A lot of nurses hate the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie,” which will wrap up its sixth season on Sunday evening. Actually, to be precise, they hate the show’s lead character, the emergency department nurse Jackie Peyton. There’s much to dislike: She is an adulterer, a liar, an unreliable mother and, most significantly, addicted to prescription painkillers. (That’s hardly giving anything away, but be warned: spoilers ahead.)
Many nurses will tell you that Jackie’s addiction makes the entire profession look bad. Lives are at stake in hospitals, and health care requires constant multitasking and focused attention. A nurse — or doctor — tanked up on OxyContin is likely not only to do a poor job, but also to place patients in jeopardy.
Theresa Brown is an oncology nurse and the author of “Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between.”