Had to book myself into a hospital last week — on the set of the upcoming Global medical drama Nurses.
The 10-episode first season, from the folks behind Rookie Blue, probably won’t air until the fall or early in 2020.
Set in Toronto at a fictional hospital named St. Jude, Nurses is more like Rookie Code Blue (an emergency term used to alert medical personnel that somebody’s having a heart attack). It follows the adventures of five young nurses at a busy downtown hospital. Tiera Skovbye (Riverdale), Natasha Calis (The Possession), Jordan Johnson-Hinds (Blindspot), Sandy Sidhu (Home Before Dark), and Donald MacLean Jr. (Workin’ Moms) are the main stars.
Vancouver native Calis, on her feet all day, preferred being interviewed on the floor. Hey, I was just happy to be out of the house.
I spoke with three of the five young leads along with executive producers Ilana Frank (Burden of Truth), Vanessa Piazza (Dark Matter) and series creator Adam Pettle (Saving Hope); Tassie Cameron is also part of the production team. It’s always fun to catch a cast at the start of a series and this group of young actors were exceptionally likeable and present.
More about them months from now as the air date draws near. In the meantime, hats off to production designer John Dondertman. Nurses shoots in the Toronto west end suburb of Mississauga, Ont., and the hospital set is incredibly detailed and authentic. I’ve been on the sets of ER, Chicago Hope and other U.S. network medical dramas and this set is detailed and impressive. If you have to be in a hospital you’d want it to be this one. It had to be fully realized and full service, says Frank, pointing out that so much of the series takes place within the hospital walls.
Dondertman’s set takes you from the outside front door of the emergency entrance, past the admissions desk and right into a hospital environment, complete with patient rooms, nursing stations, long hallways and lab and meeting rooms. The place is well stocked with the latest medical gear and accessories.
It helped, says Frank, that this production team recently came off Saving Hope. Connections with the medical industry and equipment providers were already well established. These companies are generally eager to get a little product placement within a TV environment. Still, the Minister of Health should tour this set with a note pad and aim to emulate the state-of-the-art conditions throughout hospitals in the province.
Also impressive was the set for the diner where these characters hang between shifts. Frank revealed that the cosy, retro-neighbourhood setting was largely inspired by the real Skyline diner on Queen Street West in Toronto. That place is a local gem, and the replica really makes one want to grab one of the stools by the bar and order the daily breakfast special.
Too many of those bacon cheeseburgers and milkshakes, however, and you really will need a nurse.