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This is part of a monthly series about side gigs—nurses with interesting side jobs or hobbies. This month, we spotlight an actress/director/scream queen.

As a nurse for more than 20 years, Sheri Davis, RN, has worked in a variety of settings: hospitals, the medical device industry, and as an aesthetics nurse with Kalologie MedSpa primarily at the Thousand Oaks location in California, where she works now as a master injector and trainer.

But on the side? She’s a scream queen.

(If you don’t know what a scream queen is, it’s an actress who has performed in a lot of horror movies.)

“To date, I’ve been in around 70 films,” says Davis. While they’re not only horror—she’s appeared in and worked on dramas, thrillers, sci-fi, family films, and comedies—she’s worked on horror films the most. And Davis has won a lot of awards for her work.

“The first film that I directed, ‘Hair of the Dog,’ is actually a film about alcoholism and domestic violence. That film has won numerous awards and continues to do so in the film festival circuit,” explains Davis. “We have won in pretty much all categories including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Thriller, Best in Fest, Audience Choice Award, etc.”

Davis got started in acting when her oldest daughter was working as a child actress and model. Often, Davis was on the set, in acting classes, or at auditions with her. Although she describes herself at the time as self-conscious and shy, Davis learned so much from being on the set, and she loved it. So she decided to give it a shot.

As a single mom of two daughters—one of whom is away at college and the other who has autism and lives with Davis—she says that the most difficult part of her side gig is finding the time. “It is pretty difficult to juggle everything in my life,” says Davis. “I have to stay extremely organized with my time and be disciplined. I have had to learn to really balance everything.”

In her typical work week, Davis says that she works three days at her nursing job and then spends the other days working in entertainment. Sometimes, that will flip-flop, and she’ll work four or five days in nursing and a couple on films. “Every break and every morning and night before and after work, I am answering emails, social media messages, and text messages. I’m submitting to projects via casting networks, doing auditions, etc.,” she says. She also has an agent, manager, and publicist.

Scream queen Sheri Davis on set

Something that really ties her nursing job with her side gig is working with special effects. Davis often works with makeup artists on set “to help make sure the special effects makeup looks real. I have seen a lot of really horrible and sad things working in hospitals, especially the emergency room. However, that is a beneficial quality to have on a horror film set,” Davis says. She’s also been able to help set up scenes with different medical devices, such as IV’s, catheters, and various medical equipment—and make sure it’s done properly. Davis assists with making sure that if they call a “code blue,” it happens as it would in real life. She says that making these scenes appear real for the screen are crucial as is making sure that the dialogue is realistic. Davis has even served at the set medic/nurse at times as well.

“There is nothing worse for me than to be watching a medical show and see things are so unrealistic—it makes me crazy!” Davis admits.

Why does she love acting? Davis says that it allows her to become characters that are completely different from who she really is. “Acting allows me to experience an entirely different world. As an actor, I can become anything or anyone, and the roles that I have played have mostly been entirely different from my real life,” she says. “However, being a nurse as well has opened many doors for me in the entertainment world. I have played a nurse, doctor, and been a medical advisor on sets often.”

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