Maryland Lottery Commercial

  1. As I was getting ready for work this morning I noticed a commercial for the Maryland lottery. In this commercial two persons, one Caucasian male identified as a registered nurse and one African American female play a scratch card for instant cash. The African American female wins some money but the Caucasian male identified as a registered nurse loses.

    The narrator then sarcastically says, "it is lucky for your patients that you are here" (implying that this nurse is either dangerous, incompetent and/or unlucky and that would be potentially harmful to patients).

    It was obvious that this commercial was designed to get people to laugh but I fail to see the humor. Just like many African Americans who are offended by white entertainers in cosmetic "black face" lampooning their culture I grow weary of the persistent negative portrayal of male nurses in mass media.

    Just a thought.

    -HBS
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   hbscott
    Rating TV, movie depictions of nurses
    December 3, 2003

    The Center for Nursing Advocacy was founded by graduate students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in April 2001 to address the growing nursing shortage. Recognizing the power of the media in how nurses are portrayed to the public, the center has developed a 4-star rating system (4 for the best, 1 for the worst) for TV shows, movies, books and other media that depict the profession.

    Here are some movies and TV shows that the center has rated, including excerpts of its reviews. You can find a longer list at www.nursingadvocacy.org

    In the movies

    "Wit" (2001) 3-1/2
    Emma Thompson and Mike Nichols' adaptation of Margaret Edson's intellectual anti-intellectual play "Wit" movingly explores an emotionally homeless scholar's confrontation with a life-threatening illness. At the same time, it ruthlessly deconstructs the modern medical research establishment. The one health-care professional who actually cares for the patient is her primary-care nurse. The nurse, while not an intellectual, simply wants to provide the patient with health care that is consistent with her professional obligations and with basic human decency.

    "Meet the Parents" (2000) 3
    Is a nursing career fit for a real man? Why would anyone with a high medical-school entrance exam score become a nurse? Will the phrase "male nurse" ever die? Though nursing is not a major part of the movie, the script reveals an understanding of basic nursing issues that is unusual for a mainstream Hollywood film. Since part of the prospective father-in-law's skepticism about the lead character, Greg, relates to his career choice, common perceptions of nursing, particularly as compared to medicine, are a recurring theme.

    "Rear Window" (1954) 2-1/2
    Nursing is a subplot in this Hitchcock thriller, in which lead character L.B. Jeffries, played by Jimmy Stewart, is homebound with a broken leg with nothing to do but look out the window and let his imagination run wild. Insurance-company nurse Stella visits Jeffries' apartment daily, monitoring his condition, doing massage and preparing food. The care shown might not meet current standards; Stella never encourages Jeffries to walk with crutches, and he spends all his time in a wheelchair. But Stella is clearly helping him heal. Stella also displays her knowledge of medications when she and the other voyeurs see what may be an impending suicide.

    John Q" (2002) 2-1/2
    This movie about an underinsured father (Denzel Washington) taking over a hospital to force authorities to give his son a lifesaving heart transplant pays little attention to accuracy or balance in depicting health-care activities. Even so, the character who is most identifiable as a nurse is a kind, knowledgeable ICU nurse who explains to the boy's parents some aspects of their son's condition and care.

    "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) 1/2
    Milos Forman's Oscar-winning adaptation of Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" shows just how much subversive brilliance and serious misogyny can inhabit the same film. Actress Louise Fletcher's portrayal of the insidious Nurse Ratched stands as a nursing image whose negative power may never be surpassed. Nurse Ratched has become an American archetype, a soul killer who masterfully abuses her professional and institutional power over her patients. Even her name evokes words like "rat" and "wretched."

    In television shows

    "ER" (1994- ) 1-1/2
    The show's physician-centric worldview has led to a continuing failure to give viewers an accurate or complete picture of the vital role the nursing profession actually plays in modern health care. The few nurses who emerge from the "ER" wallpaper are skilled but essentially fungible, serving mainly as subordinates and romantic foils for the heroic physicians.

    "Scrubs" (2001- ) 2
    This show has a major and positive nurse character in Carla Espinosa. And some plot lines have had surprisingly thoughtful takes on nursing issues, such as the decision to become a nurse practitioner, bigotry toward male nurses, nurses' informal teaching of residents, and nurse-physician tension. Unfortunately, in other ways the show reflects the prevailing Hollywood vision of nurses as caring but largely peripheral health workers who report to physicians.

    "Presidio Med" (2002-03) 1
    Set in a private San Francisco hospital, this show focused on upscale, attractive female physicians. It lasted half a season. In one hospital scene, a veteran nurse brought an OB/GYN physician a cup of coffee because the physician had been working so hard. We must have missed the scene where a physician brought coffee to a nurse who'd been driven to the edge of breakdown by the nation's pandemic nurse understaffing.

