November 08, 2018 at 08:30 AM EST

It’s usually all about the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy, but tonight the nurses take center stage.

Thursday’s nurse-centric episode has actually been a long time in the making, and Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff says it all started with introducing a new nurse character a couple of weeks ago.

“That’s Stacey Oristano playing a nurse named Nurse Frankie,” Vernoff tells EW. “You’ve seen her being irritated by Alex Karev at the scrub board and piping in through that window [on last Thursday’s episode when Alex and Jo were kissing in Alex’s office], and she is the focal point of this coming episode, which I directed.”

ABC/Mitch Haaseth

Vernoff says the writing staff introduced Oristano’s character in those small ways to make her participation in this week’s episode more organic.

“We knew that we had this episode that would focus on the nurses in the hospital, and we wanted to not just suddenly meet that focal nurse in that episode,” she explains. “So we were far enough ahead in the writing that we were able to find the actress and then pepper her into the season.”

The nurse-centric episode of Grey’s Anatomy airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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