The sad truth is that most television shows and media portray nurses in a subservient manner. The majority of medical-centered shows revolve around the actions of doctors. The invisibility of nurses sends the wrong message to viewers. Often times, nurses only serve as a backdrop for the setting the mood of a real hospital. This results in the public viewing nurses as unnecessary and lowly educated people who are constantly under the rule of physicians. If nurses are consistently put under this stereotype, the public will no longer see nurses as a necessary part of a viable, hospitable environment. Although some shows do show nurses as strong and independent people, the aforementioned strength only becomes visible when they are deliberately going against doctors or practicing unethical decisions. You rarely see nurses and doctors cooperating with each other on an equal level on television. Despite the myriad of other avenues, the general public is mostly influenced by the media. Until the media positively portrays nurses, the general public will continue to think of nursing as a superfluous profession. However, we, as nurses, shouldn’t leave our image tarnished by the media and Hollywood. As active members of our community, we should inform the public about nursing, make public communication and education about nursing an integral part of nursing, and communicate in ways that highlight the knowledge of nurses rather than their virtues (Buresh & Gordon, 2006). This can be successfully achieved through journals, fairs, and other types of media that are not influenced by Hollywood.
Buresh, B. & Gordon, S. (2006). From silence to voice: What nurses know and must communicate to the public (2nd ed). Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Nurses Association.
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