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Tickle: Is the best thing about nursing "meeting hot doctors?" Ha ha! Just joking!

Tickle logo 
February 8, 2005 -- Tickle, the "leading interpersonal media company" now owned by Monster, is offering a 15-question online test called "Who's Your Inner Nurse?" The test, a sly vehicle to direct nurses and others into the site's employment services, invites us to choose from a series of stereotypes that, despite being lighthearted, reflect ignorance of the real nature and value of nursing. Some of the potential answers are presumably "jokes," like "meeting hot doctors" as an option for "the best thing about nursing." Others reinforce stereotypes through positive choices, such as the one inviting respondents to report that patients find them gentle, cheerful, dependable, or selfless (as opposed to skilled, innovative, or hard-working). And some questions simply invite people to think of nursing as trivial, such as the one that gives test takers the chance to specify that they wouldn't "make [their] rounds without" their "[s]tickers and lollipops." None of the questions reflects awareness that nurses are highly skilled professionals with years of college-level training who save and materially improve lives daily. After discussions with the Truth, Tickle grudgingly agreed to remove the "Inner Nurse" test, but declined to substitute the revised test The Truth About Nursing helpfully provided. On the upside, the company did not issue a statement assuring us that it never meant to offend nurses, because they're so cute, kind and selfless.

The original test

The original set of results

The Truth's analysis of original test

Suggested partially revised test

Suggested partially revised results

Email Tickle to ask them to use our test

The original test

The online quiz has a short introductory paragraph, as follows: "Nurses of the world unite! It's time for the 15 minutes of fame you deserve. So kick off those white shoes, and see which famous nurse you're most like. Take the test!"

1. Your patients would say you're more:
          Gentle
          Cheerful
          Dependable
          Selfless

2. Best thing about nursing?
          Helping people
          Having flexible hours
          Having job security
          Meeting hot doctors

3. Would you rather work:
          The night shift
          The day shift
          The easy shift

4. According to the song, the knee bone's connected to the:
          Thighbone
          Shinbone
          Leg bone

5. More than anything else, nursing requires:
          Patience
          Persistence
          Patients

6. Favorite hospital show?
          Scrubs
          ER
          General Hospital
          Strong Medicine

7. The best patients to work with are:
          Kids
          Good listeners
          Anyone who needs help
          Anyone who's under anesthesia

8. Being a nurse makes you feel:
          Proud
          Fulfilled
          Challenged
          Goodhearted

9. Where would you rather work?
          A nursing home
          A hospital
          A school
          A doctor's office

10. Your biggest asset as a nurse is your:
          Bedside manner
          Big heart
          Grace under pressure
          High threshold for gross stuff

11. You wouldn't make your rounds without your:
          Clipboard
          Stethoscope
          Stickers and lollipops
          Cheerful smile

12. Best way to stay healthy is to:
          Take care of yourself
          Live a moderate lifestyle
          Have good genes
          Keep a positive attitude

13. Which nursing field excites you the most?
          Emergency care
          Home healthcare
          Elderly care
          Outpatient care
          Community care
          Neonatal care

14. When it comes to paperwork, you usually manage to:
          Stay on top of it
          Keep it under control
          Get buried under it

15. Best definition of someone with an RN next to their name?
          Registered Nurse
          Registered Nun
          Registered Nanny
          Registered Nutcase

Depending upon how you answer the questions, your "inner nurse" may be revealed to be Florence Nightingale, Nurse Betty, Greg Focker ("Meet the Parents" and "Meet the Fockers") or (for all we know) other well-known nurses or "nurses."

Below are the three test analyses we were able to find based on answering the questions different ways.

 
Original Results

Sandy, you're like Nurse Betty from the Movie

Tickle's nurse logoOK, so maybe Nurse Betty wasn't exactly playing with a full deck, but she, like you, sure is sweet as pie. You and Betty both have the best of intentions when it comes to life — even if you might be a little doe-eyed from time to time. But it's part of that romantic nature that makes you so charming.

