Project in Nursing
Media is a powerful tool. It is an instrument that has had enormous impact on the perception of everything in human life. It has molded the way that people view things around them with the help of mediums like movies, television and internet. Like most other things, nursing and the image of nurses has not been untouched or molded into a different perception for human beings due to media. Sandy Summers and Harry Jacobs Summers co-authored a book named “Saving Lives: Why the Media’s Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk,” in order to explore the false image of nursing that has been carved into the minds of people and persist in the media yet (Theresa, 2009). Nurses and nursing have been far too stereotyped, ranging from movies and television shows to crossword puzzles where the answer to the clue “White cap wearer” is still Nurse. The author Sandy Summers is especially dedicated to this discussion as she herself has served as an emergency department and intensive care nurse.
While portraying them as wearing a white cap is completely the work of movies and television as hardly ever on the floor can one find a nurse in a nurse cap; labeling them as I.C.U. helpers is another one of the portrayal by entertainment mediums. The word “helpers” being used for nurses is completely wrong because they are people who work at hospitals with the doctors and not for the doctors. In reality, most hospitals understand that nursing is an autonomous profession and the management keeps M.D.’s and R.N.’s independent of each other (Theresa, 2009). It is essential to keep the role of the nurses autonomous in order to save lives and ensure proper functioning at the hospital. Since one of the many functions of the nurses is to act as an independent check on physician care plans in order to look after patients and ensure good care for them, it is important that they function independently.
The main role of nurses that is to keep patients safe is hardly ever portrayed in the media though highest emphasis is laid upon this role in nursing schools. This does not mean that doctors most often make mistakes and nurses need to be around in order to keep the patients safe. It implies that in the ordered chaos that most modern hospitals are in everyday, nurses’ act as the crucial person who spend most of the time with the patients. They keep a watchful eye on them and the care that is provided to them. This particular obligation is highly felt by the nurses and they work hard to fulfill the same.
The book, “Saving Lives: Why the Media’s Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk,” clearly mentions the omnipresent negative portrayals of the nursing profession that have become so common in the media today. The stereotyped image of the nursing profession degrades the nurses and also puts the lives of the patients at risk. Portraying them as anything other than respectful college educated professional who work with life and death responsibilities is disparaging and discourteous.
Apart from the fact that media portrays them as mere helpers; many times they also portray doctors doing the job of nurses like giving medications and educating the patients about the treatment. This tends to diminish the way how people really view the job of a nurse in real life. It is important to understand that doctors might give orders and are accountable, but they cannot micromanage how the nurses manage those orders as they are an autonomous body of work with defined work responsibilities and job roles.
Another stereotype that the nursing profession faces is the role of men in this profession. Most of the times when it comes to men, they are portrayed as doctors but men are hardly ever viewed in proper light when they are shown as a nurse. Most of the men have to fight against the image of the gay male nurse in real life as that is what is most often demonstrated in media. In rare cases when their gender is not questioned, they are hardly thought to be useful (Lynda, 2013). They are mostly ignored and thought of to be functioning on the periphery. This negative demonstration of men in the profession deters talented male nurses from entering the profession or even considering the profession as a career as most men are plagued by this stereotype that is perpetuated by the media.
Many stereotypes against male nurses also exist off screen. They are most commonly regarded as lazy, less efficient than female nurses and more readily promoted. Since men are in a minority in this profession, they are put to disadvantage. It excludes them from clinical specialties and are supposed to be fit for heavy manual work (Rob, 2013).
The biggest hurdle in the way of clearing the air about the image of the nursing profession is that hardly anyone except the nurses themselves knows what they really do. Most of us have hardly ever been to a hospital to view what they do and how important their work is and this creates a problem because when we really do visit a hospital we expect them to behave in a certain way that we have been fed by media. People need to understand that popular television shows circling around hospitals and the glamorous lives of doctors and nurses are good entertainment but are hardly ever close to the reality of the lives of either doctors or nurses.
It is important that real life nurses take the lead in order to remove the stereotypes attached with their image and the profession. People also need to widen their spectrum and thinking and while communicating with nurses need to realize the difference between what they see on the screen and what differences are there during the real situations. Instead of regarding them as “saints” or “angels”, it is important to understand why their role in the hospital and in the healthcare industry is important and how they contribute in saving hundreds of lives. It is time that we areable to see past the assumptions that we have created about nursing based on the stereotypes that we have been viewing all our lives.
Brown, Theresa.(2009). Why Nurse Stereotypes Are Bad for Health. NewYork Times. Retrieved on 25th April,2016. Retrieved from:
Goodier,Rob.(2013). TV may reinforce stereotypes about men in nursing. Reuters. Retrieved on 25th April,2016. Retrieved from:
Lampert,Lynda.(2013). 4 Ways the media gets nursing dead wrong. Retrieved on 25th April,2016. Retrieved from: