Reply by Author to Macke and Moore on "Ethics: The Value of Nursing Ethics: What about Nurse Jackie?”

Response by Jeanne M. Sorrell to Krissy Macke and Caitlin Moore Letters to the Editor on 'Ethics: The Value of Nursing Ethics. What about Nurse Jackie?' by Dr. Jeanne Sorrell (July 22, 2009).

Dear Editor:

I appreciate Krissy Macke and Caitlin Moore's Letters to the Editor regarding my Ethics Column on The Value of Nursing Ethics: What about Nurse Jackie? (July 2009). Their thoughtful letters emphasize important points regarding how even a nurse as controversial as 'Nurse Jackie' can help both nurses and the public think deeply about ethical dilemmas that nurses face daily. As Ms. Moore notes, many people do not understand what nurses actually do; and Nurse Jackie may awaken the public to the difficult physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges that nurses face. Ms. Macke's recommendation to strengthen the show's potential to promote healthcare communication by encouraging the show's writers and producers to provide more education and health promotion topics could be a wonderful way to create a dialogue among nurses and to help the public better understand the role of the nurse in handling difficult ethical situations. Both letters note the importance of the advocacy role that Nurse Jackie plays - she does not just follow doctors' orders when there is need to question them but fights for what is best for each patient. It is exciting that shows like Nurse Jackie provide a new avenue for nursing to reach the community and show how nurses do make a difference!

Jeanne M. Sorrell
Professor Emerita, School of Nursing
George Mason University