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Q: What's the big deal about "naughty nurse" images in the media? I mean, no one believes nurses really dress like that!

Christina Aguilera Skechers naughty nurse photoA: The global media's relentless linking of sexual images to the profession of nursing reinforces long-standing stereotypes. Even though those images are often "jokes" or "fantasies," the stereotypes they promote discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual abuse in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect. Even humor and fantasy images affect how people act. That's why advertisers spend billions on them. Desexualizing the nursing image is a key part of building the strength the profession needs to overcome the current shortage, which is taking lives worldwide, and to meet the challenges of modern health care.

Nurse Relief lingerie naughty nurse photoMost people probably don't think the average nurse goes to work in lingerie, looking for sex. But the fusing of lingerie with nurses' work uniforms in popular media images, and the exposure of sexy "nurses'" bodies in these images, still associates the profession with sex in the public mind. One recent U.K. study found nursing was the most sexually-fantasized-about job. And suggesting that nurses are primarily sex objects in turn conveys the idea that nursing work consists of satisfying the sexual needs of patients and/or physicians, or at best, that nursing is so unimportant that nurses have the time and energy to focus on sex while supposedly caring for patients. Some people may just regard nurses as being more sexually available than average. We're not kidding: Please read a first person account by a patient who discusses how he overcame some of these ideas and developed a deep appreciation for the nursing profession.

Nurse Naughty lingerie naughty nurse photoOther people may simply see nurses as looking to meet a physician--even an already married one--to take them away from the dead end job of nursing, a stereotype that was actually expressed in late 2004 by Dr. Phil McGraw on his popular television show. When a profession is associated with sex, there is no bright line between "sex" and "romance." This association may be subtly reinforced even in relatively sophisticated products like "ER," which would be unlikely to present a blatant "naughty nurse" image, but in which the lone major nurse character often spends most of her time managing romances with physicians. Thus, even members of the public who don't think nurses actually have sex at work may be influenced to believe that looking for romance is a big part, if not the biggest part, of why they are at work. That is not a feature that is generally associated with serious professionals.

Naughty nurse and other stereotypical images add to the chronic underfunding of nursing research, education and clinical practice. This is because health care decision makers--many of whom are sadly uninformed about what nursing really is--are less likely to devote scarce resources to a profession that has become so degraded in the public consciousness. Such images discourage talented men and women from entering and remaining in the profession. When you combine this lack of respect, the intense college-level training nursing actually requires, and the difficulty and stress of nursing practice, it is no surprise that the profession remains in the midst of a global shortage driven by rampant short-staffing.

Jessica Rabbit naughty nurse pinMany who display stereotypical images of nurses doubt that such images can really harm the nursing profession. However, as public health professionals at the University of Southern California's Hollywood, Health and Society project and elsewhere can attest, popular media items clearly do affect how people think and act with regard to health issues. For instance, a 2000 JWT Communications study found that US youngsters in primary and secondary school got their most striking impression of nursing from the fictional television show "ER," and consistent with that show's physician-centric messages, the youngsters found nursing to be a technical field "like shop," a job reserved for "girls" and one too lowly for private school students. Nursing is none of these things. In addition, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that "ER"'s message is so influential that one-third of the show's viewers use information from the show to make health care decisions. Please see the research here.

So what's wrong with being perceived as sexy? Nothing--as long as that's not your dominant image in the workplace. Recent research suggests that more sexualized work attire actually lessens respect for female workers in responsible jobs like management, causing others to see them as less competent and intelligent. Of course, the naughty nurse image seems to have little to do with a belief that real nurses are sexy, and perhaps more to do with a desire to have anonymous sex with hotties dressed in lingerie-like "nurse" uniforms. It may be diverting for some to think that nursing is populated by disposable bimbos, which may also help them handle the idea that female nurses have some power over them in clinical settings.

But the disposable bimbo image does not appeal to most career seekers. Nursing remains over 90% female. Of course this sexualized female image is not the only reason, but it is part of an overwhelming social understanding of nursing as "submissive" and "female." This is the difference between sexual images of female nurses and, say, female FBI agents. The FBI is not in crisis because it does intensely demanding mental and physical work that few people really respect, in large part because of the idea that its agents are brainless handmaidens and bimbos. Nursing is.

