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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

'HawthoRNe:' Yielding

Published July 2, 2009 12:27 PM by Adrianne OBrien

Episode three of HawthoRNe (confession: I skipped episode two) brought some meatier storylines than the pilot episode, but also a continuation of the silly stuff and stereotypes.

A bright spot continues to be Jada Pinkett Smith's performance. Her Christina Hawthorne, CNO of the fictional Richmond Trinity Hospital, is committed. Cool. She has the ear and the respect of both her nursing staff and Tom Wakefield, the hospital's chief of surgery.

Alas, we need a dose of realism here. In "Yielding," episode three, Christina scrambles to create a makeshift ICU bed for a woman whose son isn't emotionally ready to remove life support. She's counseled the man for 10 weeks (in the parking lot of the hospital because he can't face going into the building; he also has her cell phone number). That seemed like way too much bedside involvement for a CNO, but as nurse Bridget from CA commented on our site recently, "Personally, I would love to work at a facility where the CNO was still clinically competent! Having been working for the past 3 years in management, it is disgraceful how many nursing leaders are not clinically up-to-date, but still have their say in the policies that shape their nurses' practice."

Good point. That's why Christina commands the respect of her nurses. The show just needs to paint a more realistic picture of what exactly a CNO does. There would still be plenty of conflict and human interest.

Veteran nurse Bobbie, another cool customer and a skilled practitioner, tells newbie nurse Kelly: "I don't need sweet in the ER. I need pit bull. Can you give me pit bull?" Kelly, timidly: "Grrr!" The growl was cringe-worthy, but Kelly redeems herself by going with her gut - which initially seemed naïve - and correctly handling a difficult case where it appeared an infant had ingested rubbing alcohol.

Christina's daughter, Camille, who was so rude and obnoxious in the first episode (you can't speak that way to Christina Hawthorne!) that I wanted to shake some sense into her, grew a bit in episode three. Flunking English ("How can you flunk English? It's the language we speak," Christina notes to Tom Wakefield with a raised eyebrow), Camille is in her mother's office completing an overdue Shakespeare project.

That lasts about 5 minutes until Camille gets bored and ends up sneaking around the hospital taking (unauthorized) video of patients and situations that interest her. She ends up putting together a montage of these video clips, adding a voiceover that includes the requisite Shakespeare verbiage. It's quite lovely, and includes footage of the son who couldn't say goodbye to his mother for so long doing just that. But...HIPAA, anyone?

Nurse Ray, the frustrated would-be doc, spends the episode trying to play Two Minutes in the Closet with nurse Candy, who's been charged with checking the expiration date of supplies and meds (this, during a nursing shortage?). He doesn't have much luck, because his patient (his only patient, it seems) needs him to get her more ice and show her how to operate the remote, among many other requests.

I applaud the show for trying to illustrate to the public that many patients mistakenly believe nurses to be part of the concierge service, but the story was over the top and went on much too long.

At the end of the episode, though, Ray tells the patient: "I'm not a busboy ... I'm a nurse. I'm an actual medical professional. I may not be a doctor, I may not get to put the ‘MD' at the end of my name, but in most cases I know as much as them, if not more. The point is that I'd really appreciate it if you'd treat me with the same respect that you do them, and only summon me for actual medical problems."

Realistic? I doubt it. But did it make you smile? Is this show holding your interest?

Catch full episodes on TNT's Web site.


I have not watched this show - but after reading your synopsis, I am not sure I want to watch.  It sounds like the "same old, same old" for nurses in the hospital.  It may be nice TV, but this is not the reality I know of working in a hospital.  

By the way - have they done a show about "Night Shift"?  or how about a JACHO visit.  Now wouldn't that be fun to see on TV

Cynthia, Public Health - Staff RN, County Health Dept. July 16, 2009 1:15 AM

The July 7 episode of ‘HawthoRNe’ brought more examples of Christina Hawthorne, played by Jada Pinkett

July 8, 2009 2:23 PM

Personally, I like the show Hawthorne better than Nurse Jackie. NJ just seems boring and without any significant plot, like the writers just want to demonstrate their ability to write witty, snarky comments at the expense of what could be a great storyline. Anyway, as far as Hawthorne goes, it seems unrealistic, of course, and I can't understand why Hollywood wants to continue adding in all this unnecessary drama to the field of nursing. If they stuck with more realistic scenarios and interactions, they'd have drama aplenty. It's like the gray's anatomy of nursing...where you have to disconnect from what you really know the world of nursing to be like in order to fully enjoy the show. But anyway, I just wanted to say that the entire thing with Ray just made me mad. Yes, it is true that nurses are not part of the concierge service. We ARE trained medical professionals, but seriously...that entire monologue that he delivered at the end of the show at the expense of his *obviously* lonely and distraught patients sense of worth, was completely out of line, in my opinion. He needed to get his head out of his a@@ and start thinking straight. We may not be concierge service, or room cleaners, or cable guys, or ice fetchers, or whatever it was that was bugging him so much, but we are also not at work to hit on our crushes and try to get laid in a closet. It was despicable, what he did and was trying to do. Is he so ruled by his genitals and inflated sense of worth? He frustrates me to no end, and gives a bad name to male nurses everywhere. (i'm not a male nurse, by the way). We may be medical professionals, but we are also there for the patient. The fact that he couldn't see how distraught that poor patient was (and it was his only patient, for crying out loud) because he wanted to race to that closet so bad, then he disgraces himself and disgraces the profession. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a patient feel comfortable, no matter how much time it takes. I felt bad for that woman, and not the least bit bad for Ray. He just irked me. I wouldn't want him at my bedside, that's for sure. Save it for out of work, buddy. The only redeeming thing came during Camile's montage where we see that Ray finally did get his head out of his butt and did what was right. Good for him.

Kate, M/S - RN, ORMC July 2, 2009 5:18 PM
Middletown NY

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