Capturing the heartbreak of a terminal diagnosis, the relief after successful brain surgery and the camaraderie of the ED, NY Med, a new eight-part documentary series from ABC News, chronicles the action inside New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Videographers followed nurses and physicians for 16 months, recording their unscripted interactions with patients and each other.
“The show could be one of the greatest public health campaigns, or it could be a great campaign for how rewarding and amazing a career as a professional nurse is,” said Katie Duke, RN, BSN, CEN, CCRN, a nurse clinician in NYPs Weill Cornell Medical Center emergency department. “It can touch so many people on different levels.”
The news team starts the series with a bit of humor. Although one can rest assured the young man on vacation who took Cialis and was still experiencing its effects 12 hours later did not find it funny when Weill Cornell ED nurse Marina Dedivanovic, RN, quips, “Its alive, its alive,” one can be sure every nurse in the audience chuckled.Katie Duke, RN
“When people come in and theyre sick, you can lighten it up with some humor,” Dedivanovic said. “You have to make light of a bad situation.”
While EDs handle many tragic cases, the nurses deal with an array of funny situations also, adds Weill Cornell ED nurse Diana Costine, RN, BA.
“Normal people in their everyday lives dont see all the things we see every day,” Costine said. “They dont want to see all of the sad stuff in one episode. I appreciated [the producer] showing the lighter aspects of the ER and am looking forward to him showing how we do a good job [with the more serious cases].”
Nurses become stars
“I was honored and humbled at the same time,” said Duke, explaining how she felt honored that ABC selected her as one of three ED nurses featured on the show and humbled to represent her institution and nurses everywhere.Diana Costine, RN
“I was happy, excited, terrified,” Duke said. “But I trust my experience and knowledge.”
Dedivanovic called it nerve-wracking at first, but after a couple of weeks, found it fun. Later, the nurses became friends with the ABC crew members, who filmed for more than 3,000 hours.
“Were so busy and focused on our patients, after awhile we didnt notice the cameras,” Costine said.
“It hasnt impacted care,” Dedivanovic added. Having the camera on her made Dedivanovic realize “theres nothing that could affect the way I take care of patients.”
Some patients seemed excited to be part of the program and to have the opportunity to educate people through their stories, while others avoided the spotlight.Camera crews filmed about 3,000 hours of footage at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for the ABC-TV series “NY Med.”
Boosting interest in profession
A patient trying to avoid jail, complaining of chest pain and wanting to harm himself, and another with back pain would hit home to anyone working in healthcare. But when Costine offers the first man food, including a tuna sandwich in case he didnt like the first choice of lasagna, viewers witness the human caring nurses exhibit every day.
“Its the reality of what really happens in the hospital and what we go through,” Dedivanovic said.
Duke and Dedivanovic expect the show will answer questions and entice more people to consider nursing careers.
“Its pushing a lot of people to go into nursing,” Dedivanovic said. “They get to see what its really like to be a nurse.”
Dedivanovic said she cannot explain the feelings associated with caring for patients and leaving them with a smile, the show depicts this.
“Once people see nurses do so many things that can change peoples lives, it will alert more people to the value of the profession and the opportunities it holds,” Duke added.
Many people have contacted Duke through social media, asking her questions about nursing and the show.
“To the question, ‘Is it a realistic depiction? — 100%,” Duke said. “They wanted nothing but a realistic depiction of how it goes down, and thats what they got.”
WATCH THE SHOW online at NYMedShow.com.