Of course, it may be hard to see how one apparently minor "naughty nurse" depiction can affect the real world. But each such image is part of a wave of images from the global entertainment, advertising, hospitality, and apparel industries, from Fortune 500 companies to isolated sandwich shops, suggesting nursing is about hot females bestowing sexual favors. In the aggregate, it's just common sense that decades of this kind of broad societal disrespect will have an impact, and will be a factor in people avoiding and leaving that profession. Of course, it's not the only factor; the handmaiden stereotype is probably more damaging because it's more credible and widespread, and nursing would be a difficult, stressful job even if it was well understood.  

Some argue that nursing's poor public image has nothing to do with the nursing crisis, because it's really all about poor working conditions and inadequate faculty resources. But that's like arguing that cancer death has nothing to do with cigarettes, because it's really all about cancer. Many things cause cancer, but cigarettes are one of them. For nursing, the lack of resources was not handed down from some divine place. It was the result of human decisions. Those decisions were made on the basis of what the decision-makers (government, hospital executives, the public) thought about how important nursing was relative to other things they might do with the resources available.

It's also common to see suggestions that objections to the constant association of nursing with sex indicate prudishness or a lack of humor. But the Truth About Nursing has never objected to sexual images generally--only to the use of nursing as a marker for dim, submissive, sexually available females. So this is not about whether sexual images degrade all women, but about their frequent application to a specific professional group. And the suggestion is not just that nurses are silly sluts (ha ha! just joking!), but that their job is about that. Research shows that nurses suffer an inordinate amount of sexual and other abuse at work (see AP and Monster articles). Although it's difficult to prove the extent to which that is caused by naughty nurse stereotyping, that doesn't require that we ignore what would be the obvious results--if a profession is an object of sexual mockery and contempt, it's going to encourage sexual abuse, and the profession is unlikely to receive the human or material resources it needs. If a profession is constantly associated with female sexuality, it's not going to attract and retain many men.

We assume few skeptics would require extensive evidence of ill effects if the media stopped "jokingly" suggesting that nurses were giggling bimbos, and started in on the female family members of the skeptics themselves. Even if the media barrage was "silly" (ha ha! just joking!), would the women in that family be taken as seriously in doing high-stress, life-and-death jobs with extensive public contact? Would they get all the resources they needed? Wouldn't they get more than their share of sexual abuse? Wouldn't they sometimes wish they weren't part of the family? Sure, those close to them might know there was no truth to the media image. But it's not like most in society would know them to be serious professionals. Most would just know what they heard in the media--that the women in that family were kind of a bad sex joke.

The Truth About Nursing takes no position on the prevalence of sexual imagery in modern society. But we do object to the close association of that imagery with a traditionally female profession that must now fight through a critical shortage to keep millions of patients alive and on the road to recovery. In many cases, stereotypes do not simply go away of their own accord--they must be confronted and rejected. And the "naughty nurse" has proven its staying power for decades.

Of course, we realize that sexual fantasies do not go away simply because images become less prevalent, and that deep-seated sexual desires are presumably not subject to anyone's control. Some aspects of current human sexuality may be practically unchangeable, perhaps because they have a strong evolutionary basis, or for some other reason. But we doubt that something as culturally and temporally specific as the "naughty nurse" image of recent decades is biologically predetermined or immutable, at least on a society-wide basis. It seems to us that the image is largely the result of specific cultural information, though it may incorporate some broader elements, such as the eroticism of apparent innocence. What is seen as "sexy" may vary in different contemporary communities, and we're not sure all of them have a special thing for the naughty nurse. And some aspects of human attraction may evolve over time, perhaps in response to changes in the perceived needs of the species. For instance, common standards of human beauty do not appear to be the same today as in past centuries. We think it would be in humanity's long-term interest to start considering new ways to think about nurses.

