Impact Of Media In Portrayal Of Nurses

Read Complete Research Material

Impact of media in portrayal of Nurses

The Impact of Media portrayals of Nursing


Nurses are educated and highly skilled professionals who dedicate their lives in taking care of their patient, clients, and residents. They are the front line caregivers and educators; they are influential in improving patient/ resident/client outcomes using their knowledge. The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is committed to ensuring the image projected of nurses in media and advertisements is a positive one, reflecting the true value of their hard work, dedication and professionalism. Most nurses believe that the media's treatment of nurses falls short of an accurate and fair representation. Recently a few news channels and television programs have made an effort to bring in front of the society the accurate image and portrayal of nurses, though the stereotyped foremost images are still the dominating ones of nurses in people's minds. ER, Grey's Anatomy and House are only a few medical shows with a large scale audience around the world. None of these shows accurately portray nurses positively; in fact the images these shows portray are awfully downbeat which has contributed in so many nurses quitting their nursing jobs, nurses are portrayed as insignificant hospital employees. (ONA, 2008).


Canadian nursing dates back to the 1639 in Quebec, Canada with the Augustine nuns, they opened a mission that cared for the physical needs of patients. It was because of this mission that the nursing apprenticeship training in North America began. It was the catholic order of nursing that started spreading their messages across Canada. Nurses were strictly female. In 1874 the first formal training program was started at the General and Marine Hospital in St. Catharine's in Ontario (ONA, 2008).

Nurses weren't always depicted by the media negatively in the 1940's they were termed as angels of mercy who were selfless, committed to their nations and patients and willing to serve their country as best as possible. This image began to change in the 1960's when the British television medical drama Carry On commenced, nurses were portrayed as battleaxes, doctor's handmaids and the most damaging sex kittens and naughty nurses, these images sadly still persist even today.

There has been a recent trend of advertisers portraying nurses as sexy, young, blond, and clad in revealing uniforms. In 2005 Virgin mobile Canada showed nurses in revealing attire promoting the mobile phone in a series of commercials. Cadbury Schweppes Canada aired a commercial in 2007 for their Dentyne ice chewing gum that showed a sexy nurse in revealing clothes who was sexually available for the patients at the push of a call button. The same commercial showed an older nurse who was clearly unappealing to her patients (ONA, 2008).

The recent television medical dramas do little to portray nurses' accurately. Mostly these shows place no focus on nurses signifying them as unimportant and useless. These dramas's show the doctors performing tasks that in reality the nurse performs. They are only depicted as someone who helps the patient reach a doctor, which gives the indication that only ...
Related Ads