Are nurses misrepresented on TV?

  1. We all no what a powerful medium TV is. Do you think that nurses are properly represented on. Does the media image give the general public a real idea of what we are about as people and how we do our job. I think that we are still often shown as just taking doctors' orders rather than making 'nursing' decisions as well. If a doctor barked at me the way they often do on TV, he/she would not make the same mistake a second time I can assure you!. I give and expect respect. I would hate to think people to get the wrong idea because of what they see on TV.

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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   saphie
    I would have to say that TV does not give a fair shake to nurses. I'm not sure if in England if you have the TV show ER, but on this show the nurses are almost always in the background with very little exposure as even a main character - well except for Carol, but she's leaving the show. On Trauma, life in the ER or Trauma center, it almost focuses on the doctors and their decisions, I have yet to see a nurse asked her/his opinion or how she/he plays a significent role on saving a patient's life.
  4. by   Mijourney
    Hi,
    TV does exaggerate roles of most professionals. Back then, Marcus Welby, MD and Dr. Kildare were portrayed as wholesome, compassionate, caring souls whose smiley-faced nurses worshipped and served them without question. Today, both doctors and nurses are portrayed with a lot of character flaws. I do feel that there is some realism with some of the shows in that as the doctor walks away from a very sick patient, the nurse is left behind doing all the work. Isn't that how it is in reality?
  5. by   pandora
    Yes, I have to agree with what's been said so far. We do get ER on TV over here, but it's no worsr than most English hospital dramas at portraying nurses inaccurately. We have a show here called 'Casualty', based in an ER. I don't know when the nurses find time to do any work, what with sorting out their emotional problems, placating grouchy doctors and generally sniping at each other. If it was really like that we'd never get anything done.

    It bothers me, because I would like people to get a clearer picture of what our job really involves. Still, I suppose that wouldn't be dramatic enough for some people's tastes.

    I agree with what was said about the reality being that we are often left to clear up the mess left by doctors. I have often done this. The docs where I work not are pretty good, but in my last department I was forever chasing them up to put their own notes away; and why do they always think that nurses have psychic powers and can find missing notes (particularly when we're already busy).

    Keep the comments coming. I love to read them.
  6. by   Genista
    No, I don't think nurses are well represented on tv. On the tv show ER, for example, I find that not only are the nurses misrepresented, but the doctors bedside manner is terrible as well! Heaven forbid I should ever have the misfortune to enter that "ER." ha ha. From what I've observed on television, the portrayal of healthcare professionals in general is geared more for dramatic impact than for realism. The few tv shows that I see w/ nurses on them are completely obsolete images as far as I'm concerned. I find that my biggest impact on educating the public about what nurses really do is based on my day to day life experience/practice, one person (one family) at a time.
  7. by   fergus51
    I really think nurses take this issue too seriously. I am a student and listenned to a long rant in class about this. I never hear cops complaining that they aren't well represented with shows like NYPD Blue or CHIPS. Lifeguards don't protest Baywatch. And I have yet to hear lawyers complain that they aren't anorexic tramps like Ally McBeal. I think we need to lighten up.
  8. by   saphie
    To the above poster: I have to disagree with you. I find how nurses are represented a huge deal. You don't find police or lawyers complaining because they are respected professionals. Most of the public - including my own parents who I have been educating - view nursing as a dead end job where all you do is become a glorified handmaiden of the doctor, after all it's the doctor that makes all the decisions and the nurses sit on their thumbs with no input into the decisions affecting patients at all, which is a bunch of larkey. Nursing needs to be a respected profession, not in terms of money - though a pay raise would be nice after five years of school - but in terms of how the public views us. To have such a powerful medium as the TV protray nurses as mindless nobodies just reinforces to the public that that is what we are. Like how many times has someone asked what you do and you say you are a nurse and they say "oh". Where a friend of mine who is an accountant gets "oh good for you" "wow so young and an accountant", all I get is "oh". Nurses need to stand up as unified force and stand for change, start public education on how we are important to them, how they can not function without us.
  9. by   pandora
    Thanks for your replies.

    Saphie has a point. I think that we need to be recognised as professionals who contribute considerable input to decision-making about care.

    All I can say to Fergus 51 is, thanks for your comments. sometimes it's difficult to get a real 'feel' for the every day work frustrations RNs go through when your a student. I didn't really understand until I graduated. You do have to 'lighten up' about a lot of things because of the nature of the job, for example, seeing much of the 'down side' of life. If you didn't you'd burn out. All the more reason surely to expect to be accurately represented by the media don't you think?
  10. by   pandora
    Thanks for your replies.

    Saphie has a point. I think that we need to be recognised as professionals who contribute considerable input to decision-making about care.

    All I can say to Fergus 51 is, thanks for your comments. sometimes it's difficult to get a real 'feel' for the every day work frustrations RNs go through when your a student. I didn't really understand until I graduated. You do have to 'lighten up' about a lot of things because of the nature of the job, for example, seeing much of the 'down side' of life. If you didn't you'd burn out. All the more reason surely to expect to be accurately represented by the media don't you think?
  11. by   oramar
    Dear Pandora, The best representation of nurses on TV in the US is on the reality show, Trauma-Life in the ER, this show is carried by the Learning Channel at 7pm on Tuesday in my area. Real time events are shown as they happen, real nurses, real patients, real families, actually events, not even one single recreation that I can tell. There is also footage from the OR, ICU and occasionally out on the floor. The nurses come off as everyday people in extraordinary situations just doing their jobs, most of them are compassionate and powerful. The only thing I wonder about is the amt. of help avaliable in the various units while the cameras are rolling. The hospitals featured always seem to have staff to spare in excess of what is needed. My guess is that managment makes sure there is extra help present on the days that the cameras are there doing the story. The worst representation I have seen recently was on the show Secret Agent Man just two nights ago. The nurse was that blonde bimbo sterotype in the tight uniform that I am so tired of seeing. I am looking for the address of the network to complain. Oramar
  12. by   maikranz
    Hello, y'all!
    Yes, "Trauma..." is nice, but how often do the nurses get a chance to share / talk;
    what gripes me is the media who only look to MDs as the "experts".
    I keep thinking to myself that one of the ER nurses in Philly probably told the doc that former President Ford was having a neuro event, not a sinus infection! Or listen to a MD talk about all the care that goes on for a preemie--why not ask the infant's nurse about the care s/he is giving?
    As for lightening up: I assure you that none of the networks would portray male MDs, lawyers, etc. in the same way that they do nurses.
    Check out Faith Hill's new music video: I don't know about y'all, but my 3" heels and open-button-to-my-xyphoid-process blouse are ready for me to wear in the AM .
    See ya!


    [This message has been edited by maikranz (edited August 15, 2000).]

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