With so many shows that revolve around nurses — Nurse Jackie, HawthoRNe and Mercy, to name a few — a list of the 10 Sexiest Nurses was inevitable.
But the recent list created by Nerve apparently used much different criteria for sexiness than I had in mind. I mean, the first nurse on the site’s list is Florence Nightingale.
Seriously? True, Flo did attract admirers, if not suitors, of both genders. But she certainly did not encourage romance; in fact, her biographers generally agree that the pioneer nurse remained celibate all her life. (Despite Nerve’s implication that she might have been a lesbian, her writings indicate that she wasn’t too fond of women in general.) Nightingale’s accomplishments are worthy of admiration, to be sure, but I’m not sure I’d call her “sexy.”
While Nerve does include one of the best TV nurses ever, “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Loretta Swit), the list is more noteworthy for who it doesn’t include. We can do much better. I’ll get things going with a few of the sexiest nurses on television, starting with the first one I remember.
Julia, starring Diahann Carroll, was the story of a widowed nurse and her son. Julia Baker’s husband had been killed in Vietnam, forcing her to relocate and forge a new life in a primarily white environment. Whatever the situation, Julia was strong, elegant and dignified. With her at my bedside, I know I’d feel better.
China Beach dealt with Vietnam more directly, set at an Army base during the war. Dana Delaney played Nurse Colleen McMurphy, who was the perfect blend of passion and compassion. I came out during the show’s run and McMurphy was the first female character that I openly admitted to having a crush on. I still think of McMurphy when I see Delaney — and still have a crush on her.
One of the things that made Scrubs unique in the sitcom world was the way it allowed relationships between characters to change and grow. Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes), head nurse at Sacred Heart, was, in many ways, central to those relationships, covering rookie mistakes and offering advice that usually turned out to be right. She was smart, confident and knew better than to feel threatened by the relationship between her husband Turk and his BFF J.D.
Remember the pilot episode of ER? Carol Hathaway, played by Julianna Margulies, tried to commit suicide over a failed relationship with Doug Ross (George Clooney). Over the next six seasons we saw Carol go from shaky to self-assured — and were enchanted by her every step of the way. I knew Carol and Doug would end up together, but secretly wished she’d show up on my doorstep instead.
OK, your turn. What nurses make your heart beat faster?