The media, and Hollywood in particular, represent one avenue in which the general public becomes familiar with the role of nurses. How does the media positively or negatively influence the public’s image of nursing? What other avenues may better educate the general public on the role and scope of nursing as well as the changing health care system It is interesting how the media has portrayed nurses for years. Years ago the image was of a blonde, skinny female in a sexy white outfit that waits on her male only patient hand and foot. She is there to give him a sponge bath and feed him even thou it is only his leg that is broken but hands work just fine. Now that image has changed because of shows like Nurse Jackie. This HBO show is about a nurse who struggles to juggle her hectic life as a nurse at a New York City hospital. It’s based on her everyday tussles with physician other nurses and her drug addiction. Even though the show has questionable ethical circumstances it undoubtedly shows her compassionate caring nature. “Jackie is smart, caring, respected by her peers and a vigilant advocate for her patients” (Sorrell 2009).
However, due to Nurse Jackie’s questionable ethical practices many nursing organizations feel that this portrayal hurts the image of nurses and hinders them from recruitment, retention, and allocation (Nemeth 2011). In which many organization have fought to refocus the community and general public’s attention on what good nursing incorporates. An organization of nurses, named The Truth about Nursing, has given awards to shows for best and worst portrayal of nursing in order to steer Hollywood to more appropriately depict nurses. Unfortunately, chaos in the media sells and I don’t believe that will change. However I am glad to see that, even thou the negative aspect of nursing as a profession are portrayed, nurses are being viewed now as compassionate, caring, smart individuals who are strong patient advocates rather than the sexy blonde who was at a patient’s bedside waiting on the hand and foot.
Nemeth, L. (2011). Nurse Jackie and Nurse Ethics: How TV and the Media Influence our Public Image. Beginnings, 31(2), 8-10 Sorrell, J. (2009). Ethics: the value of nursing ethics. What about Nurse Jackie?. Online Journal Of Issues In Nursing, 14(3),