Medical dramas and films abound the screens today and are one of the most popular sub-genres of visual entertainment. Shows like ‘House’, ‘Chicago Med’, ‘The Good Docter’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ have become fan-favourites and have aired on television for years. These long running shows owe the credit of their success to balancing medical knowledge with creative liberty. A significant degree of medical accuracy goes a long way to make plots and settings seem convincing and can even add to the drama that keeps the viewers hooked.
These medical dramas often have actual medical professionals working behind the scenes with production teams to ensure medical accuracy. Known as media script nurses, these nurses provide consultation based on their medical expertise and even real-life experiences to production teams that approach them. These nurses can be hired as consultants for not just dramas and films but also documentaries, videos, and even ad productions.
What do media script nurses do?
Media script nurses work closely with show writers and production crew to create credible medical scenarios and plotlines. Their medical knowledge especially comes across as useful in dramatizing diagnosis and treatment procedures. They also check final scripts to fact-check scenarios and identify medical discrepancies in plotlines.
Medical scripts nurses can also offer set designing advice to create believable hospital settings. Their advice can also be useful in creating characters and relationships. As nurses are required to interact with doctors, technicians, pathologists, patients and family members, their suggestions on relationship dynamics can be crucial in creating accurately represented characters.
Why are media script nurses crucial to the production process?
Visual entertainment is a platform that reaches masses of thousands, if not millions. Therefore, factoring in credibility while producing medical dramas is definitely a good practice. False information or inaccurate portrayals of medical procedures and settings can affect the show adversely. In severe cases, misinformation can also be dangerous for viewers as they might consider it true and develop preconceived notions about medical diagnosis, treatments and professionals.
Therefore, having a media script nurse ‘on-call’ with show writers is important in several regards:
- Accuracy: Media script nurses can offer advice on how scenarios procedures can be enacted accurately and realistically. This is important as inaccurate representations can contribute to misconceptions of medical conditions and treatments.
- Authentic representation: A nurse can provide useful insights in representations of healthcare professionals. This can contribute to how medical professionals are seen by the audience and can foster admiration and respect for the medical community. A positive representation of hospitals staff in TV shows can also encourage people to seek professional advice for their health requirements.
- Patient rights: Media script nurses can help avoid any conflicting scenarios in plots where patient rights are in endangered. They can ensure that the characters act in accordance with medical principles and ethics and follow proper protocols.
- Sensitive issues: Situations with ethical and moral dilemmas are common in medical dramas as they not only make for dramatic plotlines but also test the characters for integrity. A nurse professional can guide writers in navigating these scenarios so that they are depicted with empathy.
- Raising awareness: Medical dramas can be instrumental in shaping audience perception of the healthcare community. They can be used as tools to highlight the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and can prove impactful in bringing changes in the medical landscape.
- Education: As these shows have a large audience, they can also be used to educate the people about diseases and their prevention. If these messages are dramatized through TV shows and movies, the impact is far greater as infection, diagnosis and treatments can be explored in ways that are easily understood by the audience. This can help in maintaining public safety especially with regard to transmissible diseases.
Perks of being a media script nurse
Being a media script nurse is certainly on the fun side of the nursing profession. This non-traditional nursing job opens up an array of opportunities for nurses who wish to explore other career options. It also comes with significant perks like:
- Diverse career choice: Media script nurses have the unique opportunity to be close to the limelight while working behind the scenes. This can be a ‘best of both worlds’ option as you can be close enough to enjoy the limelight but far enough to not get affected by the adverse effects of fame. Sometimes, nurses can also have the opportunity to be cast on TV. For instance, Chicago Med sometimes casts registered nurses as ‘experts’ in the show. Erin Shelly, a registered nurse (RN), landed a role in the show through a recommendation by the show’s technical advisor, Bobbin Bergstrom, also an RN .
- Networking opportunities: The media profession can provide chances to interact with a different industry than healthcare. Therefore, this can also offer special opportunities for professional growth.
- Interpersonal skills: Interacting with in people in a non-medical environment can allow nurses to improve their interpersonal skills. They may often have to deconstruct complex medical scenarios so that they can be understood by non-medical people.
- Creative growth: Working with show writers, producers and other artists can help nurses to gain a creative approach to looking at medical scenarios. This can be very enriching as it can offer a change from the medical way of looking at things and can prove to be intellectually stimulating.
- Impact and influence: Media script nurses are in a crucial position that can influence the way healthcare and medical professionals are perceived by the general public. They can stop the spread of misinformation, contribute to proper representation of medical staff by defying stereotypes and educate the audience about the working of the healthcare industry.
How to become a media script nurse
Having a RN license and advanced specialization degrees is only part of the process to becoming a media script nurse. Networking plays an important role in this case as these positions aren’t listed on nursing websites. You can also introduce yourself as a nurse consultant in the entertainment industry circles to maximize your chances.
How much do media script nurses make
The earnings of a media script nurse can differ according to production teams, budgets and contracts. According to ZipRecuiter, media script nurses in the US make $36.43 an hour, on average.
A media script nurse has several unique opportunities that traditional nurses working in hospitals do not. Not only does this opportunity provide unique career exploration prospects, it can also be pivotal in shaping the audience’s perception of the healthcare industry. So, if the showbiz is a direction you wanted to explore as a medical professional, this is definitely an option you can check out.