Nursing Image

Nurses General Nursing


Why do you think there is a problem with our Nursing Image? I know that we are short staffed and they are hiring more and more unlicensed personnel to do some of our nursing tasks, but why should we be looked upon as the negative ones?

Realizing that many nurses left the profession altogether should not be a reason to not appreciate those of us that stand by our patients.

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated. thank you.



6,620 Posts

I think people get pi$$ed when they realize we aren't Florence Nightengale and would like to make a decent living. They think it should be a calling...


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

There are a few really good threads on the hotly debated topic. Just do a search w/nursing and image and you will find it. Lots of differing ideas on how to repair our image....and conflict always follows. Happy hunting.

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

We are expected to be like Nuns

Always smiling, always the giving, forgiving handmaidens/serving boys.

The food must taste good, the view superlative, the room spotless, the pain meds immediate and completely effective, the environment the perfect temperature, response to call light rapid, the intuition psychic, the physician on time and convenient to family/visitor questions, the surgury/procedure first thing in the morning.

The Nurse must be a g-d/g-dess as that would be impossible, otherwise.

And as all of those things do not happen - Nursing takes the fall


121 Posts

I had a patient actually tell me that the nurses' image disappeared when we stopped wearing Nurses' Caps and white uniforms!

He remembered when nurses stood up when a physician entered a room.

He must have reincarnated from Florence's era!

TX Guy

56 Posts

I do feel that short staffing probably prevents patients and their families from getting the level of treatment that they sometimes would like (and that nurses would like to give) during their time of need.

As only a student and hospital volunteer I can understand that nurses would naturaly and unfairly get the bad rap for this situation.

I think nursing gets a bad rap because the media has not been helpful in portraying the real story in the past. The general public does not realize just how hard nurses work or how smart we have to be. They think it is the Dr. that makes all of the decisions and is responsible for the life of the patient; they think the nurse gets bedpans, gives shots, etc. I'm 22 and it was only recently that I realized just how much nurses do and how much they have to know. In high school, I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer-- I thought nursing was a profession for people who were not as smart and motivated as me. I didn't want to enter a traditionally female profession. Then I got to college, talked with some nurses, and realized just how horribly wrong I was. If we want to fix the image problem, we need to show the general public all the things that our job entails-- not just being caring, but also intelligent and educated and with a lot of responsibility.


2,259 Posts

Specializes in LDRP; Education.

I think nursing has a bad image because we allow it, and do nothing to improve it.

Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 3,563 Posts

In my last semester of RN school, I gave a seminar on "Ihe Image of Nursing: Public Perceptions and Portrayals of Nurses in Popular Culture."

My instructor said this was an "irrelevant" topic.

Can you say "clueless"?

One fictional nurse who is well known in our culture is Nurse Ratchet from "One Flew Over The Coo-Coo's Nest."

When I presented Nurse Ratchet one of the media's "created" nurses, who has had a negative impact on the Image of Nurses and Nursing, most of my class-mates had never heard of her. My instructor said about Nurse Ratchet:"She fit in with her time. She did not reflect negatively on nursing."


Turns out this PHD prepared RN had never seen the movie.

In my experience, many nurses themselves are not really aware of The Image of Nursing.

If you want to read more about the subject, I recommend the following book:

The Changing Image of The Nurse by Kalisch and Kaylisch- ISBN: 0-201-11655-3. It is out-of-print, but I was able to find ot on eBay and

I think EVERY nurse should read this book, and understand how The Image of Nursing affects all of us and the many issues we face.

Specializes in OR,ER,med/surg,SCU.

Some things we have control of others we do not. Each nurse carries an individual image of a nurse with every contact we make, with pt.s as well as coworkers.. we do have impact with the image we display on a daily basis. I have worked with several nurses that I want to be just like when I grow up, because of the image of nurses that they reflect.


487 Posts

Originally posted by Susy K

I think nursing has a bad image because we allow it, and do nothing to improve it.

feverish applause!!!

absolutely , sorry but we have to take ownership of this problem at least a little bit ....

as long as there are nurses out there who continue to think its their purpose to make the coffee for the doctors , or do the job of the environmental services staff, or search for a dr husband the image of nursing will never improve....

we have become so complacent , and it makes me nauseous....

dont be afraid to show that you have smarts and know what the heck is going on , dont back away , cower in the corner and let someone with "more education" belittle you ....

bedmakers and bedpan givers are not the extent of what nurses do , please please please take the time to properly educate ppl when you hear them spewing forth BS like that.....


2,719 Posts

This is a VERY serious and DIFFICULT problem. I can't offer any easy answers. With that said, I personally try to maintain a high self immage and high self respect and a high respect for my nursing collegues.

In demonstrating this I present myself in the best possible light. Take advantage of every "image" making skill. Including things like personal apearance, continuing education, a professional demeanor, etc. etc. I can't change the whole world but I can effect my little cornor a little.

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