Heart Attack Grill (20/20 ABC show) - page 2
Thought for sure I would see an uproar about this restaurant in Az featured on ACB's 20/20. The waitresses wear slutty porn-type 'nurses' outfits and roll their bloated patrons to their car in a w/c... Read More
Nov 19, '06Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 1,375; Likes: 248Honestly? I've been single 2.5 years if some guy wants to fantasize about me I hope and pray he lets me know!!!
Nov 19, '06Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 115; Likes: 18Quote from kukukajooHonestly? I've been single 2.5 years if some guy wants to fantasize about me I hope and pray he lets me know!!!
Good for you. Just don't don't mix bussiness with pleasure.
Nov 19, '06Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 4,143; Likes: 4,405Quote from ruby veethis is so important.a british poll shows that 54% of british men fantasize about "the naughty nurse." they also fantasize about maids and flight attendants -- traditionally female, service-oriented jobs without the pay or prestige that come with more traditionally male jobs. the poll suggests that a prevalent association of nursing with sexuality may promote sexual violence in the workplace, discourage potential nurses from entering the worplace, encourage an attitude of disrespect toward nurses and weaken nurses' claims for adequate resources. this lack of respect together with the education required to be a nurse and the difficulty of the profession may contribute to the nursing shortage. after all, i paid for and sweat through four years of college so i could star in men's fantasies -- didn't you?
"nurses are no. 1...in male sexual fantasies"
Nov 19, '06Specialty: OR ; Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 536; Likes: 24You know, I don't offend easily and actually at times can have a pretty raunchy sense of humor. But this does bug me somewhat. There are plenty of male patients who think we are there to be eye candy and will think nothing of trying to feel you up. I've been an RN all of 3 months and this has happened twice. I'm not even counting the pervy old man docs that will try something while you're scrubbed! It's a horrible thing to say, but I will not feel bad when one of these overfed, lardbutt perverts has an MI and the floozy hoochiemama nurse is unable to do anything to help...
Nov 19, '06Joined: Apr '06; Posts: 892; Likes: 1,999BIG DEAL.
I actually thought it was funny in an absurd, ironic kinda way.
There are so many other true issues out there - I thought it was much ado about nothing
Now about the image thing, so what...? Hot "nurses" at a burger joint may be offensive in some circles - but REAL nurses that come to REAL work sans basic grooming, uniforms/ that look like they have been slept in or "reeking" of strong odors (perfume, cigarette smoke, animals) really offend me.
PICK YOUR BATTLES!
Nov 19, '06Joined: Feb '06; Posts: 127; Likes: 19I was not offended by this food establishment. everyone knows that hese are not real nurses but waitress staff. It is time we give ourselves a break and focus our attention on bigger issues. We as a society have become to sensitive to such small issues. The time the BON spent on this issue could have done more good focused on such issues as manditory nurse/pt ratio legislation, and other real nursing issues.
Give me a break? yes, give me a break and when we start trying to govern this type of activity what will be next, Holloween costumes? TV shows like ER, , Gray's Anatomy? These are not real Drs. or nurses either. Should these shows be told to stop saying they are nurses also?
Nov 19, '06Occupation: RN Specialty: 34 year(s) of experience in L & D; Postpartum ; From: US ; Joined: Nov '99; Posts: 9,721; Likes: 11,860This didn't offend me as much as amuse me. Nurses get "imitated" on many occasions, Halloween, New Years's Eve, to name a couple. Everybody knows these gals are not nurses, and everybody also knows real nurses do not dress that way when they are in nurse mode.
What did offend me and my co-workers several years ago, however, was a catalog sent to our unit from a scrubs company. All the photos of scrubs were those modeled by young (too young to be nurses), thin (too thin to represent the real nursing population) and posed (in very titillating, provocative poses.) You know, the kind where the females in scrub pants were sitting with their legs wide open. Now that was disgusting, and I wrote a letter to the catalog company telling them so.
I did get a response, something like, "we were only trying to appeal to nurses." Yeah, right, by making it look like some porno magazine? I think not.
Nov 19, '06Occupation: Operating Room Nurse Specialty: 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER ; From: US ; Joined: Jun '03; Posts: 17,036; Likes: 1,008We as a society have become to sensitive to such small issues.
And before anyone bothers to tell me to 'get over it' or 'lighten up' as commonly done on these threads when someone vents about it, save your breath, i will not do either.
