Nurses as Seen on TV

Getting Your Online Nursing Degree Offers More Than Drama

get an online nursing degree

By Sindya Narayanaswamy & Reen Payne

Nursing has always had dramatic appeal. These days, nurses are all over the small screen, from "Scrubs" to "Grey's Anatomy" to "ER." And who can forget memorable nurses Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan from "M*A*S*H" or Colleen McMurphy from "China Beach"?

Most often, TV nurses play a distant second string to the more flamboyant doctors who keep our blood pressure high every week. But in every medical show, as in real life, nurses are critical forces in the life-and-death scenes that are played out. Every hospital, real or fictional, is full of complex and exciting stories.

Anatomy of a Hospital

"Grey's Anatomy" is filled with the drama of all things medical. Whether it's the love life of the interns, doctors and staff or the birth (and separation of) Siamese twins, there's always something exciting happening at Seattle Grace Hospital.

Aside from the occasional romance, however, little is said about the nurses at Seattle Grace. But you see them in every episode, charts in hand, making sure everything is in order and that all is well. They are in the operating room, assisting hunky Dr. Derek Shepherd as he does a double-barrel brain bypass surgery, and helping the beautiful, if evasive, Dr. Addison Montgomery as she delivers babies. The nurses are the lifeblood of this fictional hospital.

The Nursing Side of Scrubs

"Scrubs" offers a more humorous and musical version of hospital life. The doctors are still the main focus, but smart and sassy Nurse Carla Espinosa holds her own against the abrasive Dr. Kelso. Of course, her love life gets attention (don't the charming and brilliant doctors always get together with the gorgeous and capable nurses in the end?). But regardless of the quirkiness at Sacred Heart Hospital, Nurse Espinosa and her nursing staff are ever-present at the poignant medical scenes, taking care of the critical jobs that make the hospital function.

The Real Story of Nursing

If the drama and romance of medical shows inspire you to consider a working in the health care field, you might consider an online nursing degree. Why? It's rewarding, pays well and is a very stable career. And you will be making a real difference, especially given the United States's current nursing shortage. The crisis spurred the federal government to bring in nurses from abroad, but there are still not enough nurses to fill the need.

Start Your Nursing Career with an Online Nursing Degree

Your first step is to become a registered nurse. This can even be done online—many schools offer an online nursing degree. You'll complete the required associate's degree coursework online, and then obtain your license to practice.

While working, you can pursue higher online nursing degrees as well. You might consider an online Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree or a Master's of Science in Nursing degree. These degrees can help you specialize in an area such as pediatrics or orthopedics and help you obtain a higher salary.

With an online nursing degree, you won't have trouble finding a satisfying and good paying job, even if it can't be with those charismatic doctors at the fictional Seattle Grace or Sacred Heart hospitals.