Image in Nursing

Negative image in nursing as portrayed in Greys anatomy, ER and House grade: Given the negative image of nursing exhibited in numerous health organizations which are portrayed in Greys Anatomy, ER, and House TV series, the main priority is building an effective communication with the public. Unluckily, when it comes to television, a notorious “product placement” approach, the nursing profession has been overshadowed by physicians in any attempt of having important message conveyed to viewers. By the year 2030, the world looks forward to a rapid increase in registered nurses, although the current recession has prompted a temporary reduction in nurse employment. It is apparent from the studies that if the registered nurses (RN), nursing hours and staffing increase, this would be a way of reducing the patients’ deaths and days of daycare every year. However, the staggering statistics are not reflected in the contemporary media. Instead, the most popular dramas in medical care have revolved around the physicians, with viewers being offered very limited truth, if any, about nursing profession. Greys Anatomy, ER, and House are medical shows that have received large reception and viewing from various audiences globally. However, these shows have not been able to portray a positive image of nurses, eventually undermining this profession in various ways. With this negative image, the impact has been an increase in nurses’ shortage. This condition has been witnessed in numerous hospitals thereby resulting in the profession misrepresentation, insulting and undermining.
As Hassmiller and Cozine (2006) observe, nurses represent the largest healthcare group that provides direct care to patients in hospitals. The hospital care quality is highly connected to the nurses’ performance. In the medical drama House, an awful job is done by having any kind of nurses being represented. In shows such as House, the nurses barely constitute even the background noise. Sometimes, they are displayed walking on and off the screen holding clipboards and dressed in scrubs. In one image of these television series (depicted in the appendix page) a message is clearly displayed announcing that nursing profession has a few good nurses. Coupled with the above highlighted negative image, the public is left reflecting on the irrelevance of this practice which has been perceived to dominate the healthcare. Compared to Greys Anatomy, fewer nurse characters are displayed in House and ER with very few lines being reserved for the nurses. This, apparently, provides what would be perceived as damaging lie to many: that a team dominated by physicians would move around the entire hospital providing the patients with all the important care, with few nurses standing in the background or simply disappearing.
The nurses’ invisibility in these hospital productions eventually results in the wrong image being sent to the public. To the public the nurses are likely to be seen as unlearned, unnecessary and working under physicians command when in real scenario, the nurses are essential when it comes to any hospitals success (Rideout, 2008). How the nurses are portrayed by the media is perceived to be important in the future of this profession. if the public is convinced that the nurses are unnecessary in medicine, very few individuals would be interested in pursuing this career. The way the nurses are portrayed in the Greys Anatomy sends an important message to the public. In some episodes, nurses are seen to dominate the screen, although in most cases they serve as background for the real hospital mood setting. Majority of these nurses are older and less striking in comparison to the main physician characters. In Greys Anatomy, the nurses are given a few spoken lines, in the most cases are addressing a physician or when they are involved in nursing unrelated issues, such as a love affair. Generally, nurses are perceived to remain invisible in this show, in which nurses’ vision is reinforced as marginally skilled and unattractive subordinates (Rideout, 2008).
In conclusion, it is important to understand the manner in which the nurses are seriously taken by decision makers in healthcare and public. This manner will play an important role in determining the resources and support committed to this profession. If the negative image is collectively used in fight against utilization of stereotypes, nursing practice will received the much needed and deserved financial and political support.

Hassmiller, S. and Cozine, M. (2006). Addressing the Nurse Shortage to Improve the Quality of Patient Care. Health Affairs, 1 (1): 273.
Rideout, V. (2008). Television as a Health Educator: A Case Study of Grey’s Anatomy. A Kaiser Family Foundation Report.
Appendix 1
Image in nursing