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Ford City nurse, former AGH colleagues star in MTV reality show

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 8:02 a.m.
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Nikki Cirrincione and a group of traveling nurses are to appear tomorrow night on MTV's new show, 'Scrubbing In' tomorrow at 10 p.m. A viewing party is planned at Nite Courts, at 403 Main St., Ford City.

A Ford City woman will make her television debut on Thursday in “Scrubbing In,” the newest reality series to hit MTV.

The show follows Nikki Cirrincione and a group of traveling nurses, who are assigned to work at a hospital in Orange County, Calif., for 12 weeks. It premieres on MTV at 10 p.m. on Thursday.

The show focuses on life inside and outside the hospital for several first-time traveling nurses, including Cirrincione, 27, her friends Chelsey Ferri, Michelle Battisti, Crystal Burrell, and Heather Ambrose, all of Pittsburgh, and four other young traveling nurses.

It focuses on the challenges of being a young traveling nurse, the struggle to maintain old and establish new friendships, and attempting to enter the dating scene after relocating to the hospital, executive producer Mark Cronin said.

“We're after a balance of the 360 degrees of their lives — of how their profession impacts their personal lives, and vice versa,” Cronin said.

Nursing first interested Cirrincione when she experienced a string of sports-related injuries and two knee surgeries. Through her injuries, Cirrincione said she knew she wanted to go into a medical field. At first she decided to pursue physical therapy, but after her knee surgeries, Nikki decided on nursing.

“It's a great profession, and I wanted to be able to help people the way I was helped during my surgery,” she said.

Before the show, Cirrincione, Ferri, Battisti, Burrell and Ambrose were nurses at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. Cirrincione worked in the hospital's trauma intensive care unit.

As a group, they decided to work with a traveling nurse agency, in hopes of seeing the country, while working at different hospitals, Cirrincione said.

The traveling nurse agency enjoyed the story of Cirrincione and her friends attempting to travel and work together, and referred them to MTV, which was casting for “Scrubbing In.”

Cirrincione said that she and her friends were excited but hesitant to work with MTV. Eventually, they decided to go through with it, in hopes of educating the public on the reality of nursing.

“A lot of people think we bring patients medicine and bedpans, and that's it, but there's so much more nobody gets to see,” Cirrincione said.

“In shows like ‘Grey's Anatomy,' they glamorize the profession, but we want to show what it's really like.”

Cronin said the cast always strived to be professional during the filming, which may make them all more relatable to the audience.

Unlike other reality shows, “Scrubbing In” features a very intelligent and skilled group of individuals who are more interested in performing their job than grabbing the spotlight, Cronin said.

Cronin said Cirrincione is one of the focal points of the show, serving as the central figure in the group of nurses from the Pittsburgh region.

“This cast has more to lose than others because they are professionals, who have important, in-demand jobs,” Cronin said.

“They value their careers more than fame, which created a situation where their concern is to be professional so they don't destroy their ability to work in the future.

“We get the true story of their lives, not someone trying to overdo it for the cameras.”

Cirrincione said she has yet to see the first episode of “Scrubbing In,” and is unsure of what to expect.

“I'm a little nervous, but we were 100 percent real (during filming), so we have nothing to be ashamed of,” she said. “We're just mostly excited.”

Cirrincione isn't the only one excited by the premiere of “Scrubbing In” on Thursday — several Ford City residents are eager to watch it during a viewing party in Nite Courts at 403 Main St., Ford City.

The restaurant, which was the backdrop for an interview with Cirrincione before she left for California, will host parties each week to watch “Scrubbing In,” manager Jennifer Barbyguine said.

“Nikki is a sweet girl, and I love the fact they're doing a show about nursing,” Barbyguine said. “It'll be nice and exciting to see a local girl on an MTV series.

“Hopefully this show will be popular to be picked up for more seasons.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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