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Real-Life Nursing Vs On-Screen Nursing

Nurse-On-Tv 
Copyright: Scrubsmag


Some people learn everything they know about nursing as a profession from television shows and movies. Those are the people whose attitudes about nursing are the most annoying.





Real-life nursing and fictional nursing don’t have a thing to do with one another, obviously, but stereotypes are hard to get over. Unless you’re willing to go into back stories on shows, nurses barely exist. Barely isn’t not-at-all, though.






So what are the biggest differences between on-screen and real-life nursing?

  • 1.       Normally, you rarely see nurses in medical dramas. End up in the hospital for real and nurses are pretty much all you see. When you are sick, doctors might visit for five or 10 minutes - or more if you’re in the ICU. Most of your care is delivered by nurses and ancillary personnel. All the doctors do is show up, examine, issue orders and take off.

  • 2.      Not to downplay their role, to be sure, but the difference between House and real life is huge. All you need to see, as a medical professional, is the episode in which residents do all the scans and all the pathology for a patient with a copper allergy. Given the demands on residents’ time, it’s insane to think that any one of them would be stuck down in the path lab or MRI suite, pushing buttons or staring at slides. Even the best-funded hospital system in real life couldn’t manage that.

  • 3.      Moreover, nurses on TV aren’t the ones prepping the patient for surgery or adjusting drips. Even the most basic jobs are done by doctors - the nurses simply don’t show up. Now, I understand the demands of drama, but that’s ridiculous. Time after time, we’re relegated to non-speaking roles, stuck in the background of dramatic scenes or running down the hallway pushing a stretcher. Since we’re invisible onscreen, we’re often invisible in real life. 

  •  4.     Let’s look at dramas where nurses are portrayed – they are either sitting at a reception gossiping or eating some sort of snacks. Wake up people, nurses are never idle people! I work a 12-hour shift and I hardly find myself sitting down until I take my break which mostly will be about 9 hours into the shift. Sometimes I don’t even have the opportunity to because of the workload.

  • 5.      Don’t watch clinic matters and assume all nurses are females. There are male nurses too and I am one!



Can you imagine what might change if we were portrayed realistically in TV dramas and in the movies? Kids might grow up wanting to be a nurse as much as they do a doctor or a fireman or a pathologist. Senators and legislators might pay attention to our concerns about the state of healthcare.



Overall, I can’t imagine a downside to a realistic portrayal of nursing onscreen. It will not only boost the profession's image but will address the negative ideas about nurses.


adapted by Michael A. for Knightmode

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