Caring and giving, you're the type of person people count on when they need a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand. We wouldn't be surprised to see you handing out lollipops, stickers, hugs, or other treats to your patients. You'll do whatever you can to make them feel better. You can't help it. You're nice. And that's what makes you so well suited to be a nurse.

Want to find new ways to put your nursing skills to work in 2005? Click here for the top jobs in your area!

Sandy, you're like Greg Focker from Meet The Parents

Tickle's nurse logoLaughter is the best medicine. And it looks like you are skilled at using humor as a remedy for what ails you, or your patients, for that matter. Like Gaylord (Greg) Focker from the film, you've got a finely-developed funny bone and you're not afraid to use it. With your disposition, you can lighten even dark moods and more importantly, put a smile on patients' faces.

Like your nurse counterpart (who, let's not forget, endures constant ribbing for being a male nurse), you're proud of your profession and enjoy helping people. You feel fulfilled when you care for others and maybe even get them to laugh, too — even if they're laughing at, not with, you. So keep lifting people's spirits. It's sure to give a lift to their health, too. And that's what nursing is all about.

Want to find new ways to put your nursing skills to work in 2005? Click here for the top jobs in your area!

Sandy, you're like Florence Nightingale

Tickle's nurse logoLike the nursing idol herself, you're determined and persistent in your efforts — day or night. Your brave nurse counterpart helped out on the front lines during the Crimean War and pushed for better hospital conditions. And it's your similar commitment to raising the bar on nursing standards and patient treatment that puts you in her fine company.

Like her, you're a selfless and devoted soul who's not afraid to go the extra mile to help your patients — or the greater good of humankind, for that matter. Whether you're aiding one patient, a whole hospital wing, or an entire school body, it's clear that you've got lots of dedication and a big heart. And that's what's sure to make you a well-loved and well-known nurse.

Want to find new ways to put your nursing skills to work in 2005? Click here for the top jobs in your area!

 
The Truth's analysis of the original Tickle "Inner Nurse" test

Well, at least we can agree (sadly) with the "15 minutes of fame" part in the introductory paragraph. We don't doubt that these questions may reveal something about the personality and orientation of the test-takers. And yes, it's supposed to be funny, and we can hear the argument that no one will take it seriously. However, even humorous media items have a way of sticking in people's heads, as research on the effects of sitcoms on health attitudes has shown, and people will subconsciously absorb the assumptions of this test. You could argue that the test creators don't really think many nurses are just looking for "hot doctors." But this stereotype is actually alive and well, as a look at the many recent "naughty nurse" media images the Truth has identified would show. And what isn't arguable is that the test reflects the assumption that nurses are--at best--gentle, dependable, patient and selfless people who like to help others by cheering them up, cleaning up the mess, and giving them neat little items like lollipops. In other words, the good nurse is essentially a good-hearted but untrained handmaiden--or is it a combination of nun, nanny and nutcase? The 15th question manages to include at least the angel and maternal stereotypes; "Registered Nutcase" could be a nod towards Nurse Betty, Nurse Ratched or "Misery"'s Annie Wilkes, though it's not clear. On the bright side, the paperwork question at least reflects the assumption that nurses know how to read.

The three different test results that we got by answering the questions different ways actually show slightly more sense of what nursing is about, though some parts clearly continue the stereotyping. In particular, the creators practically descend into baby talk in describing the attributes of the "Nurse Betty" nurse. Yes, it's a joke, got it. However, many people continue to view the good nurse as one who is "nice," "sweet as pie," "charming," and the frequent bearer of "lollipops, stickers, hugs or other treats." The Greg Focker material is not as bad, since we agree that humor can affect people in important ways, though this description--like parts of the Nurse Betty one--does seem more focused on the nurse as the object of amusement than we might prefer. The Florence Nightingale profile is probably the best. It rightly stresses Nightingale's determination, bravery, and commitment to raising the standards of health and nursing itself. However, it also contains its share of telling stereotypes: "selfless," "devoted," "big heart," "well-loved." These qualities are consistent with the handmaiden and angel stereotypes. Even more fundamentally, they, like the Betty and Focker attributes, ignore the college-level training and critical thinking skills that nurses use to save lives and materially improve patient outcomes and society's overall health. Even the relatively good aspects of the Nightingale description fail to convey her leadership ability, intellect, innovation, or knowledge. And they continue the Nightingale stereotype, which holds that the nursing pioneer was a kind of pleading, devoted saint, essentially a moral force, rather than the ambitious, difficult, intellectually influential woman she really was.