Nov 19, '06Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 233; Likes: 26Quote from ruby veeruby vee said it best. women have been verbally abused that way for generations.
it's all too common for some people to say something offensive, and then when you're offended proclaim "i was only kidding! you need to get a sense of humor!" women have been verbally abused that way for generations. i have a sense of humor, and it's still offensive.
need i say more.
Nov 19, '06Occupation: RN in ICU/Case Mgr/Social Worker/After-hours phone triage Specialty: 17 year(s) of experience in ICU/Telemetry/Med-Surg/Case Mgmt ; Joined: Feb '02; Posts: 42; Likes: 16I wish that I had seen this on 20/20! I realize that people will know that these are not real nurses, but it offends me because I have worked very hard for many years to reach the point I am at now.
I started as a single mom going to LPN school, worked hard to get pre-reqs for the ADN program, then worked to get pre-reqs for the BSN program. I graduated 5/06 with my BSN degree (YEAH!). In Jan. 2007 I start my FNP program.
Most people don't realize all the education that we have to have to have these degrees and licenses. Most people who had all the college hours that I have would already have a Master's degree!
After all that work, I don't appreciate be degrading by a restaurant like that. One person wearing a Halloween costume is not the same as an establishment promoting "naughty nurses".
I feel that this does give the wrong image to the uneducated person who eats in that kind of place. If we don't stand up and speak out for ourselves, others may think that we don't see anything wrong with it.
If we don't stand up for ourselves as a profession, no one else will.
Of course, all this is just IMHO!
Nov 20, '06Occupation: Exec. Director, The Truth About Nursing Joined: May '03; Posts: 71; Likes: 5Quote from krisoSorry that I disappointed you Kriso. We taped for about 20 minutes, and I can't say that all of the quotes they used were my best. But there is little I can do to get them to choose which quotes they should use. The media is in control of their stories, not me. In the first quote however, I did get across that it's not just the heart attack grill that's the problem. It's the whole naughty nurse image and the constant sexualization of nursing. The second quote was how nurses are expected to take the naughty nurse as a "joke." But over and over again, is it really so funny? And the third quote was in response to this inane question about shouldn't physicians be upset by Dr. Pepper. He actually asked that question again later on in the interview and I gave a much fuller answer as to how their portrayal in the media is rather robust and heroic. I'm not sure why they put that kind of non-answer in there except as an opportunity to show that I could smile. Stossel did take our side.Thought for sure I would see an uproar about this restaurant in Az featured on ACB's 20/20. The waitresses wear slutty porn-type 'nurses' outfits and roll their bloated patrons to their car in a w/c after they gorge themselves on unhealthy foods. It was featured on 20/20s Gimme a Break last pm. John Stossel says Gimme a Break about nurses being upset over the image. IMO the person who was defending the "real nurses" did a very poor job.
If you read the written article about the issue here:
which is longer than the clip, it is much more apparent that Stossel came down on the side of the Center for Nursing Advocacy. John Stossel is a libertarian and does not like government interference into business, so his "Give me a Break" was not directed at us, it was directed at the Arizona Board of Nursing and the Arizona Attorney General, which he says has dropped its claim that the Grill is misrepresenting the waitresses as nurses. I have to agree that it's a really hard claim to make that people will think these waitresses are actually nurses.
Our objection is to the constant association of nurses and sex. I will post our analyses on separate threads, if I am permitted, so you can see the full nature of our arguments. Please be aware, we are a small, grass-roots 501c3 organization and I am posting information here for the purpose of information.
Center for Nursing Advocacy
Nov 20, '06Occupation: Exec. Director, The Truth About Nursing Joined: May '03; Posts: 71; Likes: 5October 2006 -- We hear that a fine new ¨establishment in Tempe, Arizona, one Heart Attack Grill, has been the subject of complaints by those battleaxes at the Arizona State Board of Nursing. And it's all because the Grill uses scantily dressed "naughty nurse" wait staff to sell burgers and beer! Last month, the real nurses (or "Terrorists & FemiNazis," as the Grill describes them) even got the Arizona attorney general's office to ask the Grill to stop suggesting that its employees are real nurses, in alleged violation of the state's protected title statute. The Center is outraged at this assault on the free speech rights of scrubs-clad Grill owner "Dr. Jon" Basso. But we will explore what those scary Arizona nurses might be getting at, when they aren't busy killing millions of Jews or crashing jets into buildings. The nurses might be upset because the Grill is exploiting nursing's long-standing position as the most sexually-fantasized-about job on the planet. "Nurses are No. 1...in male sexual fantasies" That reinforces stereotypes that discourage practicing and potential nurses (especially men), foster sexual violence in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect that weakens nurses' claims to adequate resources. Those stereotypes exacerbate the global nursing shortage, a public health crisis that is killing thousands of people. It would even be killing those whose poor diets help lead to heart attacks, if the link between food and cardiac conditions were not just another silly lie in a world in which, as the Grill says, "insane political correctness stands as a barrier between the average man and his pursuit of happiness."
