1 9 8 9 (USA)
13 x 60 minute episodes
The Wilshire Community Hospital was the fictional setting for this Aaron Spelling drama series about five shapely student nurses.
The five nurses were very friendly – so friendly, in fact, that as a patient, you could look forward to back rubs, gossipy chitchat, and a date after you checked out. As long as you never left your room: The hospital halls were occasionally stalked by psychos, chronically ill vandals and coke-crazed or mob-hitman former boyfriends.
It was also wise to avoid walking into other rooms – you were liable to embarrass an amorous student-nurse-and-doctor or student-nurse-and-patient combination.
The medical aid, however, was questionable. In the first episode, a patient suddenly couldn’t breathe and the attending student nurse panicked and ran from the room, screaming for help. The nurse was then kidnapped by her psychotic former boyfriend.
An ageing socialite (played by Audrey Meadows) had some postoperative complications but the attending student nurse was sidetracked by a hot affair she was having with the attending physician and neglected to make a note of the complications on the patient’s chart.
And during a drug overdose, right after a frantic attempt to revive the comatose victim, the scene changed from the hospital to an aerobics class attended by student nurses . . .
In the interest of plot complications, the student nurses in Nightingales were dangerous. In one episode, student nurse Bridget Loring (Susan Walters) inflicted nerve damage on a child while giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
But the ratio of scenes involving nurses sitting around in their underwear ensured healthy ratings in the heydey of Jiggle TV.
Executive producer Aaron Spelling constructed Nightingales on the rubble of St Eligius Hospital in the Wednesday-nights-at-ten slot once occupied by St Elsewhere.
Nurses across America claimed that the show dangerously misrepresented the nursing profession and the training every nurse undergoes. Some members of the American Nurses Association launched a massive campaign to make Nightingales more accurate, but the series remained largely concerned with airheaded girls going out on the town and taking their clothes off, rather than nurses’ training.
Samantha ‘Sam’ Sullivan
Rebecca ‘Becky’ Granger
Yolanda ‘Yolo’ Elena Puente
Kim Johnston Ulrich
Head Nurse Lenore Ritt
Dr Garrett Braden
Dr Charlene Chasen