Does Grey's Portray Nurses Unfairly?

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The New Zealand representative of an international nursing group is taking Grey's Anatomy to task over its portrayal of nurses.

Anita Bamford, Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, and a member of the U.S.-based Center for Nursing Advocacy, says that the show portrays nurses in a way that is damaging to the profession.

"Nurses in this series are nothing more than a pathetic foil to the god-like doctor heroes," she said. "They are typically presented as marginally-skilled physician subordinates, usually faceless and mute -- like wallpaper."

The series, which is up for 11 Emmy awards this year, including best drama, has been criticized by some for its inaccurate presentation of medical situations. In New Zealand, the Season 2 finale aired last night.

The nursing group is urging the producers of Grey's Anatomy to incorporate nurses as skilled professionals who play a central role in patient care.

"The show presents an inaccurate and damaging portrayal of nursing. You frequently see surgical interns performing key tasks normally done by nurses - like patient monitoring and psycho-social support. Mostly, the nursing characters are restricted to menial tasks," Bamford said.

The non-profit organization, which monitors the depiction of nursing in the news and entertainment, says research shows that Grey's Anatomy has a real effect on the public's healthcare views and actions. It is making similar cases against popular shows ER and House.

The Insider feels this criticism of Grey's Anatomy is overblown. Have these people seen the episode "Break on Through," in which George refuses to cross the picket line and helps the nurses campaign for better hours and wages? Of course, George also got syphilis from a nurse, Olivia (below), but that was all Alex's fault in the end. We're not sure what the problem is!

George & Olivia

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."

CRISTINA: "There's a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can't be in it until you're in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss... My dad died when I was nine. George, I'm really sorry you had to join the club."
GEORGE: "I... I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."
CRISTINA: "Yeah, that never really changes."