"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Have ‘Mercy’!

This week I would like to discuss the T.V. Show on NBC, "Mercy". First off, I give it a high thumbs up. I have watched every episode to date and have been very impressed with each episode overall. However, I know where differing viewpoints are coming from, and they make me angry sometimes too. For instance, the biggest upset about the show for many people is that sometimes the characters do things that would never be expected in a hospital. A lot of people are picking on the fact that character Sonia was walking down the hall in her gown and got attacked by a patient. I agree, that is a little (OK, maybe a lot), far fetched. But the point the writers of the show were trying to make was that although she was dressed in this beautiful gown and late for her date, she made the decision to help a patient that was calling for help when no one else was around, and she was off duty. The whole point of this show is to show nurses in a brighter light and that even though it may be far fetched, nurses might actually do something for a patient such as that. Which most of us would…just not in an evening gown! Many of the viewpoints brought up in my presenting article circulate around the very valid point that NO show on TV is ever going to accurately portray nurses 100%. If you wanted even 90% accuracy, you have to turn on Discovery Health channel. This is primetime TV we are talking about, in order for the show to remain on the air, they need viewers. They need to entice viewers that aren't nurses, otherwise they wouldn't have enough viewers. The general public does not care what is accurate nursing and what is not. They want drama! The public wants love triangles and sexy scenes in supply closets. Its T.V. drama, get over it. The show would never survive if there was no drama. However, I think in order to "save" themselves, in fear of intense criticism from real nurses, the show really does an accurate portrayal of something I haven't seen at all in any other show thus far: Nursing advocacy! In each episode, one or more of the three leading nurses (Chloe, Sonia and Veronica) have had a patient that needed the nurse to fight for their rights. A couple episodes ago, Chloe "stepped over her boundaries" by fighting with the Dr. to get him to realize what she was saying about the drug abuser. She believed he had ringing in his ears and went through a lot to prove it. Just this past week, Character Sonia went through a lot of thinking to come up with a solution on how to help the trouble-making nude sleepwalker (again with the drama). A couple episodes ago Veronica went through the trouble of finding her patients amputated leg in the biohazard room to help her patient achieve closure. Just last week she stayed with a patient that wasn't technically "hers" to make her feel comfortable throughout her hospital stay. As you can see, in each episode the nurses go out of their way to fight for their patient or find a solution. This is accurate, this is what we are supposed to do for all of our patients. Also, I think the medical information is very accurate on the show. I think Veronica displays a very good portrayal of a nurse. She performed a very good physical assessment, and asks all the right questions. She even used the pain scale (1-10) even after the patient said she wasn't in "that much pain". I am also continuously impressed with her good therapeutic communication skills. She has a soothing voice, and always knows what to say (lets put aside the fact that the show has writers that spend all day figuring out the "perfect thing to say").

As for what I (and many other people) don't like about the show, I dislike the fact that these nurses are getting punished for the nursing advocacy. Again, I know its for ratings, its for drama between the doctors and the nurses. I get it. But here is Veronica trying to get her patient into a rehab program and despite the doctor saying no (only because the patient stole his sandwich), Veronica still goes behind his back to get him in the program because she believes it is the right thing to do for her patient. I hate that there is a disciplinary trial held against her for this. Also, why is Veronica the only one wearing scrubs? Why does Sonia get to wear gorgeous clothes that help her figure every week, while Veronica has to wear typical scrubs that do nothing for what I'm sure is a gorgeous figure underneath? Also, why does Sonia always have her hair down, in gorgeous locks, whereas Chloe and Veronica (more Veronica than Chloe) portray an accurate version of a nurse with her hair pulled back in a perfect yet very messy bun? Is this done on purpose? The last thing that I disapprove of in this show is how much Patient confidentiality is compromised. Just this past week, (and this isn't the only time it has happened), Sonia and her friend (a nurse?) are loudly talking about her nude sleepwalking patient in the hallway. Not only are they talking about him, but making fun of him, even referring to him as a "gargoyle". Meanwhile, if you notice, this takes place right outside where all the patient rooms are! It's a TV set, they only use so many different patient rooms, and they are all seemingly right outside this nursing station that we always see. Out of all the things that I (and others) should get upset about in terms of show accuracy, this is what gets me the most. We learn so much about how to maintain proper patient confidentiality rights and here are these characters throwing information out to anyone.

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