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Strong Medicine episode reviews  


The way out of "Strong Medicine"

February 5, 2006 -- Lifetime's "Strong Medicine" wrapped up its final season with a minor subplot in which advanced practice nurse Peter Riggs affirms that he would rather be a nurse than a physician. In Diane Messina Stanley's "Special Delivery," Peter resists pressure from his girlfriend, physician Kayla Thornton, to go to medical school, which she calls his "way out of nursing." We give the producers credit for showing that an attractive character like Peter prefers nursing, for highlighting the contemptuous views of nursing that some physicians hold, and for a scene in which Peter makes a diagnosis that an intern has missed. But it's hard to see Peter's marriage proposal to Kayla at the end of the same episode as a sign of nursing self-respect. And aside from Peter's few scenes, the episode proceeds as the cable drama has for six years, focusing on heroic physician characters who provide care that nurses do in real life, while anonymous nurse characters meekly obey the physicians' commands. Although the show has ended production, that grossly distorted vision of health care still airs in reruns for three hours each week. more...


Peter Riggs, CNM (2000-2006)

February 4, 2006 -- On Sunday, February 5, Lifetime will broadcast the series finale of its hospital drama "Strong Medicine" (against the end of the Super Bowl, but maybe Lifetime figures that won't have much impact on this show's fans). So this will be the final appearance of hunky, alternative nurse-midwife Peter Riggs, played by Josh Coxx. The overall portrayal of nursing in Tammy Ader's female physician show has been fairly poor. The show has generally presented nurses as mute, peripheral physician assistants. But Peter has been a positive character in the limited number of episodes that have given him attention. He has displayed initiative, knowledge, and patient advocacy, as two episodes from the fall of 2005 show (September 18 episode and the October 16 episode). Over the show's six years, Peter has probably been the most significant male nurse character on U.S. television, and the only one to display anything like autonomy or serious expertise. Tune in and wish him well. See our series review.


"I'm here to do your bidding, Dr. Thornton."

October 16, 2005 -- Tonight's episode of Lifetime's "Strong Medicine" included another apparent effort by writers Darin Goldberg and Shelley Meals to highlight the skills of lone major nurse character Peter Riggs. Peter is a nurse-midwife, though he acted as an ED nurse here. One subplot tonight explored power issues between Peter and resident Kayla Thornton, also his girlfriend, in the aftermath of their ED care for a teen who dies of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The episode does manage to show that Peter has significant knowledge and the initiative to act on it to save the lives of others who are at-risk. But it also confirms that at the end of the day, physicians like Kayla are in charge. Elsewhere in the episode, nurses are portrayed, as usual, as marginally skilled physician subordinates who don't talk to patients or families, while physicians provide all important care. more...


The baby man

September 18, 2005 -- Tonight's episode of Lifetime's "Strong Medicine" included two commendable subplots recognizing the autonomy and skill of hunky advanced practice nurse Peter Riggs. Peter got fed up with seeing yet another poor young mother getting inadequate support from her baby's gangbanging father, so he set up a "baby boot camp" for those fathers, which he ran with considerable skill. The episode also briefly highlighted Peter's skills as a midwife, setting him up in competition with surgeon Dylan West in caring for their pregnant colleague, physician Lu Delgado. But most of the episode offered the usual portrait of commanding physicians providing all important care. The anonymous nurses who did appear accepted their "orders" without comment, never speaking to patients or having an extended interaction with the physicians or other nurses. The episode, "It Takes a Clinic," was written by Darin Goldberg and Shelley Meals. more...


"Less than a minute away, Doctor."

January 16, 2005 -- The above words were the only ones spoken by any nurse character in tonight's one hour episode of Lifetime's "Strong Medicine," which focused on Rittenhouse Hospital's new Emergency Medical Services center, and which may serve as a pilot for a spinoff series called "Strong Medicine: First Response." The new series would center on a white paramedic and her adoptive sister, the black chief of trauma medicine. This episode was essentially "Strong Medicine" meets "Third Watch," and it offered a vision of emergency care in which only physicians and paramedics played roles of any significance. The episode was written by Tammy Ader and Lisa Melamed. more...


Also see our series review


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