Most TV sitcoms and movies portray doctors as the people who are at every patient’s beck and call, and as a result, most of us have a distorted view of the healthcare system. We are unaware that the true patient-care providers are nurses and nurse’s assistants, a vastly different reality than what Hollywood has portrayed to us for years. Take Grey’s Anatomy for instance: the doctors run to a patient’s bedside at any little alarm, and residents are typically assigned to different patients on the show. However, in real life, nurses are each assigned to a patient and doctors would never be caught sitting with a patient throughout the night or running blood tests on patients (jobs that nurses are in charge of).
Nursing care plans are essentially unheard of in most of these shows and movies, calling into question what writers and producers are creating the show. There are rarely any prominent nurse figures in these shows, and when there are, it is difficult to distinguish the line between the doctor’s duties and the nurse’s duties. The nursing care plans are discretely laid aside in favor of the more dramatic pagers that indicate a “code black” has occurred. However, in most hospitals and clinics, patients are taken care of through a relatively easy system to master in which nurses communicate to each other the patient’s diet, medication, and current health status, all through the same portal.
Most nursing care plans remain written down for easy access and changes, but more and more hospitals are updating their protocol so that nurses can communicate with their coworkers even easier through computer updates. It always seems like the hospitals and clinics in TV dramas do not have a very organized system; otherwise, how else would someone get the wrong heart transplant? However, in real life, nurses are extremely well-organized and are the backbone of the hospital. Doctors have relatively little contact with patients and the nursing world aside from the initial and post exams. Nurses are instead in charge of follow-up care, and ensuring the patient continues to take their medication.
While nursing care plans are never mentioned within Hollywood, and much less their movies/TV dramas, they remain a vital part of the health care industry and are responsible for each patients’ continuing care. Nurses in general are slighted within most of these shows and do not receive the recognition they deserve. It is therefore up to the audience to be informed of the many tasks nurses perform throughout the hospital – a vastly different job description than that which Hollywood would like us to believe.