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Saving LivesWhy the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk$
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Sandy Summers and Harry Jacobs Summers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199337064

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337064.001.0001

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How Nursing’s Image Affects Your Health

How Nursing’s Image Affects Your Health

Chapter:
(p.29) 2 How Nursing’s Image Affects Your Health
Source:
Saving Lives
Author(s):

Sandy Summers

Harry Jacobs Summers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337064.003.0002

Research shows that even entertainment television affects social attitudes about health care generally and nursing specifically. That is not a controversial concept in the field of health communication, which analyzes health messages in the media. Usually the media portrays nurses as the peripheral servants of heroic physicians. Despite the introduction of a few nurse-focused television shows, physicians and physician characters have continued to dominate most health care depictions. As Meredith Grey snapped at a male colleague in a 2005 Grey’s Anatomy episode: “Did you just call me a nurse?!” In a 2013 episode of The Mindy Project, the female lead character was offended for the same reason. Key factors in this media problem include entrenched stereotypes, inadequate support from physicians, and insufficient advocacy from nurses themselves. Unfortunately, poor understanding reduces the resources available for nursing practice, education, residencies, and research, which undermines nursing and leads to worse patient outcomes.

Keywords:   media, health care, media research, health communication, entertainment education, Hollywood, news coverage, television, advertising, nursing stereotypes, physicians/doctors

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