Event Title

The Devaluing of Nurses in Healthcare: Media Portrayals and Their Effect on the Public's Opinion on Nurses

Location

CSU 204

Start Date

5-4-2010 10:00 AM

End Date

5-4-2010 12:00 PM

Student's Major

Gender and Women's Studies

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Helen Crump

Mentor's Department

Gender and Women's Studies

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

As healthcare related issues continue to rise, an unexplored problem persists beyond the scope of current debate; fueled by ignorance and mainstream media portrayals, nurses worldwide are undervalued for their work, resulting in unrealistic hiring and education expectations. These expectations result in a shortage of some of the most valuable workers in the healthcare industry and leaves everyone at risk. Yet, the public is lax to any call to action because of a misrepresentation of nurses in mainstream media. This study focused on media portrayals of nurses, following a qualitative analysis of several popular medical based television shows from the late 1980’s to 2010. From the research, a model for the mainstream nurse appears; female doctor's assistant. Useful for menial labor, but not for important medical emergencies. By juxtaposing this model against a typical nursing workload, the discrepancy between television fiction and reality becomes clear. This research demonstrated how the inconsistencies between the public understanding of the role of nurses and the actual work performed by nurses has created a system in which nurses are undervalued and underutilized, imposing an artificial shortage within the healthcare industry.

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Apr 5th, 10:00 AM Apr 5th, 12:00 PM

The Devaluing of Nurses in Healthcare: Media Portrayals and Their Effect on the Public's Opinion on Nurses

CSU 204

As healthcare related issues continue to rise, an unexplored problem persists beyond the scope of current debate; fueled by ignorance and mainstream media portrayals, nurses worldwide are undervalued for their work, resulting in unrealistic hiring and education expectations. These expectations result in a shortage of some of the most valuable workers in the healthcare industry and leaves everyone at risk. Yet, the public is lax to any call to action because of a misrepresentation of nurses in mainstream media. This study focused on media portrayals of nurses, following a qualitative analysis of several popular medical based television shows from the late 1980’s to 2010. From the research, a model for the mainstream nurse appears; female doctor's assistant. Useful for menial labor, but not for important medical emergencies. By juxtaposing this model against a typical nursing workload, the discrepancy between television fiction and reality becomes clear. This research demonstrated how the inconsistencies between the public understanding of the role of nurses and the actual work performed by nurses has created a system in which nurses are undervalued and underutilized, imposing an artificial shortage within the healthcare industry.

Recommended Citation

Domask, David. "The Devaluing of Nurses in Healthcare: Media Portrayals and Their Effect on the Public's Opinion on Nurses." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 5, 2010.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2010/oral-session-04/2