By Katie Duke
I had never felt self-conscious about my job until a broadcast news division followed me during the course of my unpredictable, fast-paced life as a nurse in the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
As an RN [registered nurse], I see an average of 150 patients a day in one of the nation’s busiest hospitals. Each case is different and you never quite know what to expect.
Now, viewers across the United States will get a glimpse into the real lives of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s staff on the ABC News documentary series, “NY Med.” For a small-town St. Louis girl, I was thrilled (and admittedly nervous) to become part of this exciting documentary series.
During the taping of this amazing series, I had a mixed collection of feelings about being filmed. I had a mic on me pretty much at all times. My thoughts this past 16 months, I think , were typical for anyone who does not work in television: “Do I sound knowledgeable?”; “Is anything in my teeth?”; “Does my hair look OK?”; and “Did I say the right thing to a patient?”
Eventually, I got into the groove and just kept on repeating, “just be myself.”
I became comfortable with having the cameraman by my side, during my shifts, outings with friends, stops at the tattoo shop and trips home for some famous St. Louis barbecue and family reunions. Let’s just say, we became good friends.
One thing a found fascinating about this series was that ABC News truly covered all the folks who make NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital great. Many medical documentaries that I have seen simply focus on the patient or doctor’s point of view, but not so with “NY Med.” This series really shows the guts and bravura of working in such a dynamic hospital in a bustling metropolis, and demonstrates that the making of a great institution is not in the hands of just a few.
When the show premiered July 11, there were some butterfly-in-the-stomach-moments. I think it is safe to say that the entire medical staff finds this whole experience more nerve-wracking than removing a brain tumor. Seeing yourself on television just sounds so bizarre.
I don’t think that I will be asked to sign autographs when I am on the subway going to work, but since television is such a powerful medium, you just don’t know what the outcome will be.
One could easily sum up my experience on “NY Med” as the following: “A St. Louis girl, dealing with the day-to-day scenarios that the locals of New York City get themselves into.”
Welcome to reality, nice to have ya’ll here.
Katie Duke – RN, BSN, CEN, CCRN – is nurse clinician/ED nurse at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Weill Cornell Medical Center. She was born and raised in St. Louis. Duke completed her BSN at City University of New York Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing and attends Columbia University, pursuing a master’s degree as an acute-care nurse practitioner. She appears on ABC News’ “NY Med.”