‘Nurses’ cast talks about new medical drama

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WATCH: Tiera Skovbye, Jordan Johnson-Hinds, Natasha Calis, Sandy Sidhu and Donald Maclean Jr. stopped by ‘The Morning Show’ to talk about their roles and personal connections to nursing.

Global’s new series Nurses is a coming-of-age series that follows five young nurses working on the front lines of a busy downtown Toronto hospital.

The nurses dedicate their lives to helping others while struggling to help themselves.

Starring an ensemble cast of young talent, Nurses follows Grace Knight (played by Tiera Skovbye, Riverdale), a young nurse looking for a fresh start until someone from her past turns up who could jeopardize her career.

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Nurses also follows Ashley Collins (played by Natasha Calis, The Possession), a wild and unapologetic adrenaline junkie who lives for the fast pace of the hospital, and Keon Colby (played by Jordan Johnson-Hinds, Blindspot), a former college football star who’s trying to prove he’s more than he was on the field.

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The series also includes Nazneen Khan (played by Sandy Sidhu, Home Before Dark), the whip-smart daughter of a wealthy family in India who moved to Canada to reinvent herself and is now starting her first job ever, and Wolf Burke (Donald MacLean Jr., Workin’ Moms), who is soft-hearted and playful but with a secret that may find him in over his head.

Global News sat down with the cast of Nurses in Toronto to discuss the new series in depth.

MacLean Jr. said his character Wolf is “such an enlightened character to play.”

“I’m still trying to find the character because he keeps constantly teaching me new lessons in life. Reflecting on that these last three months, filming with these great actors, I’ve learned so much about myself as a person and as an artist,” MacLean Jr. said.

Donald MacLean Jr. as Wolf Burke (Global TV/Corus).
Donald MacLean Jr. as Wolf Burke (Global TV/Corus).

Sidhu described her character as “a whip-smart daughter who immigrates from India to Canada.”

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“She comes from a very wealthy family and she is on a reinvention story because she’s in free fall trying to figure out who she is in a new environment,” Sidhu shared.

“It was a really fun dichotomy to play someone who comes from so much wealth and to be in a position now where she’s really chosen a profession of the most selfless occupation you can really choose,” Sidhu explained.

“As an actor, the goal for me is always to be part of a project that has a positive impact,” she said. “My mom’s a nurse who immigrated [from] India so the story was really close to home for me.”
Sandy Sidhu as Nazneen Khan. (Global TV/Corus)
Sandy Sidhu as Nazneen Khan. (Global TV/Corus).

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Calis described her character Ashley as “an unapologetic adrenaline junkie who lives with the fast pace of the hospital.”

“I would love people to know that there’s more than meets the eye with Ashley. She definitely has this hard outer shell and she puts on this tough-girl face. But it comes from her tough life and a tough upbringing and all of the circumstances,” Calis explained.

“Once you chip away at the layers, she has this vulnerable core that I think, each episode, slowly gets shown. She confides in these people and she was very reserved at first, but she finds her friends and her family.”

Natasha Calis as Ashley Collins. (Global TV/Corus)
Natasha Calis as Ashley Collins. (Global TV/Corus).

Skovbye said her character Grace is “for the patients and for the care.”

“She feels like what she’s dealing with doesn’t really matter because it’s about the job and it’s about the patients. But through the interactions with the people that she’s working with and having some things from her past kind of come up brings a whole bunch of things to the surface for her that she is forced to deal with in a way that she never anticipated,” Skovbye shared.

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“With that comes the beauty of these friends and this family that she creates that she never thought that she’d have or really even wanted until they help her through life, one of the toughest things while dealing with this incredibly tough, tough job, and it kind of opens this vulnerability in her.”

Tiera Skovbye as Grace Knight. (Global TV/Corus)
Tiera Skovbye as Grace Knight. (Global TV/Corus).

Johnson-Hinds said he’s also still figuring out his character Keon.

“I’m glad that I have Season 1 game tape to look at so I can kind of figure him out. He’s not just an ex-football player. I think he has to prove to himself that even though he did give up on football, he has to face those same challenges that he walked away from with his new job now,” Johnson-Hinds said.

“As a man, he’s trying to figure out who he is as a person and prove to himself that he’s not a quitter,” Johnson-Hinds added.

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Jordan Johnson-Hinds as Keon Colby. (Global TV/Corus)
Jordan Johnson-Hinds as Keon Colby. (Global TV/Corus).

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When asked their thoughts on why doctors get more praise than nurses, MacLean Jr. said he believes nurses “do unselfish work and there’s so many of them and you can’t just pick one.”

“But there is one doctor that you can directly give all the glory to,” he said.

“I think that doctors get recognition … they deserve to because they specialize. They have to go through more education and training and they’re the ones that have to kind of do the problem-solving and diagnosing,” Sidhu said.

Sidhu said it’s “quite shocking that there hasn’t been a lot of narrative around nurses.”

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“I think that we just know the nurses are going to be there and we know that they’re not calling for attention to themselves. I think that’s why we don’t necessarily give it to them because there’s just this inner gratitude that’s usually not expressed,” Sidhu added. “And then, you know that the problem-solving that [is] such a [highly] important value in trying to save someone so I think that’s why doctors tend to get the most notoriety and applause.”

“But it is really amazing that we get to celebrate the people that can do the hard work on a daily basis,” she said.

Johnson-Hinds said it’s similar to football.

“In football, the quarterback gets all the praise, but Tom Brady has a good offensive line that protects him,” he explained. “They have a good offensive line that protects him, and that’s how you can have a 20-year career. I think nurses are like the offensive line.

“The doctor is the quarterback, but the offensive line doesn’t get the praise of the credit. They are the one blocking for the doctor,” Johnson-Hinds added.

Nurses airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.

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