Improving Nursing’s Public Image: One Nurse at a Time!
Public identity and image have been an ongoing struggle for the nursing profession. Compounding the problem are pervasive, inaccurate, stereotypical nursing images that demean the true nature and complexity of nursing. Changing these stereotypes has been difficult, although the responsibility for changing the profession’s image lies on the shoulders of those who claim nursing as their profession. “Image conflict,” then, is an enduring issue. This presentation will explore common nursing stereotypes and examine the impact of these stereotypes on professional identity. In addition, strategies for improving nursing’s public image are presented, as well as the challenges inherent in trying to change stereotypes that are an ingrained part of the profession’s history and even how some nurses view themselves.
Following this session, participants will be able to:
- Explore the roots and prevalence of historical and contemporary nursing stereotypes, including nurse as angel of mercy, love interest (particularly to physicians), sex bombshell/naughty nurse, handmaiden to the physician, and battle-axe, as well as the stereotype of the male nurse as being gay, effeminate,or sexually predatory
- Describe the roles and responsibilities individual nurses, employers, professional associations, and the media have, to ensure that nurses are portrayed accurately and positively to the public
- Reflect on the premise that every nurse controls the image of nursing.