One could also argue that the work of nurses is so intimate that it will always be subject to some level of sexual fantasy. But the jobs of others that are now subject to this kind of stereotyping (such as flight attendants) do not involve intimate contact. Instead, the common theme seems to be that they are traditionally female jobs that are seen--we said seen--to involve simple personal service. On the other hand, traditionally male professions that may involve intimate contact and/or personal service do not seem to suffer in the same way. People may imagine physicians sexually, but they are not generally presented with revealing images of physicians as silly and available. On the contrary, physicians are often seen as perhaps the ultimate marital prize, and it is hard to imagine the profession suffering from this kind of image in terms of recruiting, retention, or resources.

At ground level, the devaluation of nursing translates into an underpowered profession that may not be strong enough to save your life when you need it to do so. The "naughty nurse" isn't going to catch deadly medication errors, intervene when a patient is about to crash, or teach a patient to survive with a life-threatening condition. It's time for her to change into something a little more comfortable.

Also see our FAQ: But I'm young and hot and I love people to think I'm a sexy nurse! Anyone who objects to the "naughty nurse" image must be a fat old hag nursing leader who hates sex, right?

And our FAQ: Why do you actually display the naughty nurse imagery you object to? Aren't you promoting the same thing you're complaining about?! Ha ha!

Have an event at which you'd like to protest the naughty nurse image? Download our flyer and hand it out to those visiting the event. And please let us know about your protest! Thank you!


Please see some of the "naughty nurse" campaigns that we have pursued and other analyses:

Don't you think I'm so sexy--I'm just so fresh, so clean!

September 27, 2007 -- Since last week, Cadbury Schweppes Canada has been running "naughty nurse" television ads for Dentyne Ice chewing gum. The ads show female nurses being lured into bed with male patients the instant the men pop the product into their mouths. The tag line: "Get Fresh." But the ads are not really so fresh. They use naughty nurse imagery to sell products to young men--a cliché in itself. And they suggest that use of the products by hospital patients will instantly produce an erotic reaction from the always available bedside nurse, an idea that has recently been used to sell TAG Body Spray, and in an amazingly direct ad for a brand of Russian vodka. It is especially unfortunate that Cadbury Schweppes Canada is again exploiting the naughty nurse image, since we and other nurses clearly explained to the company the problems with that image following its use in a 2005 Mott's Clamato commercial. We urge Cadbury Schweppes to consider whether it really needs its female fantasy playthings to be nurses, which reinforces an enduring stereotype of workplace sexual availability that contributes to the global nursing crisis. Despite our extensive discussions with company executives over the last week, the company so far refused to alter its plans to run the Dentyne Ice ad for many more weeks. Please help us persuade Cadbury Schweppes to change course. See our analysis or go straight to our update. We got the ad pulled...


To serve Dr. Lung Love

Dr. LungloveNovember 2, 2009 -- Today the national advocacy group Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) launched a high-profile media campaign to increase awareness of how dangerous lung cancer is for women. The campaign is built on a rap video called "Waitin' Room Service" that features "Dr. Lung Love," who manages to work several important ideas about lung cancer into the song, including the importance of screenings and increased research funding. The LCA video is a shot-by-shot, line-by-line parody of Pitbull's recent video for "Hotel Room Service," which featured the rapper and hot, half-dressed women. Sadly, the LCA parody substitutes "nurses" who, though fully clothed in scrubs, offer attention to the Lung Love character, caressing him and dancing suggestively with him. And in one lyric, he informs us that the "nurse just left," so he'll "love your lungs tonight." Ewww. Anyway, it seems that swaggering, masterful physicians handle important health matters, while cute nurse helpmates provide, well, waitin' room service. With more inspired writing and direction, a great video could have been made to advance awareness without reinforcing the naughty nurse stereotype that has plagued real nurses for decades. The LCA video is a special insult to the oncology nurses who actually provide much of the care for cancer patients--what Lung Love so eloquently calls the "somethin'" that "can be done" if the cancer is not too far advanced (or even if it is). The Lung Cancer Alliance site makes clear that the video was not something some low level employee stumbled into. It is being promoted by the group's leadership as the central part of a major national publicity effort during Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Of course this is not the first PSA to degrade nurses (see Jon Corzine's seat belt ad and Saw III's blood donation ad), but the fact that a major DC health care charity would employ the naughty nurse image in a campaign of this magnitude surprises even us. The nurses who fight cancer deserve better than this video's tainted Lung Love, which undermines real nurses' claims to adequate resources and respect. So please give LCA some love...of nurses. Join our campaign to end the video's needless use of naughty nurse imagery!