The Heart Attack Grill's web site explains its striking culinary vision. That vision centers on Single, Double, Triple, and Quadruple Bypass Burgers, Flatliner Fries (fried in lard), Alpha Male Mondays, and of course, the slogan "Taste...Worth Dying For." But for our purposes, let's focus on its staffing vision, which features attractive young female servers wearing very revealing "nurse" outfits. The Grill's web site is full of photos of these "nurses" (e.g. "Nurse Nicole"). There is the "Heart Attack Grill Song," whose lyrics include "You'll Be Served By Sexy Nurses And Man That's Paradise." And there is even a Heart Attack grill cartoon, in which "Dr. Jon" and "his nurses" debate their customers' needs for burgers, bypasses, and head...on their beer. Ha ha! To top it all off, the Grill is gearing up to actually sell naughty nurse lingerie in its Pro Shop ("Imagine how your special someone will look in your favorite nurse's outfit")! Party on, Garth! The lingerie, by the way, appears largely to come from our friends "3 Wishes Lingerie"--which continues to churn out myriad naughty nurse uniforms.
However, in the wake of all the recent fuss, the Grill's web site seems to have changed. It now links each of its many references to "nurses" to a disclaimer at the bottom of the page stating that it's only a "parody," and that the women pictured don't really have "medical training" or provide "medical services." The news page is full of communications from Grill management and supportive customers, who call the Grill's critics on the nursing issue "idiots," "humorless," "bitter," "short," "fat," "ugly," and "politically correct nimrods."
The site devotes an entire separate page to mocking the Board of Nursing and the Attorney General's office, arguing that there is little chance that anyone would think that Grill "nurses" are actually nurses. But the page doesn't stop there. It suggests that only humorless "politically correct extremist wackos" would think there was any danger of such misunderstanding. The page includes photos of an attractive woman in various other sexually provocative work outfits, including those of a firefighter, an FBI agent, and a nun, facetiously explaining that these images do not really show members of those professions either. And the page attaches a PDF file of the Attorney General's September 1, 2006 letter, which is actually very conciliatory and does not directly threaten to bring suit. The letter does note that the Assistant AG who wrote it has spoken with Basso on the phone, informed him of the Board's problem, and expressed the hope that they could "work together" to achieve the Board's goal that the Grill not use the term "nurse" to describe anyone who is not actually a nurse. The site then invites visitors to vote on the following question:
Is an American company like the Heart Attack Grill protected by our First Amendment Right to Free Speech in its parody of the nursing industry?
YES, they have a Right to Free Speech which includes comedic parody
NO, they should be sent to a Soviet Gulag and be bullwhipped by fat ugly Feminazis
The idea that the Grill's usage of the word "nurse" violates Arizona's protected title statute is certainly an interesting one. There is a real risk that some people who wrongly identify themselves as "nurses" will mislead the public, threatening public health and undermining the nursing profession, even outside of the traditional clinical settings. One distressing example is the recent growth of infant caregivers with little or no health training who market themselves as "baby nurses." That dangerous trend appears to have played a role in New York State's recent passage of a protected title statute for nurses.
For us, the real problem with the Heart Attack Grill "nurses" is not so much that many people are likely to think they are really nurses. But constantly linking powerful sexual images so closely to the profession of nursing--to even the fantasy idea that working nurses are sexually available to patients--reinforces long-standing stereotypes about nursing. Those stereotypes continue to discourage practicing and potential nurses, encourage sexual violence, and lessen respect for nursing. When you combine this lack of respect, the intense college-level training nursing actually requires, and the difficulty and stress of nursing practice, it is no surprise that the profession remains in the midst of a global shortage driven by rampant short-staffing.
