Royal Pains episode reviews
July 9, 2009 -- In the June 4, 2009 premiere of USA Network's new hit summer drama Royal Pains, the brilliant and heroic physician character Hank Lawson was fired and blackballed by a New York City hospital for treating all patients equally. Afterwards, Hank lamented that he could not even find a job as a school nurse! (See the Quicktime clips at broadband or dialup speed.) The message for the episode's 5.6 million viewers was that there could not be a more trivial and unskilled job for a health worker than that of school nurses, who presumably spend their days placing band-aids on scraped knees. But in fact Hank could not get a job as a school nurse because he has not spent years in nursing school, has no nursing license, and knows little about nursing. While the contempt in this episode continues to infect the mass media, it's no surprise that real school nurses struggle for the resources they need to save lives and improve student health. Ryan Blackburn's May 8, 2009 story in the Athens Banner-Herald (GA) explained that school nurses manage chronic health issues like allergies, diabetes, and seizures so students can continue learning. Anemona Hartocollis's April 28 New York Times article described the work of New York City school nurse Mary Pappas who became "a sort of folk hero to nurses" for setting in motion the governmental response to the October swine flu outbreak, identifying and managing hundreds of students' symptoms in a way that might even impress Hank Lawson out in the Hamptons! And today the Associated Press ran an excellent item by Lauran Neergaard about Pappas's "riveting" performance at the Obama Administration's swine flu summit. There the nurse explained how she handled the huge triage challenge in October, and her plans for the coming flu season, offering this pointed advice to the government: "Every school needs a nurse." Kris Sherman's March 8 article in the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) offered a tragic example of what happened in that same October at a local school with no nurse: A fifth-grader died from a massive asthma attack, even though she was taken to a school health room where materials were reserved specifically to save her life. No one with significant health training was there to use them. These recent press pieces paint a picture of a vital professional specialty worthy of more than the undervaluation that has strained its members beyond the breaking point--and that continues to take our children's lives. We urge everyone to help change that situation. Join the National Association of School Nurses in the effort to pass the student to school ratio improvement act and ask your organization to join their list of supporters. more...and take action to support school nurses!
May 24, 2009 -- From our summer 2009 TV preview...
USA Network will introduce Royal Pains, a show about a "concierge doctor" in the Hamptons. Dr. Hank Lawson is a "handsome, smart, talented and innovative doctor in his mid-30s who thinks fast on his feet, solving even the most unexpected problems like a 'Medical MacGyver,'" but who "falls from grace when he is blamed for the death of a hospital trustee [and] inadvertently stumbles into the world of private medical service for the elite denizens of the Hamptons." Hank's younger brother, an accountant and "savvy businessman," encourages him to pursue the "concierge" business and sets it up for him. Hank soon teams up with an ambitious "physician assistant"--we assume the show means "physician's assistant"--who regards working for Hank as a dream job that will help her escape the expectations of her wealthy family. There is also a "beautiful administrator" at the local hospital whose mission is to provide care to the "ordinary folk" in the Hamptons. The show appears to have no nurse characters. And although public health nurses actually provide visiting health services for "ordinary folk" in New York State and elsewhere, it seems unlikely that there will be any indication of that in what seems to be a summer festival of physician glorification and wealth porn. See a preview to the first episode.