The Tickle company appears to pride itself on the scientific rigor of its testing, boasting that it was "the first company to combine consumer insight with state-of-the-art digital technology to generate personality reports uniquely positioned to offer outstanding results," and that it "offers more than 200 tests (more than 60 of which are PhD-certified) and is the leading provider of online testing services." Indeed, the Tickle web site states that a member of its top-level "executive team" is Dr. Jennifer Bruning Brown, a "research psychologist." According to the site, Dr. Brown's varied background includes a Ph.D. from Stanford, clinical training in depression, eating disorders and relationship issues, work as a personal trainer and fitness instructor, and a legal career (she also has a J.D.) as a mediator, "with special training in conflict and alternative dispute resolution." Given her background, it would seem that Dr. Brown would be unusually well-qualified to understand why nurses might have a problem with the "Inner Nurse" test, and to address their concerns in a constructive way. However, we have been unable to persuade her to speak with us as to how we might work together to promote an accurate understanding of nursing. Frankly, we wonder if anyone has recently joked that Dr. Brown was just doing her job in order to "meet hot doctors," or suggested that Tickle brought her onto the executive team solely because she was so gentle, cheerful, dependable, or selfless. We doubt she would appreciate such suggestions any more than do the millions of men and women with nursing degrees, including the thousands with doctorates in nursing.

 
The Truth's Proposed Revision of the "Inner Nurse" Test

Below are our suggested revisions to the test, which we felt could actually be a vehicle to educate the public about the vital contributions nurses really make in saving lives and improving patient outcomes. We provided these to Tickle, but sadly, the company declined to use any of our test. First, we provide the revised test, and then the revised results.

The Truth's Revised "Inner Nurse" Test

1. Your patients would say you're more:
          Hard-working
          Knowledgeable
          Dependable
          Proactive

2. Best thing about nursing?
          Saving and improving lives
          Job security and flexibility
          Professional status
          Meeting hot physicians and deflating their egos

3. Would you rather work:
          The night shift
          The day shift
          The easy shift
          The dangerously understaffed shift

4. According to the song, the knee bone's connected to the:
          Thighbone
          Shinbone
          Leg bone
          Nurse's head during assault by disturbed patient

5. More than anything else, nursing requires:
          Patience
          Persistence
          Multitasking ability
          Critical thinking

6. Favorite hospital show?
          Scrubs
          ER
          General Hospital
          Strong Medicine
          None -- no current show adequately portrays nurses

7. The best patients to work with are:
          Kids
          Good listeners
          Anyone who needs help
          Anyone who's under anesthesia

8. Being a nurse makes you feel:
          Proud
          Fulfilled
          Professionally challenged
          Frustrated that you can't do more

9. Where would you rather work?
          A nursing home
          A hospital
          A school
          An advanced practitioner's office

10. Your biggest asset as a nurse is your:
          Interpersonal and advocacy skills
          Critical thinking skills
          Experience
          High threshold for challenges

11. You wouldn't make your rounds without your:
          Stethoscope
          Stickers and lollipops
          Cheerful smile
          Brain

12. Best way to stay healthy is to:
          Take care of yourself
          Live a moderate lifestyle
          Have good genes
          Keep a positive attitude

13. Which nursing field excites you the most?
          Emergency care
          Home healthcare
          Elderly care
          Outpatient care
          Community care
          Neonatal care

