The nursing profession is one of many portrayed by the media. In its simplest form media is how information is shared and stored. Media covers a wide range of services, advertisements, brochures, pamphlets, TV shows, films, novels, and magazines, digital, electronic, it goes on and on. Media is more accessible these days; the internet and wireless technology makes it easy for many people to access information on a wide scale. As information is shared by the media the public creates an image. This image may be right or it can be wrong, it all depends on the media’s accuracy. Nurses have been depicted in many forms over the years. These depictions can influence the public’s opinion of the profession as well as the likelihood that the profession will be considered for future students. Nurses need to take a more active role in how the profession is portrayed by the media, they need to work together to portray the profession in its best light in order to recruit and retain nurses.
Description of historical image of nursing
Nurse; the word itself conjures up many images. Florence Nightingale is often the historical image that pops into minds; this image of the “lady with the lamp”. But before Florence, nurses were something different all together. Hospitals themselves were not the atmosphere of caring and healing that they have become today. Hospitals of historical times were workhouses. These were the only places for sick patients who could not afford costs of care and had no one else to care for them (McDonald, 2013); beds were shared; there were no skilled caregivers, and no medications (McDonald, 2013). The nurses who cared for patients in this workhouse setting were untrained, low-paid, disgraceful house keepers, and were known for demanding bribes from patients and stealing patient’s belongings (McDonald, 2013). Nursing was not a respectable profession. Florence ushered in a new age of nursing and hospital care. Her training of nurses brought about the image of the caring angel and were thought to be obedient and kind (Fletcher, 2007). Interestingly early nurses also needed to overcome public perception. During the Crimean war Nightingale’s nurses were initially only permitted to perform housekeeping duties and prepare meals (Fights, 2012). Nightingale fought for better care and transformed the role and vision of nurses forever.
Overview of how nursing image is portrayed by and affected by the media
The media has portrayed nurses and the nursing profession via literature, print ads, television, and film. For the most part the media portrays nurses as female, single, white, childless, and young (Fletcher, 2007). Four consistent images are a theme of how nursing is portrayed in the media: the ministering angel, the battleaxe, the physician handmaiden and the naughty nurse (Fletcher, 2007). The image of the nurse as the ministering angel was most popular until 1920 (Fletcher, 2007). The 20s were a time of the nurse as a...