Psychology Of Real-Life Killer Christina Hansen In ‘The Nurse,’ Explained: Why Did She Kill The Patients?


While Netflix’s miniseries “The Nurse” mostly deals with the protagonist, Pernille’s efforts at proving her colleague Christina Aistrup Hansen guilty of the murder of patients, one crucial matter seems to remain undiscussed: the reason behind Christina’s horrific crimes. Although the series does not directly make much mention of this, other than a few instances of Pernille talking about her thoughts on the matter, there are moments about Christina Hansen that do seem to add up and make her look like a shady and even troubled character.

The very first attribute that is shown with regard to Christina when she is introduced happens to be a very positive one. Christina is exceptionally skilled as a nurse, always seeming to know what to do and how to react in times of emergency. She is not only very adept at the various procedures and techniques used to help patients, but the woman’s exceptionally detailed reporting of the patients and their ailments helps doctors as well. Christina is much loved and appreciated by the nurses and the doctors due to her professional adequacy, and she is also on very good terms with the hospital management as well. Along with her skills and popularity, another reason why the hospital management likes Christina so much might be that the woman always readily agrees to night shifts and is, in fact, seen working only during the night when most other nurses prefer not to work. All these attributes and characteristics start to turn from good to sinister once it is taken into account that Christina is actually a cold-blooded killer.

The reason she always knows how to react and perform procedures is that she is the one who creates the emergency situations in the first place. It is Christina who causes the patients to overdose, and therefore she obviously knows how to react, as she does not really have to spend much time diagnosing the problem like others. Her ability to remember so much about the patients and their ailments is also possible because they are like targets for her. The fact that Christina takes home hospital documents and patient files makes it clear that she studies some of the patients more than others. In this sense, she truly seems like an obsessive murderer who is constantly on the lookout for new victims. It is, therefore, not much wonder that she is able to remember all the information about the patients so easily and help doctors in emergency treatment. Similarly, the reason why Christina so readily agrees to night shifts is that she wants the hospital to have very few staff and nurses when she is on the prowl. It is only at night that she can so easily administer lethal doses of medicine into the IV channels of patients, and so it is only the night shift that she prefers.

In fact, Christina’s murders are heavily linked to the very performative nature of her reactions in the emergency room. In essence, Christina extremely enjoys the attention and praise that she receives every time for her actions during emergency situations. It is in order to keep getting such acclaim and almost glorification that she keeps intentionally creating such scenarios. Pernille guesses that Christina does not actually want to kill any of her victims, but she just wants to create a situation of emergency by overdosing them, and then she wants to perform her whole perfect routine while reacting to this emergency and therefore get all the attention of her coworkers. This can be looked at as the main explanation behind Christina’s actions, as it is possible that the patients died because they had accidentally gone beyond the point of any help by the time the responders came. In cases of medical emergencies, the treatment that one receives sometimes cannot be enough, as more crucial factors like the patient’s overall health condition or medical history come into play. While Christina wanted to save them all and be all the more heroic in the eyes of her coworkers, she did not take into account the numerous mishaps that could take place and kill the patients.

Among the multiple mental health conditions that Christina seems to have, she possibly suffers from a peculiar case of a savior complex. While most people with such conditions put their own health at risk in order to help others, Christina puts the lives of the very victims she wants to help at risk. She doesn’t mind or factor in the immense fatal risk she puts her patients into, only to achieve her desire of helping them out of physical pain and misery. Added to this is her intense desire to be noticed and admired by the people around her, and she, therefore, does not mind making her patients into mere test subjects who might very well lose their lives in the process of glorifying her greatness and skills. Another aspect of her savior complex is revealed in the scene where she and her daughter meet with her ex-partner. This scene follows an unseen incident in which Christina took her daughter to the hospital to get her checked, as she felt that the daughter was uneasy with her health. When she tells her ex about this, the man claims that Christina always believes that their daughter is sick, but every time he talks about it to the doctor who checks the little girl, he is assured that there is nothing wrong with her. It is, therefore, Christina’s own desire to make her daughter look sick and then be the one to help her out of her misery.

In this case, too, her yearning to be appreciated and praised comes to light. Christina tells her ex that he should be pleased that she is a renowned nurse who can get their daughter checked up at the hospital any time without having to go through long waiting times. It is very clear from her statement that she wants to be a glorious figure and a perfect mother in the eyes of her ex, and she does not truly care about the effect such frequent trips to the hospital’s emergency room might have on the young mind of her daughter. Much like her attempts at the hospital, which fail every time a patient dies due to her heinous act, her attempt to look good in front of her ex also falters, as the man says that he wishes he had not had a child with her.

While Pernille does not really think of or mention the possibility that Christina might just enjoy the entire process of killing her patients, that can be slightly considered a reason for her murders as well. It could be that after going through the process of putting down helpless men and women several times, the devilish nurse might have developed a knack for it. After all, most of Christina’s twisted desires are linked to the emergency ward, and she does draw satisfaction from her time there. This is again evident from the strange incident, which serves as one of the very first oddities that Pernille notices in her colleague. When an elderly man suffers a cardiac emergency, and the two nurses rush in to stabilize the situation, Christina’s method of doing so is to climb onto the body, seat herself on the groin area of the patient, and constantly thrust on his chest with the compressors. Pernille’s first thought, that Christina is surely fracturing a few of the man’s rib bones, is not too problematic, as making a patient’s heart start to beat again is considered more necessary than fractures in medical practice. However, the exact manner in which Christina performed the compression very visibly looked as if she were having sex with the patient. The satisfaction that the nurse expressed right after the incident, as the patient could be saved, also somewhat looked like sexual gratification to a confused Pernille.

There is no doubt that Christina satisfied her desires around the hospital and the emergency ward, at least the mental and psychological ones. By the end, it was probably clear that she simply did not care whether her patients survived or perished in moments of emergency. The nurse was addicted to the maddening frenzy of the emergency ward and the severely high tension that was involved in treating a patient in critical condition. But such anxious and crucial moments could be felt only when the fate of a human was on the line, only when there was the risk of an individual losing their life.

Ultimately, Christina seemed to be more addicted to this specific moment and tension than anything else. She perhaps did not actually enjoy the thought of killing anyone, and the woman did not really kill any of her patients directly. It was not like Christina would ever turn off vital life support or instruments. She would always inject drugs into the patients’ bodies, which would then lead to a moment of emergency, and then sometimes the situation would go out of control, and the patient would die. While Christina wanted the situation to end in a positive manner, in which she would save the day and be praised by everyone for it, she also did not ultimately mind if her victims lost their lives. The fact that the woman continues to deny all of the charges to this very day makes it evident that she does not feel any guilt or remorse for her actions. Either way, Christina Aistrup Hansen is undoubtedly a cold-blooded killer who played with the lives of countless helpless patients only to gain popularity and applause from everyone around her.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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