Shock Trauma nurses honored for clinical hotness!

April 25, 2007 -- Today's Baltimore Sun featured a column by Laura Vozzella about a poll taken by Baltimore City firefighters on that asked which local hospital had the "hottest" nurses. Vozzella's bemused piece suggests that this is a curious way for at least 146 responding firefighters to be spending their time, given that the department has recently been criticized for a fatal training exercise and that unions are calling for its chief to resign. But she also explains why nurses might have a problem with the poll's implied suggestion that they are all about sexiness, relying heavily on comment from Truth About Nursing executive director Sandy Summers. We thank Laura Vozzella for the column. more...


Inject me: Skechers tries on the stereotypes with Christina Aguilera as "naughty and nice" "nurse"

Christina Aguilera Skechers naughty nurse photoAugust 2004 -- In the coming months, shoemaker Skechers reportedly plans to run a global ad campaign called "Naughty and Nice," featuring Christina Aguilera, as part of a long term marketing deal with the pop music star. Ms. Aguilera will be featured in three different ads: as a police officer confronting a woman bending over a car, as a schoolteacher confronting a student sitting at her desk, and as a nurse confronting a patient sitting on a hospital bed. In each photo, Aguilera plays both figures, and there is a strong element of sado-masochism, with the authority figures as the dominants. All figures are dressed and posed in sexually suggestive ways, often with exposed bras and/or short shorts. In each case the dominant wields a symbol of her physical authority in a threatening, if goofy, way: the teacher holds a ruler, the cop some handcuffs, and the nurse is about to inject a patient with something that looks like a huge 100 cc metal syringe connected to an 8 gauge needle. The submissives seem to wear expressions of mock alarm. Although the Christinas are apparently all wearing Skechers, on the blackboard behind the teacher someone has written many times: "Skechers Are Not Part of the Uniform." This campaign will reportedly be run in pop culture and teen magazines and placed in retail stores around the world, and it has already received significant coverage in the business and advertising press. more...


Nurses are No. male sexual fantasies

The Age nurse sexual fantasiesAugust 24, 2006 -- Today The Age (Melbourne) ran an unsigned Agence France Presse item headlined "Nurses and firemen top fantasy poll." It reports that a new poll has found that 54% of British men have sexual fantasies about nurses. No other profession hit the 50% mark for male or female fantasizers, though 47% of women apparently dream about "firemen." The results seem to show that nursing leads a list of traditionally female, service-oriented jobs about which men fantasize. That list contrasts sharply with the objects of popular female fantasies, namely traditionally male jobs associated with heroism and/or socioeconomic power, including medicine. The poll underlines why nursing remains in the midst of a life-threatening global shortage--daunting professional difficulty and hypersexualized social contempt is hardly a winning combination. We would urge the media to stop relying so heavily on naughty nurse imagery, if we weren't so concerned that there's no other way to sell beer and stuff to male consumers. more...


Gimme that nurse fever, nurse fever.
We know how to show it!

TAG Body Spray naughty nurseSeptember 2005 -- A new TAG Body Spray television commercial features an attractive, provocatively dressed "nurse" who develops "highly contagious lusty-nurse fever" and climbs into bed with the stunned male patient wearing the product. The ad reinforces the nurse-as-sex-maniac image that continues to contribute to the devaluation of nursing at a time of critical shortage. TAG Body Spray is made by The Gillette Company, the Fortune 500 company that also sells Oral B, Duracell, Braun, Venus, Mach 3, and Right Guard products. We urge everyone to ask Gillette to pull the ad now and make amends to nurses. Click here to take action with our instant letter and ask Gillette to remove their ad immediately!


