Squirming over blood and needles in hospital drama The Night Shift

The make-up and effects are so real in The Night Shift that actress Jill Flint finds them hard to deal with

Complicated medical terms may trip up some actors in a hospital drama, but asking paramedics to "get me four units of A-neg, stat!", for example, is not a problem for American actress Jill Flint. Instead, it is the regular dialogue that gives her trouble.

The 37-year-old, who plays an emergency room doctor in medical TV series The Night Shift, tells Life! over the telephone that "the jargon's actually easier for me to remember than the actual conversation".

"I can blurt out really long medical jargon, but then I'd be like, 'Oh, what's my next line again?'" she says.

"Maybe I spend more time on the medical stuff because I'm so concerned that I won't get it right that I forget about the rest," she adds with a laugh.

The show, which is now into its second season, is set at San Antonio Medical Center in Texas. Flint plays Dr Jordan Alexander, who is the chief of the team of doctors and an upright, tough cookie character.

Besides handling late-night emergencies, she has to tackle hospital politics, as well as romantic trouble with her new teammate and resident bad boy Dr TC Callahan (played by Eoin Macken), who happens to be her ex-boyfriend.

Although the show is mostly shot in a studio during the day, there are occasions when the cast and crew must film outdoors throughout the night - not that this is an issue for Flint.

"I've always been a night person. Before becoming an actor, I used to be a bartender and wouldn't get home until 5am. So I've always been a creature of the night," she says with a chuckle.

If anything is challenging about her role, it is having to deal with all the blood and needles.

"And in this role, I'm faced with all of that all the time, especially when our incredible make-up and effects person makes everything so real. They have puppeteers who make the lungs breathe and hearts beat and it just makes me squirm."

As the season moved along, however, she says she has gotten "slightly better" at handling her squeamishness.

"Things can get really gory, but the science behind it all is just fascinating. I'm really interested in that and I read up on the research that goes behind the science, so I think I've gotten better at dealing with this.

"But there's no way I would ever become a medical professional. Jordan passionately goes for blood and needles, while I run swiftly away."

Still, she readily re-lives it all by watching the episodes when they air. For almost every episode so far, she has live-tweeted through them via her Twitter account @JillMFlint.

"I enjoy that a lot. You get instantaneous feedback on what the audience is responding to and not responding to.

"And I've found that fans who choose to live-tweet watch the episode again the next day. They'll tweet me again and say, 'Oh I missed that moment - that was so great'. I love that fans just want to share their favourite moments from the show with you."

Even better is when they send her other types of personal messages.

"I've had young women writing to me to say that because of the show, they're inspired to go to medical school. That's just fantastic. I couldn't ask for anything better."

yipwy@sph.com.sg

The Night Shift Season 2 premieres tonight at 8.50pm on Sony Channel (Singtel TV Channel 316).