As a group of three nurses currently working on our BSN degree we have been studying from a book "Nursing Against the Odds" by Suzanne Gordon. This book has three chapters on how nurses are portrayed in the media. Now just think back for a moment to the last medical TV program or movie you watched about nursing and try to remember what you saw the nurse do.
Nurses are portrayed in the media as dumb, airheads who are sexually starved and who spend more time copulating in the linen closet than they do taking care of the patients assigned to them. Oh, we realize sex in the media increases ratings and sales, but we feel it is time to concentrate on the good things nurses accomplish rather than to continue to run nurses' reputation into the ground over and over again.
The patients we provide care for would not get the care they need if all we focused on is sneaking away into the linen closet for a quick fling, or running into the restroom to take another dose of illicit drugs.
Often nurses shy away from the media because they are afraid of being misquoted or quoted out of context. For most nurses it is not just a job it is a life calling, and part of who they are inside. Nurses spend years acquiring their education and certification. The education and certification is important because our patients depend on us to provide them with the most accurate care possible.
Learning for nurses does not stop when they obtain their degree. With the advancement in technology nurses have become lifelong learners. New machinery, new computer systems, new medications and new phone systems all play a role in the life of a nurse today. Nurses defiantly are the "Unsung Heroes" of the medical profession.
Most of the nurses we know are hardworking individuals who have families that are important to them. Most love working with patients on a day-to-day basis. Our rewards come from seeing a real sick patient recover and be able to go back to their daily routine. We also care for the patients who are at the end of their life. These are not thankless jobs to us; instead they are very important aspects of providing nurse care for the whole person.
So the next time a TV show comes on that depicts nurses in a negative light just remember this; that nurse is not the kind of nurse you would want to be in charge of your care when you are very ill. During times of illness the patients want the best educated, skilled nurse possible to provide their care, and for the most part that is what nurses do on a daily basis.
Brittany Isham, RN,
Carol Turner, RN
and Cheryl White, RN