In this paper, the misguided image created by media tells the public: nurses follow doctors orders and are incapable of making their own judgments will be explored. The impact of this image on the nurse as an individual and on the nursing profession will be shown and ways to improve the image of nursing will be discussed.
Present media, portrays the nursing field as an aid to physicians in the hospitals giving little credit to what nurses do in their profession. The media has pushed aside nurses and have made a high image for doctors and physicians. Television shows generally depict doctors as the key clinicians, putting nurses in the background doing the unimportant tasks (Mee, 2010). Therefore nurses are seen having a minimal role in the health care system.
The idea that nurses simply follow doctors orders is a strong stereotypical theme that has many people deceived. Nurses are not thought to be independent, making critical decisions for the patient. Instead, nurses are thought to only care for the patient while the doctor is gone. According to the American society of registered nurses, The public perceive a nurse as just someone who assists the doctor during and after treatment of the illness assisting the patient in keeping up is personal hygiene, giving the medications as prescribed by the doctor, dressing the wounds when there is a need ensuring welfare of the patient (American Society of Registered Nurses, 2007. para 1).
This is a harmful image that creates a low expectation of what nurses are capable of. Therefore, nurses are endanger of not being taken seriously by patient families when their advise is given for a patient. People may want to speak to the doctor about patients health instead, even though the nurse is the one who sees the patient daily for long periods of time.
The idea that a nurses role is easy, and simplistic is also shown in media as the nurses job is not well represented. According to the Ontario Nurses Association, Physicians are shown spending half their time conduction key care tasks that nurses actually perform while nurses, as their peripheral subordinates, stare at them with adoration and admiration¦ (Ontario Nurses Association, 2008. p.1). The general public is not well educated on the nurses role and do not realize the work nor effort nurses put into their career through education and dedicated work.
The negative notions about nursing through television and other types of media need to be seriously exposed as they harm and form lies about nurses. Currently, these images reinforce the farce that nurses are not critical thinkers and are dependent on physicians for every direction; that nursing is not a profession unto itself but that nurses are medical aids (Ontario Nurses Association, 2008, p.1).
The idea that nurses are not critical thinkers nor independent is damaging to the face of the nursing career. This train of thought causes people to underestimate the capabilities of nurses across Canada. The idea that we only follow doctors orders causes people to overlook what we do, labeling our work as unimportant. This attitude causes less funding into the nursing profession which leads to nursing shortages, creating over worked nurses and clinical error.As well as creating more part time jobs instead of full time, leaving many nurses no choice but to work more then one job.
When a negative image is very dominant in Canadian culture, nurses in the working profession start to believe the lies about themselves, making nurses quiet and not speaking out against the image. The lack of credit nurses get for what they do can lead to them thinking their job is insignificant. Also, media is a main way that the younger canadian generations are being educated. By them learning wrong messages about nursing can create them to not wanting to pursue nursing as a career. This leads to less passionate nurses coming into the field who are unprepared for what they are signed up for.
As a future nurse, the publics view of me is important. I want them to see me as a professional leader in the health care system. The idea that nurses are not critical thinkers and are depending on doctors for advise and orders counter acts the real job description is of me as a nurse. The negative assumptions about nursing can effect the way patients perceive me before having our first encounter. A patients doubts of my abilities a a nurse can make our interactions difficult at first if they look down on me.
A patient support group is key to the patients recovery. Having family members doubting the capabilities of nurses can stop the patient and family from asking me questions regarding the overall health of the patient. When people expect me to just listen to the physician, not realizing that I make critical choices everyday, makes the patients take me for granted thinking that I am only a nurse. These thoughts will make my job more difficult as I will have to break through the wall of negative assumptions to allow patients , family and physicians see how independent, capable and professional I am as a nurse.
To break down these negative images of nursing as a profession, nurses across Canada can use the media to their advantage by educating and showing people the full spectrum of nursing, allowing the public to understand that nurses make up a large portion of the health care system and are vital to each patients health and wellness. By educating the younger generations of Canada, nurses will be able to inspire and help people get passionate about nursing. This passion will bring more people into the workforce who are ready, excited and prepared for a rewarding career and will be able to shift the negative attitude towards the profession (Ontario Nurses Association, 2008).
Each nurse in Canada should work hard and act professional to do their part in promoting a positive image that will reflect all canadian nurses as a whole. Having proactive nursing conferences across canada would help raise awareness of negative nursing images so that all nurses can be united and working towards the common goal of creating a more professional image of nursing in the eyes of the public. Currently, many nurses are being proactive by being integrated into the policy development on the healthcare and government level ( Ontario Nurses Association, 2008). The image of nursing must be changed, but all nurses need to come together as a team doing their part and taking pride in their identity as nurses.
As a nurse, I will rise higher then the image of not being a critical thinker and only following doctors orders by always seeking more education so that I can be prepared for situations that I come across. I will stay current with health issues and events that occur around me both on a local and global level. I will always strive to be a leader in the health care system by taking pride when fulfilling my role as professional nurse. When patients or people in the community ask me about my career, I will make sure that I am always prepared by knowing in my heart the reason for my career choice, the importance of my profession and the impact it makes in the health care system, allowing the public to get the right perspective of me as a nurse.
Also I will always think critically of any situation I am faced with, allowing the patient to receive the best and most professional care. Currently, I am going to do my part as a nursing student to strive for excellence while I have the opportunity of learning so much about my future career choice which will allow me to be confident in the skills I will acquire and have the joy in knowing that what I do will have an impact on many peoples lives.
In conclusion, the negative image of nurses being dependent on doctors and not thinking for themselves hurts nurses across Canada. To stop this negative image from taking over the nursing profession, nurses must unite together and strive to be positive leaders, creating a strong and professional image for nursing.
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