M*A*S*H episode
“Nurse Doctor”
Nurse doctor
Father Mulcahy helps Lt. Gail Harris with her medical studies.
Season 8, Episode # 7
Number (#180) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Alexandra Stoddardt
Jeff Maxwell
Kellye Nakahara
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: S-608
Writer(s) Thad Mumford & Dan Wilcox
Director Charles S. Dubin
Original airdate October 29, 1979
IMDb logo IMDB Nurse Doctor
Episode chronology
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"Period of Adjustment" (S‑604) "Private Finance" (S‑605)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"The Yalu Brick Road" (S‑607) "Life Time" (S‑609)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 8 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Nurse Doctor is the seventh episode of Season 8 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 180th overall series episode. Directed by Charles S. Dubin, the episode was written by Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox, and it originally aired on network TV on October 29, 1979.


During a serious water shortage, Father Mulcahy helps a talented young nurse study for her entrance into medical school, although the nurse is more affectionate than the celibate Mulcahy would like. Major Winchester uses bottled water sent to him by his family to stay clean and refreshed.

Full episode summaryEdit

Father Mulcahy is busy helping a new nurse, Lt. Gail Harris (Alexandra Stoddart) study to take her medical exams in preparation to become a doctor.

When North Korean soldiers disrupt the supply lines yet again, the 4077th must begin water conservation- meaning the personnel must skip showers and the cook can only prepare food with canned milk. The restrictions leave everyone miserable, except Charles for some reason...

During a session in O.R., we see that Nurse Harris' questions about how and why the doctors do things the way they do them has alienated her from the rest of the staff. When she angers Winchester, it drives Margaret to talk to her afterwards, where she tells Harris that, while she's a superb nurse, her people skills leave something to be desired.

Feeling frustrated, she vents later to Father Mulcahy, who bonds with her when he says its probably because, being something between a nurse and a doctor, people don't know how to treat her--something he can relate to.

In an unguarded moment, Harris hugs Father Mulcahy to say thanks, but the hug goes on so long it becomes awkward. After its over, she's embarrassed, and Father Mulcahy admits that maybe she needs more from him than the can give. When he casually suggests maybe she should study with one of the doctors, she breaks down in tears and runs out.

Mulcahy turns to Hawkeye for advice, and he's worried that he's hurt her feelings, so much so she may just give up on going to medical school. After finding the whole situation very funny, Hawkeye agrees to talk to her.

During a session in O.R., Hawkeye is assisted by Harris, and he tries hard to boost her confidence and offer help with her studying. Afterwards, she grows suspicious over Hawkeye's sudden interest, and then assumes that Father Mulcahy has told the whole camp about what happened.

Later, in Col. Potter's office, he calls in Hawkeye, Margaret, and Father Mulcahy to talk about Harris, who came in to ask for an immediate transfer, and giving Potter a not-quite-accurate version of the story. Potter, busy with the water shortage crisis, doesn't have time for this, so he asks the three of them to straighten it out amongst themselves.

Margaret confronts Harris, and cuts through Harris' self-pity party, assuming everyone at the 4077th hates her, and that's why she's giving up on being a doctor. Margaret tells her that she and Hawkeye will help Harris prepare for the medical exam--with her skills, she could really be a doctor. And, as long as Margaret has anything to say about it, "I'm not going to let you back out of it." Harris is relieved.

Meanwhile, BJ and Hawkeye follow Charles one night and discover he has been keeping clean with bottled soda water, sent by his parents. In revenge, the captains steal Charles' last bottle & strand him in the showers with no robe.

A couple of days later, Harris talks to Father Mulcahy, and apologizes for the whole thing. Mulcahy is, of course, sweet and forgiving, and congratulates her for resuming her studies.

Finally, the supply route is restored and the 4077th water tanks are returned to normal service. Klinger attempts to set up an orderly schedule for resuming showers- and is immediately trampled by the rest of the camp, all eager to feel clean again.

Guest starringEdit