Is Nurse Ratched real? This is how much the Netflix series is based on a true story

The psychological thriller sees Sarah Paulson play her

Netflix has just released Ratched, a creepy psychological series about Nurse Mildred Ratched. The controlling nurse is head of a mental institution where she subtly controls all of the patients. But how much of this is based on a true story? Is there a real life Nurse Ratched?

The Netflix series focuses on the journey of Mildred – and how she went from a normal, well-intentioned nurse to a controlling, creepy and sadistic villain. The synopsis for the series reads: “A young nurse at a mental institution becomes jaded and bitter before turning into a full-fledged monster to her patients.”

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via Netflix

Ok, so is Nurse Ratched based on a real life person?

Ratched is focused around the 1962 novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey. The series acts as a prequel to the film based on the book. This story follows Randle P. McMurphy, a patient who has been transferred from prison to a mental hospital to carry out the rest of his sentence. He is trying to escape the ward, where Nurse Mildred Ratched is in charge. Nurse Ratched is the main character in the film, and shows her control over the patients – taking away their privileges if they don’t “behave”, before this escalating into her conducting her own experiments on the patients.

Nurse Ratched is primarily a fictional character, but the author of the original book has said she was inspired by someone he once met – so there is some truth in the story. Before he died, Ken Kesey said Nurse Ratched was based on the head nurse in a psychiatric ward where he worked before he wrote the novel.

Whether or not the extent of what Nurse Ratched does and the person Kesey knew match is unknown, but her controlling personality is most likely what inspired the character. Ryan Murphy, who created Ratched on Netflix, is known for taking inspiration from real people in his shows, so has probably tried to mirror the real life person as accurately as possible for the series. But fear not, there is no actual Mildred Ratched working in an asylum somewhere.

Ratched is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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