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Behind the scenes at Shortland Street

For nearly 17 years Sally Geary has worked part-time as a medical supervisor on Shortland Street, as well as working at our Emergency Department and Diabetes Clinic. Sally’s job on the soap is to ensure the actors who play nurses or doctors know what they’re doing.

Some of the actors struggle with medical terms and don’t understand how a hospital works. For instance, when there is an operating theatre scene, Sally talks the actors through the procedures and how theatre staff would talk to each other.

Not only does Sally teach the actors what to do, but she also makes sure that all the medical information is correct before the show goes to air.

three nurses

Sally Geary with on-screen Shortland Street nurses Nicole Whippy, who plays Kasey Mason and Marianne Infante, who plays Madonna Diez.

Sally used to work on storylines and would sometimes draw on her work experiences. “Obviously, I'm mindful of patient confidentiality being a nurse, but working as a nurse does give you inspiration and ideas for great fictional storylines. You’d be surprised what happens in a real Emergency Department!"

Over the years, Sally’s seen a lot of people come and go and she has contributed to many storylines, but her favourite wasn’t a medical one. “It was a long time ago now, but probably my favourite was the Ferndale serial killer,” she says. “No one knew who the killer was. And I had a colleague at work offer to do all my night shifts if I told them who it was. For the record, I didn’t say.”

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