Grand Canyon University,
Nursing has been seen by the public in many different ways depending on the timeframe (Grand Canyon University, 2018).From the time when nursing was performed by medicine men to current day, the public’s opinion has been swayed by cultural and media factors (Grand Canyon University, 2018).How many times have we seen movies where someone who is ill is being taken care of by a witch doctor or a nurse in a skimpy outfit?There are several factors that play into how the public perceives nurses and how they care for patients.
In some cultures, those who care for the ill are thought to have healing powers (Grand Canyon University, 2018).In a particular study it was shown that “the public sees nursing as combining knowledge, skill, and professionalism with caring” (Donelan, Buerhaus, DesRoches, Dittus, Dutwin, 2008, p. 149).There have been movies and magazines that have shown nurses as sex symbols and drug addicts (Grand Canyon University, 2018).There are also times when nurses are seen as heroes.Recently, I had a coworker on a transatlantic flight and the pilot asked if there were any medical personnel on board to assist in a situation.Two nurses were on board and were able to assess a passenger and recognize that there was a cardiac issue.They used the available equipment and were able to stabilize him until an emergency landing was made.News stories about nurses helping in emergency situations and crises can have a positive impact on the public’s perceptions (Donelan, et al., 2008, p. 150).
As nurses, we have the power to influence how the public views the nurse’s role today.This can be accomplished by educating our patients and their families in our day to day practice.A task-oriented nurse can go in a patient’s room and hang an IV and take vital signs without even saying a word to the patient or family.The family may have questions and concerns; however, if a nurse does not even make eye contact the perception of nursing may be negative.A nurse that makes eye contact with the patient and family, explains what they are doing, and in turn asks if they have any questions or concerns can help put the nursing profession in a positive light.The role nurses have is multi-faceted. We care for, nurture, educate, critically think, and advocate for our patients.This is how we can influence the public’s perception of nursing.