The Effects of Media in Nursing Evolution

Topics: Nursing, Nurse, Health care Pages: 5 (1207 words) Published: October 20, 2008

The Effect of Media in the Nursing Evolution

The Effect of Media in Nursing Evolution
The media has played a huge role in the evolution of nursing. Its influence has been both positive and negative. I have chosen to research this subject because of the negative results and feedback that I will provide throughout this paper. This negative influence is directly affecting the number of people that are deciding to pursue nursing as a career. In a study of students in grades 1 through 10, most of them describe nursing as a technical job with no career advancement. The students stated, “it was a girl's job”, and were unsure of the job security as a result of an unsteady financial market in health care (Sherman, 2000. p.4). Nursing Influence

In World War II (WWII) the media portrayed nursing as one of the most respected and moral professions women could hold. These nurses were seen as angels tending to the wounded with kindness, compassion, and caring attitudes. The portrayal of heroines of society continued through World War II (WWII), as is demonstrated in the movie The Notebook in which Rachel McAdam portrays a woman who drops out of college during WWI to help wounded soldiers (Cassavetes & Sparks, 2004).

The media is a very powerful voice that reaches out to the entire world regarding the issues surrounding the nursing profession. Biased opinions are formulated while watching what the media has to show us. Most people are familiar with Nurse Ratchet in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as she glares at Jack Nicholson and warns him to take his pills orally or she will find another way to dispense it (Forman et al. 1976). Sitcoms currently on the air such as House, Scrubs, ER, and Private Practice are aired internationally. The picture they paint of nurses is poor. In House the nursing role is unrecognized and nonexistent, it focuses solely on the important role of the doctor. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Nurses comprise the largest single component of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation's long-term care” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing,2008). The prime time television show, Scrubs, portrays nurses as brainless physician helpmates. The physicians on this show expect nurses to follow orders without question. The nurses in turn accept these subservient roles without retaliation or question (Lawrence et al, 2008). In reality, though, “Nursing is an autonomous profession built around patient advocacy. Many times nurses are in fact questioning physician decisions and saving the lives of those they care for” (Georgia Nursing Association, 2004).

The rock band Blink 182's latest compact disc cover has a buxom blond with red lips and matching Wonderbra in a nurse uniform. This erotically sexy image has plagued nurses in other media advertisements, such as Clairol Herbal Essence products and a commercial for milk in the 1980's which showed four sexy nurses drinking milk while stating “milk, it does a body good.” Women are the not the only ones portrayed negatively in the public view. Male nurses have been pigeon holed as being gay. In the movie Meet the Parents, staring Ben Stiller, he announces to his fiance's parents that he is a nurse and they immediately begin laughing and making remarks regarding his masculinity (Roach et al, 2000). These kinds of portrayals are demoralizing and demeaning to the nursing profession.

The media also focuses on the negativity surrounding deaths in the hospital environment. Bearns (2000) reports, The Chicago Tribune ran an article bearing the following headline: “Nursing Mistakes Kill, Injure Thousands Cost-Cutting Exacts Toll on Patients, Hospital Staffs. Series: Dangerous Care: Nurses' Hidden Role in Medical Error. First of Three Parts.” Following this headline read:

Lax government oversight...

References: American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2004). Fact sheet. Retrieved September 14, 2008
Bearns, M., (2000, September 10). Nursing mistakes kill, iInjure thousands cost-cutting exacts
toll on patients, hospitals staff series: Dangerous care: nurses ' hidden role in medical

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Cassavetes, N. (Director), & Sparks, N. (Writer). (2004). The notebook [Motion Picture].United
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Center for Nursing Advocacy, (2008) Mission statement Retrieved September 15, 2008, from
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Louis, MO: Saunders
Forman, M.(Director), Hauben, L.(Writer), & Goldman, B.(Writer). (1976) One flew over the

cuckoo 's nest [Motion Picture]. United States: Fantasy Films
Georgia Nursing Association (2004, February-April)
media portrayals of nursing for 2003. Retrieved on September 15, 2008, from
Lawrence, B.(Producer/Creator), (2008). Scrubs [Primetime Sitcom]. United States: NBC.
Roach, J.(Director), Glienna, G.(Writer), & Clark, M.(Writer), (2000) Meet the parents. United
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Sherman, G. (2000, August 28). Message posted to nurses for a healthier tomorrow
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