Over the years, plenty of doctors and nurses have come and gone at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Some are more forgettable than others, but if you go back to the earlier years of truly vintage Grey’s, you might remember Nurse Olivia, who briefly dated George after sleeping with Alex. But now that she’s about to make an appearance on the show after being gone for several seasons, fans are probably wondering what happened to Nurse Olivia on Grey’s Anatomy. Her return to the show in its 14th season has fans curious, especially since she was one of the more memorable recurring characters in the first few years of the show and popped up again in Season 6 for the last time. I guess by then, the character's story had run its course, but she definitely left her mark while she interacted with the majority of the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy.
Unfortunately, one of her most memorable moments was being the nurse who spread syphilis to George after contracting it from Alex through sex, earning her the awful nickname of "Syph Nurse." She also later slept with Alex during one of the many times he was dating Izzie and was part of the big nurse’s strike of Season 2, back when nurses were a much bigger part of the show than they are now. She left the series completely in Season 6, but since then, there are plenty of things the character could have been up to before her return to Grey’s Anatomy.
In Season 6 Episode 3, "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me," the hospital was ready to merge with Mercy West, which meant that there would be potential layoffs. As all of the doctors stressed over losing their positions, it was Olivia who ended up being one of the nurses to get fired. In the end, Derek offered her a recommendation which is probably as good as gold in the world of Grey’s Anatomy, and that was the last we saw of her.
The synopsis for Thursday’s episode states that "Nurse Olivia shows up at Grey Sloan with her son, throwing Alex and Jo for a loop," which means that a lot has probably happened for the nurse in the nearly 10 years since she worked at the hospital. And while some might think this means her son is also Alex’s, unbeknownst to him, I honestly don't think the writers will go that route. However, it still makes you wonder what Olivia has been up to on Grey’s Anatomy since leaving the hospital so many years ago.
Since she’s obviously still local, I would imagine that Olivia’s working as a nurse at another hospital in town or nearby. During her time at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital (then Seattle Grace), Olivia was part of several different key procedures, including the aftermath of Izzie and Co. cutting Denny’s LVAD wires. Given her experience and that Derek Shepherd recommendation, she could have gone on to work at the nearby Seattle Presbyterian Hospital — a place that was mentioned and even shown a few times in the series. At one point, Catherine Avery mentioned working on a case there and it’s also the hospital where Alex was treated after the Season 6 shooting. More recently, it’s the hospital that Miranda admitted herself to when she was having a heart attack, so it's entirely possible that this is where Olivia went on to work. Then again, she might have given up nursing altogether and devoted her time to being a stay-at-home mom.
The best case scenario is that Olivia is back to find someone to treat her son and preferred to see Alex, as he’s a known pediatrician now. The worst case scenario, however, is that her son is indeed Alex’s and this is going to shake up the finally perfect relationship he has with Jo right now. But it’s never not the time for some authentic Grey’s nostalgia, so I’m sure I'm not the only fan who can't wait to see Olivia back on the show this week.
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