We’ve discussed the representation of nurses on television programs before. Generally, with very few exceptions, we are portrayed as invisible, obedient, unthinking servants. But has anyone noticed on House lately, a show widely criticized for not having any nurses working in its hospital at all, has one nurse character that has bopped her way into increased screen time?
I’ve been watching her for several weeks now and I still haven’t caught her name. She appears all over the hospital, but can most often be seen outside the office of the Dean of Medicine playing secretary… or usherette, I’m still not sure which. She pops in to tell the Dean that So-and-So is here to see her now, or that another So-and-So is waiting somewhere for their meeting. She turns up wherever the Dean of Medicine is, injecting information and advice about whatever the Dean of Medicine is up to. She reminds the Dean of meetings, of previous commitments, of whatever. The Dean of Medicine generically asked her to “check the per diem schedule for conflicts” and the nurse generically got right on it. She never talks about nursing. She never talks about medicine. She wears plain blue scrubs and has a stethoscope around her neck and a chart in her hand. Did I tell you I haven’t caught her name yet? She sure gets a lot of screen time following the Dean of Medicine around though, wow! Anyone who didn’t know any better would think she worked for the Dean of Medicine. Unfortunately, most people don’t know any better.