In the news: Nursing image shapes up on the big screen

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, October 20, 2008

Real-world nurses bring competency, professionalism, and passion to the hospital everyday. But according to a new study, it wasn't until recently that onscreen nurses exhibited these qualities.

David Stanley, MSc, RN, RM, lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Curtin University of Technology, in Perth, Australia, studied 280 films featuring nurses produced throughout the U.S., U.K., Western Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia between 1900 and 2007. The study, which was published in the October issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing, revealed a positive shift in the portrayal of fictional nurses.

Stanley examined drama, comedy, horror, mystery, romance, and other genres, noting that in earlier flicks, nurse characters were often women who were "nice, kind, and feminine," implying that this was all that was required to be a nurse. Other early on-screen nurses were portrayed as threatening or sex objects. But today's on-screen nurses, he says, are "intelligent, strong, and passionate."



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