. Even though he nailed the MCAT, he chose to have a more hands-on role with patients. We can learn that nursing isn't just a consolation prize to being a doctor, and that the nursing profession can be just as fulfilling to a man as it is to a woman. The role also emphasizes that being a nurse requires intelligence, dedication and compassion.

M*A*S*H: Major Margaret Houlihan

A favorite, Margaret Houlihan led the nurses in the Army Nurse Corps in the 1970 film, M*A*S*H. She rigidly followed Army regulations, was a fierce advocate for the nurses in her charge, and demonstrated exceptional nursing abilities. She kept a cool hand in stressful situations and had a tender heart for the soldiers under her care. Even as a movie nurse, she serves as an inspiration to aspiring nurses everywhere. While it could be said that her romantic choices weren't ideal, she still taught us that loyalty, leadership, confidence and competence make for an exceptional nurse.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Nurse Ratched

No discussion about nurses in film is complete without the detestable Nurse Ratched. She ruled Oregon State Hospital's mental institution with intimidation, manipulation and cruelty. What can we learn from Nurse Ratched? Essentially, how NOT to be a nurse. Nurses can make or break a patient's stay in a hospital, and it's possible for a nurse to become too focused on his or her own goals, rather than considering the patient as a person. Don't be a Nurse Ratched. Just don't.

Miss Ever's Boys: Eunice Evers

The television movie, Miss Ever's Boys, is based on a true, heartrending occurrence referred to as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

We can learn from Miss Evers that the nurse-client relationship is a powerful thing that must be treated with respect, with the client's best interests always at heart. The film also serves as a crash course on what is absolutely unethical in a research study and in practice as a nurse. Miss Evers is one movie nurse that will get you thinking.

Ultimately, a television or movie nurse is just an actress pretending to have the knowledge and skills of a registered nurse. The process of actually becoming a nurse is much more complex than just applying makeup and learning a script. If these nurses inspired you to consider entering the field of nursing, there are many nursing programs available to suit your needs.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons



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