Petition Closed
Petitioning Executive Producer, The Mindy Project Howard Klein and 2 others

The Mindy Project: Make amends--portray nurses as autonomous professionals who improve health

The Mindy Project's one recurring nurse character, Morgan Tookers, is a goofy ex-convict, well-intentioned but ignorant, very odd, and a little scary, who has shown virtually no health expertise. Yet in real life, nurses are autonomous professionals with years of college science education who save lives and improve outcomes every day.

The December 4, 2012 episode included a grossly inaccurate attack on midwives, as New Agey men “stealing” patients from Mindy's OB-GYN practice. Mindy gets the patients back by telling them that midwives have no significant health training or skill and that only physicians can provide real health care to pregnant women. The show’s physician characters also caricature the midwives as seductive “charlatans” and “quacks” who are hostile to all “Western medicine,” including drugs and vaccines. Yet research shows that nurse midwives provide care that is as good as or better than that provided by physicians.

Letter to
Executive Producer, The Mindy Project Howard Klein
Executive Producer, The Mindy Project Mindy Kaling
Executive Producers, The Mindy Project Michael Spiller, Charles McDougall and Matt Warburton
Dear Ms. Kaling and Messrs Spiller, Klein, McDougall and Warburton:

I urge you to improve the poor portrayal of nursing on The Mindy Project.

As you know, the show consistently suggests that physicians are the heroic, if flawed, masters of all health care. The one recurring nurse character, Morgan Tookers, is a goofy ex-convict. Well-intentioned but ignorant, very odd, and a little scary, Morgan has shown virtually no health expertise since Mindy's OB-GYN practice hired him. He seems to act mostly as a loyal office assistant in scrubs. In fact, nurses are autonomous professionals with years of college science education who save lives and improve outcomes every day.

The December 4, 2012 episode also included a grossly inaccurate attack on midwives, many of whom, as you may know, are nurses with graduate degrees in midwifery. In the main plotline, a holistic midwifery practice led by two New Agey men is “stealing” patients from Mindy's traditional OB-GYN practice. Mindy gets the patients back by telling them that midwives have no significant health training or skill and that only physicians can provide real health care to pregnant women. The show’s physician characters also caricature the midwives as seductive “charlatans” and “quacks” who are hostile to all “Western medicine,” including drugs and vaccines.

In fact, all midwives receive years of health care training. They are not hostile to vaccines or the appropriate use of medications. And research shows that the care of certified nurse midwives is at least as good as that of physicians overall, and that it’s better in important respects. In fairness, the lead midwife in the episode is a strong, clever character, and I realize that the show mocks everyone for one thing or another. But the episode never offers any serious criticism of physicians as health providers. Instead, it's consistent with the economic and territorial fear some physicians seem to have for advanced practice nurses.

Please avoid further baseless attacks on nursing and midwifery, and make amends for the damage the show has already done by portraying nurses as science-educated, autonomous professionals who save lives and improve patient outcomes.

Thank you.