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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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Yes, Doctor! No, Doctor!

Yes, Doctor! No, Doctor!

Chapter:
(p.118) 4 Yes, Doctor! No, Doctor!
Source:
Saving Lives
Author(s):

Sandy Summers

Harry Jacobs Summers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337064.003.0004

Much of the media presents nurses as the faceless crew of a healthcare ship captained by charismatic physicians. But nursing is an autonomous profession. Nurses train and manage themselves. They have independent legal duties to patients and a unique scope of practice, including special expertise in such areas as pain management. Hundreds of thousands have graduate degrees in nursing. Occasionally media products have given some sense of nursing autonomy, including a few news media items and fictional portrayals, such as Call the Midwife. But the most influential entertainment media presents nurses as physician handmaidens. Major Hollywood hospital shows have done so regularly, including Grey’s Anatomy, House, and The Mindy Project. The paradigmatic nurse-physician interaction is a physician “order” followed by a meek nurse’s “Yes, doctor!” Although recent US nurse-focused shows have shown nurses pushing back against poor physician care, each has at times wrongly suggested that nurses report to physicians.

Keywords:   nursing autonomy, nursing profession, nurses’ legal duties, nurses' ethical duties, nursing scope, healthcare roles, healthcare hierarchy, healthcare team, Hollywood, nurses’ authority, handmaidens, physician/doctor’s orders, physician/doctor's prescriptions

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