For every profession there are those that pick their way into changing the image of that specific profession. Of these many professions, nursing is a major profession that has been given a falsified image within the media. Over many years people have overlooked at how important nursing really is within the health care delivery system. Out of the numerous professions within the health care delivery system, the profession with the most patient contact are nurses. Media has been making outrageous claims against nurses for years. Of these false images, many can be seen throughout various television shows, films, press and even within books. Not only is media creating a false image of the profession it can be seen on every October 31st. Along with media, Halloween is deceiving the real beauty of the profession of nursing. The media has created various types of portraits on nursing which is negatively impacting the importance of this health care profession.
Media’s portraits of nursing are creating an unrealistic image of the profession that is making it seem unattractive to the public. The importance of nursing within the health care system is being overlooked and is basically saying that nursing doesn’t matter. A popular image that the profession of nursing has been given for many years is that they are physicians’ servants. To speak about the topic a nurse herself, Bree LeMarie, MS, RN discusses her thoughts on the profession before she decided to enter the profession. She recalls, “At 16, the media already had me believing nursing was all about serving physicians and being a scut-work saint.” (LeMarie, 2004). LeMarie changed her mind a few years later after she discovered nurses really have independence and autonomy. Among speaking out about this issue with these images of nurses is, Barbara LeTourneau MD., MBA, CHE, CPE, vice president, Medical Affairs, Regions Hospital of St. Paul, Minnesota. LeTourneau states her opinion with, “Those were the days when, if a physician arrived on the unit to make patient rounds, a nurse brought the physician a cup of coffee and maybe a donut.” (pg. 12). LeTourneau is referring to the time when health care was still fairly new and there wasn’t as many strict rules, which was clearly before the 80’s. During these days physicians were more involved with patient care and actually made rounds on the unit. Barbara later brings up the point that these were the days when health caregivers were allowed to smoke on the ward. She also comments on the fact that, this was during the times nurses weren’t as knowledgeable and didn’t have the skills to work independently as they do now. Today that is not the case and media should not be continuing this image for the public. In fact these were the conditions of health care years ago but now some hospitals won’t even allow anyone to smoke within their premises. This is one of the many changes that have occurred with hospitals. Another change is that, nurses today are much more knowledgeable and can make many decisions regarding the patient’s plan of care with consult from the physician. Physicians are rarely seen within a hospital unit and when they are it’s for very short periods of time. Real life nurses are the health professionals that have the most patient contact. They have become very liable for their patients’ lives these days. Even though this image was created many years ago, people today still believe that’s the truth about nursing. Along with having the public believe those false images of nurses that media has created are the falsified images various medical television shows create. A few examples of these shows that belittle and misrepresent nurses and other health professions include: ER, Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy and House. Within LeMarie’s article, Sandy Summers, on media portrayal of nurses, she discusses where the most harm is being done. She states that, “Television’s ER has got to be nursing’s public enemy No. 1. They...
References: Hall, L., Angus, J., Peter, E., O’Brien-Pallas, L., Wynn, F., & Donner, G. (2003). Media Portrayal of Nurses’ Perspectives and Concerns in the SARS Crisis in Toronto. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 35(3), 211-216. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
LeTourneau, B. (2004). Physicians and Nurses: Friends or Foes?. (pp. 12-15). American
College of Healthcare Executives. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.
LeMarie, B. (2004, September 20). Sandy Summers, on media portrayals of nurses. NurseWeek,
Retrieved from http://www.nurseweek.com/5min/SandySummers.asp
Summers, S. (2008, March 28). Wear skirts, caps and aprons…or lose 30 Euros. Retrieved from
Summers, S. (2008, April 1). Wear the miniskirts and just save some lives. Retrieved from
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