    M*A*S*H (1972-83, in reruns) 1-1/2
    The series' depiction of nursing was somewhat better than that in the 1970 film on which it was based. Chief Nurse Maj. Margaret Houlihan (Loretta Swit) is probably the most important nurse character in television history. There was little doubt about Margaret's authority, nursing skills and commitment to patients' well being, and as the show went on she grew increasingly sympathetic. However, especially in the early years, Margaret was still a fairly pathetic martinet, desperately seeking to enforce petty discipline - and a man to fill the void in her career-dominated life.

    (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com.)
  4. by   CCU NRS
    This is certainly interesting but I am not sure if I agree with any of them.
  5. by   hbscott
    Originally posted by CCU NRS
    This is certainly interesting but I am not sure if I agree with any of them.
    Understood. But reaching consensus is always an interesting exercise. I wonder how this panel "voted" or reached consensus on these ratings and remarks.

    -HBS
  6. by   ThirdWorldGirl
    I would have to actually see the commercial to base any real answer on its meaning, but if the nurse lost might the narrator meant that it's lucky for his patients that he was in the losing, so they could continue to have him in nursing?
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Originally posted by ThirdWorldGirl
    I would have to actually see the commercial to base any real answer on its meaning, but if the nurse lost might the narrator meant that it's lucky for his patients that he was in the losing, so they could continue to have him in nursing?
    This is what I thought initially on reading this post. NOT that it was a slight against the nurse.

    guess I would need to see it myself to know what it is supposed to mean....
  8. by   gwenith
    If you want greater insight into the centre for nursing advocacy do a search on this site for "Sandy Summers". While agreeing with her intent and goals I found myself in disagreement with her philosophy, approach and tactics utilised to bring about these goals. I will repeat what I said then and will continue to say. We will be better served to write profuse and profound congratulations to those portraying positive pictures of nurses than to kick those who portray negative pictures.

    Remember that the media is the ultimate attention seeker and will react with glee to negative comments as well as positive comments - after all negative comments still show that it has reached it's target audience.
  9. by   stressednurse
    OK,
    I am still confused.. Why are we angry about this commercial? A couple humans playing the lottery or scratch quick money stuff. And one wins and one dosen't.
    Comment about the lucky status of patients to have a nurse.
    Silly approach but the general public sees our profession from a much different perspective than we do.
    I am sure there were studies done prior to this commercial as producing a commercial isnt just pennies.
  10. by   imenid37
    I just saw this commercial this evening. We get Balto. stations here. Yup, the nurse was a real buffoon. It was for the instant scratch-off tickets and they were supposed to be talking to people out at the mall. I am not sure if these were real people or just actors. It basically went like this ... what are you doing here today? Bet your pt's are glad you're here playing the lottery, rather than w/ them. The nurse was made to look like kind of a clueless geek. I guess this plays into the stereotype that male nurses are losers (too dumb to be doctors). Would've been nicer if they'd had some buff looking hotty as the nurse. Then he would've been a paramedic, cause that's more macho.(if these were actors). They were filming lottery commercials at Arundel Mills Mall in November. I am not sure if this is one of them or if it's one w/ actors. It's a stupid commercial. Too bad any "nurse" character male or female is made to look like an idiot.
  11. by   ThirdWorldGirl
    Originally posted by imenid37
    I just saw this commercial this evening. We get Balto. stations here. Yup, the nurse was a real buffoon. It was for the instant scratch-off tickets and they were supposed to be talking to people out at the mall. I am not sure if these were real people or just actors. It basically went like this ... what are you doing here today? Bet your pt's are glad you're here playing the lottery, rather than w/ them. The nurse was made to look like kind of a clueless geek. I guess this plays into the stereotype that male nurses are losers (too dumb to be doctors). Would've been nicer if they'd had some buff looking hotty as the nurse. Then he would've been a paramedic, cause that's more macho.(if these were actors). They were filming lottery commercials at Arundel Mills Mall in November. I am not sure if this is one of them or if it's one w/ actors. It's a stupid commercial. Too bad any "nurse" character male or female is made to look like an idiot.
    Well I'm going to have to check this out, thanks for giving us a more detailed look at it. If this is the case then I would have to agree with it being an inappropriate depiction of nurses. I've tried searching the web to get a file of it that can be played on my media player, will post it if I can get one.
  12. by   NICU_Nurse
    Has no one considered that this man could have just gotten off of work? Night shifters? 7-3 shift? Are you telling me that no nurse EVER went straight from work, in uniform, to run an errand?
  13. by   hbscott
    Originally posted by stressednurse
    OK, I am still confused.. Why are we angry about this commercial?
    Well I believe I mentioned in the original post something to the effect of "I grow weary of the persistent negative portrayal of male nurses in the mass media."

    What is so hard to understand about that?

    -HBS

    Last edit by hbscott on Dec 23, '03
  14. by   Katnip
    Sure. Nurses know we get of of late shifts and feel ragged at the end of it. The general public doesn't, and that's where they problem lies

    The general public sees nurses portrayed in the media as failed physcians, *****, buffoons, or mindless drones, and that's what the majority are going to believe.

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