14. When it comes to paperwork, you usually manage to:
          Stay on top of it
          Keep it under control
          Get buried under it

15. Best definition of someone with an RN next to their name?
          Registered Nurse
          Registered Nonentity
          Registered Nobel Prize candidate
          Registered Nutcase

 
The Truth's Partially Revised "Inner Nurse" Test Results

Example: Sandy, your score is 57. Please click on your score category below:

0-20 -- You're like Nurse Betty from the Movie
21-40- -- You're like Greg (Gaylord) Focker from "Meet the Parents"
41-60 -- You're like Florence Nightingale

Nurse Betty from the Movie

OK, so maybe Nurse Betty wasn't exactly playing with a full deck, but she, like you, sure is sweet as pie. You and Betty both have the best of intentions when it comes to life — even if you might be a little doe-eyed from time to time. But it's part of that romantic nature that makes you so charming. Caring and giving, you're the type of person people count on when they need a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand. We wouldn't be surprised to see you handing out lollipops, stickers, hugs, or other treats to patients. You'll do whatever you can to make them feel better. You can't help it. You're nice.

And that's why you, like Nurse Betty, may be well suited to a job as a nurse's aide, housekeeper or other hospital worker in a support position. We do need compassionate people in nursing, but being a registered nurse requires critical thinking and patient advocacy skills, intense focus, hard work, and years of college-level training. If you want to save and improve lives, and think you're up to the job of a real nurse, we urge you to consider applying to nursing school. It's a professional career with tremendous potential and rewards, and there are plenty of scholarships and loans available for nursing students now. Click here to find out more.<www.discovernursing.com>. If you're not ready to go to school now, there are still plenty of satisfying, important jobs open to you in health care.

Want to find new ways to put your kind heart and personal skills to work in 2005? Click here for the top health care jobs in your area!

Greg (Gaylord) Focker from "Meet the Parents"

Laughter may not quite be the best medicine, but it can improve your health. And it looks like you are skilled at using humor as a remedy for what ails you, or your patients, for that matter. Like Gaylord (Greg) Focker from the film, you've got a finely-developed funny bone and you're not afraid to use it. With your disposition, you can lighten even dark moods and more importantly, help patients have a better attitude about their nursing care plan, which may involve pushing them to do things they may not think they can do! You have the professional commitment and problem-solving ability to keep your patients on the road to recovery.

Like your nurse counterpart (who, let's not forget, endures constant ribbing for being a male nurse), you're proud of your profession, show real courage, and enjoy using your education and experience with people. You feel fulfilled when you care for others and maybe even get them to laugh, too — even if they're laughing at, not with, you. So keep lifting people's spirits as you keep them alive, and don't be afraid to educate people in your lighthearted way about who nurses really are and what they really do. By empowering nursing, you'll be helping your patients too!

Want to find new ways to put your nursing skills to work in 2005? Click here for the top jobs in your area!

You're like Florence Nightingale

Tickle's nurse logoLike the nursing idol herself, you're determined and visionary in your efforts not just to care for patients, but to change entire social and health systems for the better. Your brave nurse counterpart helped out on the front lines during the Crimean War, pushed for better hospital conditions, founded modern nursing and had a tremendous influence on social and health policy and science, including the field of statistics. And it's your similar commitment to raising the bar on nursing standards and health care that puts you in her fine company.

Like her, you're committed and intelligent, and you can be a fierce fighter who's not afraid to go the extra mile to help your patients — or the greater good of humankind, for that matter. Whether you're improving the condition of one patient, a whole hospital, an entire school body, or the nation and wider world, it's clear that you've got the power to create lasting change. And that's what's sure to make you a well-respected and well-known health care leader.

Want to find new ways to put your nursing skills to work in 2005? Click here for the top jobs in your area!

 
July 2009 -- This campaign is now closed, since Tickle has shut down its operations. Thank you for your help on it.

 


 

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