A painless, predictable stay at a big-city hospital, from the author of The Interns and The Pilots. Boston's Back Bay Metropolitan Hospital, located in the poorest part of the city, is understaffed, undersupplied and chronically underfinanced. What it is has going for it is the indomitable spirit and dedication of its nursing staff, one of the best in the country. Back Bay, though, suddenly faces a new crisis--a strike by its interns and residents. We see several nurses working nearly around the clock, trying to hold the fort: Audrey, head of the third floor, who must consistently go outside orders to keep her patients alive; Viola, children's floor, who must cope with the death of a girl she could not save; Trina, the preternaturally calm Emergency Room Psych Nurse; Tim, Audrey's lover, who's facing a painful custody battle with his ex-wife. We follow them around the floors (authentic, interesting) and in their personal lives (clichâ€šd, tedious). The nurses' union debates joining the strike, but as one of their number says, ""The interns and residents go, but we stay on. . . Taking care of the people."" Events reach a boiling point when a hostage situation occurs involving Trina and a deranged young woman, and when Nan, a nurse, is raped by three men, one of them a Senior Resident at Back Bay. The doctors' strike collapses, but when the nurses then threaten (o walk out themselves, the city comes through with some much needed reforms. Loaded with medical detail and jargon (""Check his hep lock drip""), this paean to the nursing profession keeps loose hold on our interest with its cast of thousands and its occasional effective crisis-intervention scenes. Modest entertainment that works best when it concentrates on the job.