Dr. Phil photo Kicking Dr. Phil's ass to the curb

November 18, 2004 -- Hello, and thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Today we have with us Dr. Phil McGraw, a clinical psychologist for over 25 years. A man with a successful, nationally syndicated daily television show. And a man who earlier today suggested on the air that the health care system is full of "cute little nurses" who are out to "seduce and marry" physicians "because that's their ticket out of having to work as a nurse." more...


X Games

October 15, 2006 - A recent print ad campaign for Schick's Quattro Titanium razor featured an injured male skateboarder in a research facility bed. He was surrounded by white-coated researchers--and three naughty "nurses" giving him what the ad accurately calls "more intensive care." Schick, which sponsors the X Games, placed the ad in recent issues of Sports Illustrated. The company also distributed the ad at college bookstores, perhaps as an inspiration to nursing students. John Wergeles, Schick's Group Business Director for Men's Systems, assured us that Schick did not mean to insult nurses. He said the campaign was ending, but promised that Schick would not revive it in the future, which might otherwise occur. Mr. Wergeles also said he would consult us about any future ads that involved "nurses." We thank Schick for its responsiveness to nurses' concerns. read the full review...


Blood Simple

October 27, 2006 - Today, just before Halloween, Lion's Gate and Twisted Pictures are releasing "Saw III," the third installment in a low-budget but very successful horror movie franchise. Like the two prior films, "Saw III" will be promoted through a real Halloween Blood Drive ("This Halloween, Give 'Til It Hurts"). To that end, Lion's Gate has distributed eye-catching blood drive posters. Unfortunately, the posters feature sexy/scary "naughty nurse" imagery. We commend the film companies for the blood drives, which the film's web site claims collected enough in 2004 and 2005 to save thousands of lives. But we urge the companies to stop promoting that effort with images that degrade the very professionals who use the blood collected to save those lives. Read more and send our instant letter!


Worth Dying For

October 2006 -- We hear that a fine new establishment in Tempe, Arizona, one Heart Attack Grill, has been the subject of complaints by those battleaxes at the Arizona State Board of Nursing. And it's all because the Grill uses scantily dressed "naughty nurse" wait staff to sell burgers and beer! Last month, the real nurses (or "Terrorists & FemiNazis," as the Grill describes them) even got the Arizona attorney general's office to ask the Grill to stop suggesting that its employees are real nurses, in alleged violation of the state's protected title statute. We are outraged at this assault on the free speech rights of scrubs-clad Grill owner "Dr. Jon" Basso. But we will explore what those scary Arizona nurses might be getting at, when they aren't busy killing millions of Jews or crashing jets into buildings. The nurses might be upset because the Grill is exploiting nursing's long-standing position as the most sexually-fantasized-about job on the planet. That reinforces stereotypes that discourage practicing and potential nurses (especially men), foster sexual abuse in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect that weakens nurses' claims to adequate resources. Those stereotypes exacerbate the global nursing shortage, a public health crisis that is killing thousands of people. It would even be killing those whose poor diets help lead to heart attacks, if the link between food and cardiac conditions were not just another silly lie in a world in which, as the Grill says, "insane political correctness stands as a barrier between the average man and his pursuit of happiness." read more and please join our letter-writing campaign!


We don't disrespect nurses...we're just drawn that way

Jessica Rabbit naughty nurse pinMay 6-12, 2004 -- The Truth About Nursing has learned that a pin featuring Disney's Jessica Rabbit character, dressed as a "naughty nurse," has been marketed for National Nurses' Week 2004. Jessica, the sexy, sultry animated character who first appeared in the 1988 Disney classic "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", had a cameo as a nurse in the first of the three short films that followed, "Tummy Trouble" (1989), which was set largely in a hospital. Of course, the Jessica character perfectly embodies the still-potent naughty nurse stereotype, which contributes to the current nursing shortage that threatens lives worldwide. But what's a little surprising is that anyone would think a Jessica Rabbit nurse pin would be a good way to say "thank you" to the skilled, hard-working nurses--including men--who continue to fight short-staffing and other challenges to save patients' lives. more...


JibJab uses "naughty nurse" images to mock Clinton--and idea of national health care plan! Dude!