Of course, the naughty nurse image has little to do with a belief that real nurses are sexy, and much to do with a desire to have anonymous sex with hotties dressed in lingerie-like "nurse" uniforms. It's diverting for some men to think that nursing is populated by disposable bimbos, which may also help such men handle the notion that female nurses have some power over them in clinical settings. But the disposable bimbo image does not appeal to most career seekers, particularly men, which is a key reason the profession remains over 90% female. We note that the Grill's owner is a "doctor," and not a "nurse," and none of the female wait staff are "physicians." Physicians are powerful men, nurses are subservient sexbots--duh. But the seemingly endless devaluation of nursing through this kind of imagery translates into an underpowered profession that may not be strong enough to save your life when you need it to do so. Desexualizing the nursing image is a key part of building the strength the profession needs to overcome the current crisis.
And of course, Grill enthusiasts don't just see the sexually-oriented images of "nurses" that are available on the web site. They interact closely with attractive, young, half-dressed wait staff who admittedly have no health expertise, but who do use nursing imagery and equipment (including wheel chairs) as soft-core props. Yes, these guys presumably know they're not really nurses. But this kind of intense personal interaction is likely to create a strong, lasting link in their minds between jiggly sex objects and nursing. Yeah, they might say, it's all just a big goof, and really we have the utmost respect for nursing--though we see no evidence of that on the Grill's web site, which suggests that the Grill doesn't even know or care enough to pretend it thinks real nurses play an important role in health care.
But all stereotypes have some effect. For example, what do you think one of the "real men" who frequent the Grill would say if one of his friends mentioned he was thinking about a nursing career? This is the difference between sexual images of female nurses and, say, female FBI agents. The FBI is not in crisis because it does intensely demanding mental and physical work that few people really respect, in large part because of the idea that its agents are brainless handmaidens and bimbos. Nursing is.
We would suggest that the Heart Attack Grill could probably do just as well if it altered its naughty nurse uniforms to be just, well, naughty. But the Grill's web site suggests that its idea of dealing with nurses' concerns is to call them names. The site also suggests that Grill thinks its responsibility to a group that feels insulted is limited to the Grill's subjective view of whether the group should feel insulted--an attitude that would justify saying anything about anyone. And in fact, the Center has tried without success in two phone calls to persuade Grill owner "Dr. Jon" to stop using the naughty nurse imagery.
We do know that the Grill enjoys cartoon drama. So we put together the little script below--sorry we don't have the Grill's drawing talent--to try to explain what we mean in more dramatic terms.
Read our cartoon below.
In a HOSPITAL ROOM, we see a middle-aged male PATIENT lying in bed. In strides a fairly young, harried-looking female PHYSICIAN.
PHYSICIAN: Good morning, Mr...."Dr. Bob"? Are you a physician?
PATIENT: Uh...not really. I own a theme restaurant, the Fat-Clogged Artery Grill. We have naughty "nurses" sell burgers and beer to guys, sort of flirt with them and stuff. And I'm "Dr. Bob," you know, the head honcho.
PHYSICIAN (her eyes glazing slightly as she starts to examine him): That sounds great, I'll be sure to check that out. In the mean time, we do need to get ready for your bypass surgery.
PATIENT: Yeah, speaking of that, I did have a couple questions--
PHYSICIAN: Has someone given you all the pre-op instructions, explained your condition and the procedure in terms you can understand, run all the tests, made sure that you're ready physically, given you and your family psychosocial care, been monitoring your status with those complex machines there, administered the various potentially lethal drugs you'll need and assessed your reaction, and gotten ready to detect subtle changes and intervene if you start failing overnight and if necessary argue with me about it, monitor and keep you alive during the surgery, monitor and assess you for post-op complications, and start you thinking about all the challenges of discharge, rehab., and turning your life around with better diet and exercise?
PHYSICIAN: Well, you have lots of family members, right? (Looking around the empty room, then, smiling, under the bed.) Somewhere?
PATIENT: How could someone who isn't trained--but wait, don't doctors do all that stuff?
PHYSICIAN (shaking her head): Oh, Dr. Bob, you've been watching too many old "House" episodes! Real physicians don't do much of that. That's pretty much nursing work.
PATIENT: So, why can't they do it?
PHYSICIAN: Do you see any nurses here?
PATIENT: No, but can't you just order one up with my dinner? I like 'em hot!
PHYSICIAN (sighing): Actually, only nurse managers could "order them up"--we had nothing to do with it. But the last nurse I saw was this sad woman from a few years ago, always babbling about forced overtime, short-staffing...she was a nut! They say she came in for a shift one day and just climbed into a bed herself. Didn't last long. Anyway, they're long gone.
