Grey's Anatomy is no stranger to exploring the different ranks within the hospital staff, but Nov. 8's episode will tackle a group that definitely doesn't get enough recognition. Your mom's nurse friends totally litter your Facebook feed with Pinterest quotes about how special their jobs are, and it looks like Grey's Anatomy will explore that with its focus on Stacey Oristano's new character. Who is Nurse Frankie on Grey's Anatomy? We've actually spotted her several times before.
As seen in the promo for Nov. 8's "Anybody Have a Map?," Webber will deal with a pregnant nurse's sudden medical complications. The clip even suggests that the doctors may have to perform an emergency C-section on her. Although the woman looks like the expectant Teddy at first glance, anyone re-watching the promo can deduce that she's a nurse who initially seems unfamiliar. But whether you knew it or not, the show has actually snuck the character into a few fleeting moments earlier in the season to prepare for this special episode.
The drama's showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Frankie, the pregnant nurse, purposely appeared leading up to this week's episode, saying:
You’ve seen her being irritated by Alex Karev at the scrub board and piping in through that window [on last Thursday’s episode when Alex and Jo were kissing in Alex’s office], and she is the focal point of this coming episode, which I directed.
The episode's teaser declares that "a crisis will hit very close to home." Although fans have speculated that the emergency is tied to the possibility of Catherine (Debbie Allen) being Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Koracick (Greg Germann)'s confidential patient, Vernoff's emphasis of the episode highlighting nurses seems to say otherwise.
Oristano's character is even included in ABC's official episode synopsis, which teases, "One of the nurses is 28 weeks pregnant and collapses at the hospital while talking to Richard." Is Frankie's health really the epic crisis that the show is hinting at? It's great to know that the show is exploring new characters, but it is harder to feel invested when a story focuses on someone we don't know that well.
If Oristano's role is due to grow after this storyline, she definitely has the dramatic chops to handle any big plots. Her IMDb page lists several guest roles in notable dramas, and she most recently appeared as squatter Trina in four episodes of Shameless. You may also know her as Truly Stone in the short-lived ABC Family series Bunheads or Tyra's sister Mindy on Friday Night Lights. If Grey's Anatomy does plan to flesh out Frankie after this medical complication, Oristano is totally capable of living up to writers' visions.
Although she's only appeared in two previous episodes this year, Vernoff also confirmed how important Oristano's earlier spots were for the Nov. 8 episode. She told EW:
We knew that we had this episode that would focus on the nurses in the hospital, and we wanted to not just suddenly meet that focal nurse in that episode. So we were far enough ahead in the writing that we were able to find the actress and then pepper her into the season.
Here's to potentially meeting more of the nursing staff this week amidst Meredith's mystery mission and Jackson's possible infidelity. Let's hope that a tragedy related to Frankie isn't included in that mix.
Season 15 of Grey's Anatomy continues on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.