JibJab naughty nurse health care photoJanuary 29, 2004 -- Internet video kings JibJab are currently marketing an extensive array of merchandise under the label "National Healthcare" featuring an image of President Clinton as a hospital patient with his arms around two provocatively dressed "naughty nurses" as he grabs their breasts. The cutting-edge message of the products is that Clinton likes to have sex with women who are not his wife. But this is not just a questionable reference to the former president's recent quadruple bypass surgery, his late mother's profession, or even the idea of a national health care system. It also perpetuates the "naughty nurse" stereotype that has long held nursing back, at a time of critical shortage, with the same young audience the profession needs to resolve the crisis that is threatening lives worldwide. more...


Bras 'n Stereotypes 'n Things

Bras n' Things naughty nurse lingerieJanuary 5, 2005 -- Australian nurses have succeeded in ending advertising for a "naughty nurse" outfit sold by major retailer Bras 'n Things. However, the product remains for sale in the lingerie chain's 150+ stores in Australia and New Zealand, even though the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has reportedly called for a boycott of the stores unless the outfit is "dropped." The unsigned January 4 piece "Poster makes nurses ill" in the Herald Sun tells the basic story prior to the pulling of the ads, and gets the nurses' point across, though it also includes some condescending description of them. The Truth About Nursing salutes Australian nurses, especially the Australian Nursing Federation, for this campaign. We urge Bras 'n Things to retire the naughty nurse item. Click here to read more and send a letter to Bras 'n Things!


The Hottie with the Lamp

Nurse Naughty lingerie naughty nurse photoNovember 19, 2004 -- You might think that the "naughty nurse" thing might finally be playing itself out in our collective erotic unconscious. But judging from the variety of "naughty nurse" apparel still being sold by lingerie retailers, that is not the case. One notable example is "Three Wishes Lingerie," whose online selection includes outfits labeled "Naughty Nurse," "Nurse Naughty," "Night Shift Nurse," and our favorite, "Head Nurse." Linking such apparel so closely to the profession--to even the fantasy idea that working nurses are sexually available to physicians and patients--reinforces long-standing stereotypes. Those stereotypes continue to discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual abuse in the workplace and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect, all of which works against the profession in a time of crisis. more...


Nursing Punk'd: Virgin Mobile's merry pranksters refuse to let public health stand in the way of a little extra cash

Virgin Mobile naughty nurse March 5, 2005 -- Today the Toronto Star posted a story about nurses' outrage over a new Virgin Mobile Canada ad campaign featuring naughty "nurse" models equipped to "maximize your pleasure" by relieving consumers of "The Catch," a mock venereal disease associated with rival mobile service providers. The campaign is aimed at introducing Virgin Mobile to the youth-dominated Canadian mobile market. It kicked off on March 1 with a Toronto event in which Virgin mogul Richard Branson made a superhero entrance, rescued three naughty nurse models, and joined them for a snowball fight. The campaign also includes print ads and point of sale cardboard displays of the "nurses," and TV ads appear to be on the way. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is, like, having some chick fit about it, all on about a boycott, a public apology and getting the ads pulled, but yo, these Virgin nurse babes are like so worth it! more...

The feel-better tool

Outside naughty nurse March 2005 -- This month's issue of Outside includes a one-page item in its Dispatches section (subhead Fitness & Recovery, p. 30) called "Get Well Soon," which describes eight "feel-better tools" designed to relieve pain after the kind of intense activity in which the magazine's readers presumably engage. The visual centerpiece of the item is a large photo by Gregg Segal of a naughty nurse sitting on the arm of a massage chair in which a recovering Outside guy has crashed following his exertions. Of course, by reinforcing the notion that nurses are brainless fantasy babes and thereby exacerbating the nursing crisis, photos like this actually work to decrease "fitness and recovery." We're guessing the irony of that is lost on those at Outside magazine. more...