PATIENT: Really? Why?
PHYSICIAN (shrugging): Well, you know, as the years went by there were fewer and fewer. And of course, the more who left, the more back-breaking work there was for the ones who were left, with them rushing around like maniacs for 12 hours, no food, no rest room breaks, angry patients, angry physicians. The last ones were pretty much out of their minds--PTSD.
PATIENT: But why did it get that way?
PHYSICIAN: Well, the hospital couldn't find funding for them any more. The bean counters figured they didn't make much difference, not too smart, kind of slutty, pretty much just hanging around to fluff pillows. I also recall the nurses had a big issue with abuse--they were always getting assaulted, grabbed, propositioned, called names. "Hey baby, how about a little sexual healing?" "Say, are you the head nurse? Heh heh." Not at job I would ever consider, believe me.
PATIENT: Yeah, but--
PHYSICIAN: And the male nurses! Always dealing with: "Could you give me a spongebath, nursey!" "Hey--where's your little dress, baby?" Can't blame them for getting out. Anyway, you seem fine, and I've got so many other patients, I'll be going now. A tech will check on you in a couple hours, probably. Think positive thoughts!
Later that night, the PATIENT is alone in his room. A young NAUGHTY NURSE enters.
PATIENT: Nurse Candy! You came!
NAUGHTY NURSE (giggling): Not yet, Dr. Bob! But I did bring you a Flabby Patty, and some First Amendment Freedom Fries!
PATIENT: Thanks, Candy. But I don't feel so great. Could you get someone, this call button doesn't seem to--
NAUGHTY NURSE: Dr. Bob, I wanted you to be the first to know: I got that modeling job, and my agent says I might have a shot at "Idol"!
PATIENT: OK, but I really feel...ah...
PATIENT passes out.
NAUGHTY NURSE: That's OK, Dr. Bob, you rest.
NAUGHTY NURSE picks up a TV remote and turns on the set, and we see that "Grey's Anatomy" is on. On the show, in the NICU, a chief RESIDENT sternly orders five PHYSICIAN INTERNS to monitor a critically ill infant 24/7. No nurse appears.
Later, we see PATIENT again in his bed. The lighting is now SOFT and DREAMY. The TV is off. PATIENT's eyes OPEN. NAUGHTY NURSE enters and approaches the bed.
NAUGHTY NURSE (sitting on the bed, her hand going under the sheet): Oh, Dr. Bob, are you wearing TAG Body Spray by Gillette? I think I'm getting "lusty-nurse fever"!
NAUGHTY NURSE quickly takes off her small top and bends down to kiss PATIENT.
PATIENT: Oh, Candy. Oh...mmm...uh-oh... (Struggling to breathe.) Hey...uh...uh!
A MONITOR nearby beeps more quickly, then in an unbroken tone. A FLATLINE appears.
Later, we see the PATIENT lying motionless in the bed. The lighting is no longer soft or dreamy. The MONITOR tone remains unbroken, but now "Grey's Anatomy" also murmurs from the television. NAUGHTY NURSE emerges from the adjoining bathroom in a NEW naughty nurse outfit, as if she has just taken a shower. Ignoring the monitor, she begins to pole dance using an IV pole, waving her long hair from side to side.
NAUGHTY NURSE: Oh, Dr. Bob, that Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo is enough to make my follicles moan and writhe in ecstasy! Oh! Oh!
PATIENT remains motionless. NAUGHTY NURSE eventually NOTICES and stops dancing.
NAUGHTY NURSE: Well, if you're just gonna lie there, you won't mind if I have your Freedom Fries, will you?
NAUGHTY NURSE settles down to watch "Grey's Anatomy" with her fries. The MONITOR continues to beep in the unbroken tone. Annoyed, NAUGHTY NURSE turns up the television volume, just in time to hear a FEMALE PHYSICIAN character snap at a MALE PHYSICIAN.
FEMALE PHYSICIAN: Did you just call me a nurse?!
Send our instant letter to the Heart Attack Grill! It takes just one minute. Thank you.
