Having had a couple weeks now to watch Nurse Jackie and Hawthorne, I can comment now.
I really like Nurse Jackie. Is it realistic? Maybe not so much, although it takes some very real issues and just amps them up for TV (substance abuse, etc). I don't think people will get the wrong ideas about nursing, based on watching this show, any more than they would about doctors, after watching ER, etc. I know a lot of nurses are p*ssed off about this show but at the end of the day - it's just entertainment. I think it shows the compassion that nurses have for their patients. I think it shows the difference between doctors and nurses. I think it shows that we are intelligent team members and not just 'handmaidens'.
Hawthorne - seems a little boring. I am not sure I will even continue to watch this one much longer. This show seems to make an attempt at being more realistic than Nurse Jackie (meaning not so off-the-wall). However, the portrayal of the CNO is a joke - I haven't ever seen a CNO like that. Have you? The CNO's I have known (granted, not that many) are so far removed from the staff that at times one didn't know who the CNO was, nor would one recognize her if they saw her!
I see Nurse Jackie being around for a few seasons...not so much with Hawthorne.