EXCLUSIVE | 'Nurses' star Natasha Calis on playing an 'adrenaline junkie' thriving on trauma in NBC med drama
In an exclusive interview with MEAWW, the actress tells us how the show takes inspiration from the real-life nurses who navigate through it all
In its very first episode, 'Nurses' on NBC puts us right at the center of the chaotic lives of the titular front line workers who put their lives in jeopardy for the public health and wellbeing. On their very first day, Grace Knight (Tiera Skovbye) and a bunch of first-time nurses Ashley Collins (Natasha Calis), Keon Colby (Jordan Johnson-Hinds), Nazneen Khan (Sandy Sidhu), and Wolf Burke (Donald Maclean Jr.) headed by Sinead O'Rourke (Cathy White) find themselves thrust in the middle of a tense situation following a violent attack. In an exclusive interview with MEAWW, actress Natasha Calis tells us how the show takes inspiration from the real-life nurses who navigate through it all.
"Doctors make the final decisions, but nurses are hands-on with each and every patient - they are there to care for them and be the emotional support for them," Calis exclusively tells us over a phone call. Nurses, who put in the same and even more of themselves to their jobs hardly ever get the same recognition that is bestowed on the doctors. 'Nurses' aims to bring to attention that many aspects of this demanding profession. "Nursing is much more than just medicine. It's compassion – there is so much heart and soul that goes into it. Our show is shedding a light on the importance of nursing - about time that nurses are put in the spotlight a little bit because they do so much."
Calis plays the role of a young nurse Ashley Collins, who is described on the NBC press site as a "wild and unapologetic adrenaline junky" who quickly comes across as someone who absolutely loves their job "living for the fast pace of hospital life". In the very first episode of the show, Ashley is disappointed that she is not in the ER working hands-on with the victims of a violent attack and is instead tasked with pacifying their family and friends. She would have instead preferred to be present in the trauma zone - "Trauma's sort of my jam," she says in the premiere episode of the show.
"Ashley is super edgy," Calis tells us about her character. "She loves the adrenaline involved in being a nurse and specifically working in the ER and in trauma care, where things can get a little bit more intense. I think she's thrived in that sort of situation." Calis resonates with her onscreen persona as she thinks of herself as an adrenaline junkie. "She's [Ashley Collins] like, 'Yeah, bring it on, let's rock and roll, let's help these trauma patients."
In the first episode, Ashley also has a loud, aggressive argument with fellow nurse Grace. They argue their morals and ethics, which ends in one of them walking away. "Ashley is no BS. She'll say what's on her mind and she'll call people out. Grace is such a strong character, they really butt heads, um, in the beginning," she says but teases that their work relationship will evolve into a genuine, close friendship. "[Over the course of the show], you'll notice an arc with them and they'll eventually end up becoming really good friends."
Watch the 'Nurses' promo here.
There's no doubt that 'Nurses' is basically 'Grey's Anatomy' without surgeons! The show might even replace your love for the ABC medical drama and keep you hooked.
'Nurses' is set to premiere on NBC on Monday, December 7, 2020, at 10 PM ET/ PT. From the first week of January 2021, the medical drama will be moving to Tuesdays same time on NBC.