Update on the Heart Attack Grill Story
October 31, 2006 -- The Arizona media has been covering the Center's efforts to persuade Tempe's Heart Attack Grill to stop using "naughty nurse" waitresses. The Phoenix NBC television affiliate (KPNX) ran a story yesterday, and the ABC affiliate (KNXV) ran one on Oct. 27, with a similar piece appearing in that day's East Valley Tribune. (See the clips, articles and Center press release.) These stories confirm that a key part of the half-dressed female "nurses"' job at the Grill is "role playing": helping diners with "heart attacks," pushing the overfed in wheelchairs, sitting on their laps. But why stop the "fun" there? Grill owner "Dr. Jon" is fully dressed in a lab coat and tie, but why not a skimpy "physician" outfit for him? And how about hospital gowns for Grill customers? Mind the back--it gets a little chilly! Every day can be Hospital Halloween! Meanwhile, Grill supporters have directed angry name-calling and sex-related obscenities at the Center. "Dr. Jon" has threatened to turn a fire hose on any nurse distributing leaflets outside the restaurant. What would Hippocrates say about such aggression? But even if the Grill is just one restaurant having "fun," its imagery is part of a relentless stream from the advertising, entertainment, and hospitality industries that suggests nursing is about hot females bestowing sexual favors. Even humor and fantasy images affect how people act. That's why advertisers spend billions on them. Please let the Grill know that nurses need respect to get the resources it will take to resolve the nursing shortage--and save real heart attack victims.
Send our instant letter now!
Nov 20, '06Occupation: Exec. Director, The Truth About Nursing Joined: May '03; Posts: 71; Likes: 5Q: What's the big deal about "naughty nurse" images in the media? I mean, no one believes nurses really dress like that!
A: The global media's relentless linking of sexual images to the profession of nursing reinforces long-standing stereotypes. Even though those images are often "jokes" or "fantasies," the stereotypes they promote discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual violence in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect. Even humor and fantasy images affect how people act. That's why advertisers spend billions on them. Desexualizing the nursing image is a key part of building the strength the profession needs to overcome the current shortage, which threatens lives worldwide, and to meet the challenges of modern health care.
Most people today probably don't think the average nurse goes to work in lingerie, looking for sex. But the fusing of lingerie with nurses' work uniforms in popular media images, and the exposure of sexy "nurses'" bodies in these images, still associates the profession with sex in the public mind. One recent U.K. study found nursing was the most sexually-fantasized-about job. And suggesting that nurses are primarily sex objects in turn conveys the idea that nursing work consists of satisfying the sexual needs of patients and/or physicians, or at best, that nursing is so unimportant that nurses have the time and energy to focus on sex while supposedly caring for patients. Some people may just regard nurses as being more sexually available than average. We're not kidding: Please read a first person account by a patient who discusses how he overcame some of these ideas and developed a deep appreciation for the nursing profession. http://www.nursingadvocacy.org/faq/w..._nurse_do.html
Other people may simply see nurses as looking to meet a physician--even an already married one--to take them away from the dead end job of nursing, a stereotype that was actually expressed
in late 2004 by Dr. Phil McGraw on his popular television show. When a profession is associated with sex, there is no bright line between "sex" and "romance." This association may be subtly reinforced even in relatively sophisticated products like "ER," which would be unlikely to present a blatant "naughty nurse" image, but in which the lone major nurse character often spends most of her time managing romances with physicians. Thus, even members of the public who don't think nurses actually have sex at work may be influenced to believe that looking for romance is a big part, if not the biggest part, of why they are at work. That is not a feature that is generally associated with serious professionals.
Naughty nurse and other stereotypical images add to the chronic underfunding of nursing research, education and clinical practice. This is because health care decision makers--many of whom are sadly uninformed about what nursing really is--are less likely to devote scarce resources to a profession that has become so degraded in the public consciousness. Such images also discourage men and self-respecting, talented women from entering and remaining in the profession. When you combine this lack of respect, the intense college-level training nursing actually requires, and the difficulty and stress of nursing practice, it is no surprise that the profession remains in the midst of a global shortage driven by rampant short-staffing.
