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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Lost & Found: New Nurse on 'HawthoRNe'

Published July 8, 2009 2:18 PM by Adrianne OBrien

The July 7 episode of ‘HawthoRNe’ brought more examples of Christina Hawthorne, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, spending an unrealistic amount of time on direct patient care when compared to the average CNO. The fact that the show’s portrayal of an executive-level nurse doesn’t ring true, at least in this regard, is a big, fat con, but a pro is that the storylines are getting more interesting.

In one case, the left arm of a female patient was black with infection after a prior motorcycle accident. She had already undergone hyperbaric treatment without success and was taking antibiotics, thanks to faked urinary tract infections, to try and stay one step ahead of disaster. The ER attending physician immediately recommended amputation, despite the patient’s pleas to save her arm, to avoid bone infection and death.

Nurse Bobbie, who herself has a prosthetic leg, took patient advocacy to an extreme. She lied to get another physician involved, one who wouldn’t amputate immediately. When Dr. Wakefield, the chief of surgery, finds out, he brings Hawthorne up to speed and sternly reminds her and Bobbie that the patient’s life is at stake.

It shows strength of character that Hawthorne’s first inclination isn’t to stick up for one of her nurses, no questions asked. She tells Bobbie that only a patient can request a second opinion, and to be a solid advocate, she needed to give the patient some serious straight talk about getting used to life without an arm. "And if you’re not up to it," said Hawthorne, "I’ll find someone who is."

Meanwhile, new nurse Kelly is still feeling lost. On a search for supplies, she ends up in the hospital’s basement, eventually – yes – in the boiler room, where she discovers a wandering patient.

"I’ve been at this job for 2 months now, and I just seem to be getting worse," Kelly laments to the man. But she soon navigates both of them back into the cafeteria, and gracefully handles a mild lecture from nurse Candy. She may have been lost, but it seems like this nurse will find her footing in time.

How about you? Did you ever get hopelessly lost in the hospital during your early nursing days?

Read a recap of the previous episode here, and watch complete episodes here.


I worked as a Student Nurse for six months before I ventured off the unit.  Each day, I brought my lunch so I wouldn't have to leave.  I entered and exited via the same exit.

And then, I was asked to go pick up blood at the blood bank.  I was terrified, but I did it-without getting lost.  In time, I began floating to other units and found my way around.

I can so relate to Kelly, even with 12 years of nursing experience.  I think many of us can.

I look forward to watching her grow.

Lorettajo Kapinos July 13, 2009 11:46 AM
Springfield MA

I find Hawthorne very unrealistic in her ability to be so involved in direct patient care.  Having been a Director of Nursing for a small hospital and an ICU director during my 35 year career, I agree that the CNO would never have the time to be that involved in direct patient care.  I found in my ventures into higher management that I intensely missed patient care and was too involved in bureacratic meetings and hospital politics so I went back to staff nursing in ER and love it!  

Sally, ER - RN July 12, 2009 8:38 PM

Hawthorne's heart may be in the right place when it comes to patient advocacy, but characthre's title and job function would not have allowed her any close involvment in the patient's direct care. Please , please ,please stop conning america and other young aspiring nurse executives as to what their role and scope entails when it comes to being a CNO.

FAY, MMRD - Supervisor of nsg svcs, HUNTERDON DEV. CENTER July 10, 2009 11:55 AM
Clinton NJ

Im lovin this show.

mo July 9, 2009 9:58 PM

I have been disappointed from the beginning of HawthoRNe at it's "stretch". Don't get me wrong......I love the show, tune in every week and eagerly await the next week's episode.  I just don't think, though, that Christina Hawthorne's character has a fitting title.  Nursing Supervisor (or Nurse Manager) would be a more fitting title for her character.  I just don't understand how this show's advisors (medical staff and personnel) could have let that major detail slip through the cracks!

Atoyia Ortiz, Telemetry/Orthopedics - RN, Hospital July 8, 2009 4:10 PM
Miami FL

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