Shock jocks, billboards, porn stars, and nurses

Mancow naughty nurse billboard blink-182 photoOctober 28, 2004 -- Popular syndicated radio shock jock Mancow Muller is currently appearing on Chicago area billboards in satirical photos mimicking rock album covers, including that of blink-182's "Enema of the State," in which porn star Janine appears as a somewhat threatening "naughty nurse." Following multiple discussions with our executive director Sandy Summers, the Chicago radio station at which Mancow is based, Q101, agreed to phase out the Mancow/Janine billboards over the next two-three weeks and run others from the existing series for the remaining six months of its ad campaign. more...


Massage Parlor Pulls Down Naughty Nurse Billboards

October 10, 2004 -- In response to a single phone call from our executive director Sandy Summers, a Dallas massage parlor that had displayed two seductive nurse billboards on a popular freeway agreed to remove them. We applaud the Swedish Institute for Physical Health for its rapid response in removing the damaging nursing images (too fast for us to even snap a photo!) and for working with us to help improve nursing's image. more...


Can naughty nurse imagery launch a career?

Ralph Gianna naughty nurse cover photoAugust 2005 -- The cover of this month's issue of the Australian magazine Ralph features Gianna, a former contestant on Australia's "Big Brother" program, in a "naughty nurse" outfit that is essentially bikini underwear. Just an isolated effort to sell magazines by exploiting the nurse-as-sex-worker image that has contributed to the global nursing crisis? Hardly. Gianna, who hopes to make it in film and TV, apparently made a different naughty nurse outfit a major feature of her time on the popular reality show. She auctioned that outfit off very publicly last month for the benefit of the World Society for the Protection of Animals. Whatever her other attributes, Gianna is an innovator: we are not aware of another high profile attempt to establish a mainstream entertainment career largely through naughty nurse imagery. more...


"Time for my sponge bath"

September 30, 2004 -- An article by Chris Johnson in today's Vancouver Sun, "Union 'deeply offended' by sexy-nurse TV ad; Radio station pulls promo after BCNU complains it sends 'the wrong message,'" described a successful campaign by a British Columbia nurses union to protest a stereotypical "naughty nurse" TV ad promoting a local radio station. The story is notable not only because the nurses got an unusually sensitive response from the radio station (especially for the broadcast media), but for the many opposing reader messages that accompany the story's online posting, which provide valuable insight into some of the roots of nursing's media problems and the challenge of resolving them. We congratulate the BCNU for spearheading this campaign and pursuing it until the damaging images were gone. more...


"'No Angels' Set to Nurse U.S. Viewers"

September 21, 2004 -- A Hollywood Reporter/Reuters article today reported that the "edgy" U.K. nurse show "No Angels" is "up for translation into a Stateside version under Ben Silverman's Universal-based Reveille banner," with Amy Heckerling as an executive producer. If produced, it will be the first nurse-focused U.S. TV drama in over a decade. Many British nurses have found that Channel 4's "No Angels," while debunking the angel myth, has fostered other harmful misimpressions of nursing, including that nurses are underworked, gossiping party twits more interested in sexual contacts with physicians than in caring for their patients. Though we are confident that the industry that produced a classic like "Nightingales" would have no interest in that kind of degrading scenario, we will be sharing with the producers our views on how the new show might provide irreverent fun but avoid reinforcing naughty nurse and handmaiden stereotypes. more...


The Campaign for Nursing's Skanky Tomorrow

October 3, 2007 -- Today the BBC ran a story about a calendar showing two Members of Parliament from Sussex surrounded by "models dressed as saucy nurses"--a calendar created as part of a campaign to prevent the closure of emergency wards at two U.K. hospitals. The MPs are understandably baffled about why nurses have protested what a union official describes as the calendar's use of the "dinosaur stereotype of nurses as sexual objects." We think the MPs have hit on a simply brilliant idea: The way to help improve abysmal clinical conditions and resolve the global nursing shortage is to help the public understand that nurses really are brainless bimbos ready to provide sexual services. What better way to convince a gimlet-eyed public that nurses are worth scarce funding! Nothing sells better than sex, right? So please thank MPs Tim Loughton (left) and Peter Bottomley (right) for their keen understanding of the nursing crisis, and join our new campaign, inspired by the MPs: The Campaign for Nursing's Skanky Tomorrow. more...

last updated: November 16, 2009

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