Many who display stereotypical images of nurses doubt that such images can really harm the nursing profession. However, as public health professionals at the University of Southern California's Hollywood, Health and Society project and elsewhere can attest, popular media items clearly do affect how people think and act with regard to health issues. For instance, a 2000 JWT Communications study found that US youngsters in primary and secondary school got their most striking impression of nursing from the fictional television show "ER," and consistent with that show's physician-centric messages, the youngsters found nursing to be a technical field "like shop," a job reserved for "girls" and one too lowly for private school students. Nursing is none of these things. In addition, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that "ER"'s message is so influential that one-third of the show's viewers use information from the show to make health care decisions. Please see the research here. http://www.nursingadvocacy.org/faq/h..._research.html
So what's wrong with being perceived as sexy? Nothing--as long as that's not your dominant image in the workplace. Recent research
suggests that more sexualized work attire actually lessens respect for female workers in responsible jobs like management, causing others to see them as less competent and intelligent. Of course, the naughty nurse image seems to have little to do with a belief that real nurses are sexy, and perhaps more to do with a desire to have anonymous sex with hotties dressed in lingerie-like "nurse" uniforms. It may be diverting for some to think that nursing is populated by disposable bimbos, which may also help them handle the idea that female nurses have some power over them in clinical settings.
But the disposable bimbo image does not appeal to most career seekers, particularly men, which is a key reason the profession remains over 90% female. Yes, it's not the only reason, but it is part of an overwhelming social understanding of nursing as "submissive" and "female." This is the difference between sexual images of female nurses and, say, female FBI agents. The FBI is not in crisis because it does intensely demanding mental and physical work that few people really respect, in large part because of the idea that its agents are brainless handmaidens and bimbos. Nursing is.
Of course, it may be hard to see how one apparently minor "naughty nurse" depiction can affect the real world. But each such image is part of a wave of images from the global entertainment, advertising, hospitality, and apparel industries, from Fortune 500 companies to isolated sandwich shops, suggesting nursing is about hot females bestowing sexual favors. In the aggregate, it's just common sense that decades of this kind of broad societal disrespect will have an impact, and will be a factor in people avoiding and leaving that profession. Of course, it's not the only factor; the handmaiden stereotype is probably more damaging because it's more credible and widespread, and nursing would be a difficult, stressful job even if it was well understood.
Some argue that nursing's poor public image has nothing to do with the nursing crisis, because it's really all about poor working conditions and inadequate faculty resources. But that's like arguing that cancer death has nothing to do with cigarettes, because it's really all about cancer. Many things cause cancer, but cigarettes are one of them. For nursing, the lack of resources was not handed down from some divine place. It was the result of human decisions. Those decisions were made on the basis of what the decision-makers (government, hospital executives, the public) thought about how important nursing was relative to other things they might do with the resources available.
It's also common to see suggestions that objections to the constant association of nursing with sex indicate prudishness or a lack of humor. But the Center has never objected to sexual images generally--only to the use of nursing as a marker for dim, submissive, sexually available females. So this is not about whether sexual images degrade all women, but about their frequent application to a specific professional group. And the suggestion is not just that nurses are silly ***** (ha ha! just joking!), but that their job is about that. Research shows that nurses suffer an inordinate amount of sexual and other abuse at work (see AP and Monster articles). Although it's difficult to prove the extent to which that is caused by naughty nurse stereotyping, that doesn't require that we ignore what would be the obvious results--if a profession is an object of sexual mockery and contempt, it's going to encourage sexual abuse, and the profession is unlikely to receive the human or material resources it needs. If a profession is constantly associated with female sexuality, it's not going to attract and retain many men.
We assume few skeptics would require extensive evidence of ill effects if the media stopped "jokingly" suggesting that nurses were giggling bimbos, and started in on the female family members of the skeptics themselves. Even if the media barrage was "silly" (ha ha! just joking!), would the women in that family be taken as seriously in doing high-stress, life-and-death jobs with extensive public contact? Would they get all the resources they needed? Wouldn't they get more than their share of sexual abuse? Wouldn't they sometimes wish they weren't part of the family? Sure, those close to them might know there was no truth to the media image. But it's not like most in society would know them to be serious professionals. Most would just know what they heard in the media--that the women in that family were kind of a bad sex joke.
The Center takes no position on the prevalence of sexual imagery in modern society. But we do object to the close association of that imagery with a traditionally female profession that must now fight through a critical shortage to keep millions of patients alive and on the road to recovery. In many cases, stereotypes do not simply go away of their own accord--they must be confronted and rejected. And the "naughty nurse" has proven its staying power for decades.
At ground level, the devaluation of nursing translates into an underpowered profession that may not be strong enough to save your life when you need it to do so. The "naughty nurse" isn't going to catch deadly medication errors, intervene when a patient is about to crash, or teach a patient to survive with a life-threatening condition. It's time for her to change into something a little more comfortable.