Armed with raw guts and wit, Carol Kenney turns a new leaf and starts an exciting new phase of her life, pursuing a career in medicine and becoming an intern in her 50s.
These are just a few of the reasons why we love this character.
She has courage
Kenney has gone through a messy divorce, her children have grown up, and she's retired from teaching. But that is not the end for her. She switches up her career becomes an intern at Loyola Memorial Hospital.
This shows she has the grit to open new doors and start afresh, albeit as an older intern, instead of lamenting about how her life has turned out.
"It's important to keep the creative juices flowing and not get complacent," says Patricia Heaton, who plays Kenney, in an interview with Watch!, the official CBS magazine.
She has a sense of humour second to none
Working in a hospital isn't easy, yet Kenney approaches it with much-needed humour to take the edge off.
This shows that she knows how to differentiate between life and death situations but is still able to appreciate and find moments of joy.
"Carol's funny," Heaton says. "She's raised children. She's taught high school. So now that she's older and working with these younger interns, she's not rude or disrespectful, but she doesn't stand on ceremony anymore. And I like that. The beauty of getting older is that you don't have to play games, and you don't have to wear a bra."
She is wise
Kenney has a wealth of experience on her side and she uses her knowledge from having been a teacher to deal with her colleagues, fellow interns, and patients.
This shows that she holds a good understanding of human nature.
"It used to be that as women got older, they became more invisible," says Heaton. "But this is a great time to be a woman. I have a lot of experience, and hopefully wisdom, that I can offer others. And so does Carol. She might not be as tech-savvy as her junior interns, but she has experience that comes in handy, especially when you're dealing with life-and-death situations in a hospital. We need people around us in society who have experienced a lot in life, who understand the brevity of it, who can tell younger people, 'Don't worry so much about the things you're worrying about.'"
She doesn't shy away from work
Carol is open to lend a helping hand and get the job done, no matter how gritty (like collecting stool samples) or mundane (like paperwork).
This shows that she is dedicated and diligent no matter the task.
"Start looking at the things you're not that good at, and challenge yourself there," Heaton advises anyone who is starting something new. "Like I said, I'm not very good at golf. I did this tournament, and everybody else was killing it. My goal was just to be able to hit the ball straight. Everybody was hitting 250 yards and I was hitting 75 yards, but I didn't flip out because I was hitting it straight. Results don't come right away. I've learned over the course of life to be patient."