Lt. Preston in "The Nurses" in Season 5 of the M*A*S*H TV series.
|Rank:||Lieutenant (0-2), U.S. Army|
|Job/Role in Unit:||Nurse at the 4077th M*A*S*H|
|First appeared in:||"The Nurses" (Season 5)|
|Last appeared in:||N/A, one time appearance|
|Appeared on/or in:||M*A*S*H|
|Played by:||Patricia Sturges|
About Nurse PrestonEdit
In "The Nurses", Lieutenant Preston shares a tent with three other nurses, Gaynor, Baker and Walsh. Among the four, Preston is the provocateur and the outspoken one. She speaks her mind even to the point of insubordination and this sometimes lands the four in trouble.
In the early part of the episode, Preston is in the O.R. assisting Frank. It is a hot day and in the ongoing O.R. banter, Hawkeye mentions that he just had a hot flash. Frank asks Potter if he is going to let Hawkeye discuss female diseases with ladies present. Preston chimes in to tell Frank that it's a symptom, not a disease, to which Potter agrees. But Margaret is not amused and tells her not to contradict Frank. Later Frank asks for a hemostat but rejects it when he is handed one--"Not that, you ninny, the other one!" "But you asked for a hemostat!" she protests.
Frank has had enough of Preston. He tells Margaret that "this woman is impossible." He demands "a nurse." But Preston has also had enough of Frank and angrily begins to rebuke him, calling him "mister". This upsets Frank and things are about to blow when Margaret puts a stop to the argument. She punishes Preston by putting her in charge of cleaning up the O.R. after the session.
Much later, Preston is relaxing in her tent with her friends. Baker is trying to make some bad fudge. Margaret catches them at it and doesn't approve because it's against regulations. She also reprimands Gaynor for being drunk and Walsh for treating her hair with peroxide, reminding her that it is an offence to steal from supplies. Preston is getting annoyed with the nit-picking and asks Margaret: "Is that one natural blonde to another?" Baker also joins in the jibe about Margaret's hair and this leads Margaret and Baker to almost come to blows--Margaret stomps off after putting Baker on report and later confining Baker to her tent.
This is bad news because Baker's husband, an army lieutenant, turns up with a 24 hour pass and wants to see her, not having had a honeymoon with her after their marriage. So Hawkeye, B.J. and the nurses scheme to have Baker spend the night with her husband. Hawkeye and B.J. fake an infectious patient and declare Margaret's tent a quarantine area so that the two can use it as a honeymoon suite. On her part, Preston lends Baker some perfume--something so good that her boyfriend chewed the label off when she first used it.
But things unravel when Margaret, who is now forced to bunk in the nurses tent, catches Baker coming back from her tryst and wants to throw the book at her.
Wounded arrive and they prepare for surgery but Preston, together with the others, wants to intercede with Margaret on Baker's behalf. "What did she do that was so wrong?" Preston asks. This leads to a bitter exchange between the two sides--the nurses complaining that Margaret should have shown some compassion and Margaret complaining that they shouldn't have treated her "like the enemy" and isolated her to the point of never even offering her "a lousy cup of coffee".
In the scrub room Margaret shows that the brief but intense moment of honesty between her and her nurses had made a difference. When Potter comes in and demands to know about the shenanigans in the quarantine tent the previous night, Margaret shields her subordinates by saying that it is a private matter between her and her nurses--a position which Potter is content to go along with. Listening to all this in the background, Preston, Walsh and Baker are relieved and impressed.
Later that day, the nurses are making fudge in their tent again. Margaret comes in and discovers the cooking and again reminds them that it is against regulations. Things could turn bad but the quick-talking Preston breaks the ice: "Yes Major. Have some?" Margaret gamely tries it but laughs that it's really bad. So Preston adds: "Have a lousy cup of coffee?" Margaret gratefully accepts.