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Problems thwarting nursing recruitment and retention

Inaccurate public perceptions of nursing

Perception that nursing is only for women

Perception that nursing is "too lowly"

Handmaiden stereotype

Angel stereotype

Image that advanced practice nurses are subcompetent stand-ins for physicians

"Naughty nurse" stereotype

Misbelief that only physician care matters

Invisibility of the nursing profession

Nurses rarely publicly speak about their work

The media rarely seeks out nurses for public opinion

Physicians take public credit for the work that nurses do

Media's reluctance to hold nurses accountable for their mistakes

Battle-axe stereotype

Insufficient respect for nursing clinical practice, education or research

Perception that nursing is a vocation, so nurses can and should be paid very little (See the article Why a Well-Paid Nurse is a Better Nurse)

Dangerous and disturbing working conditions for nurses

Physical abuse

Sexual abuse and sexual harassment

Emotional and psychological abuse

Physician disruptive behavior

Horizontal violence

Unsafe environments for patients


Substitution of technicians for RNs

Lack of clinical nurse specialists

Mandatory overtime

Unsafe environments for nurses

Lack of no-lift policies and equipment (also see AJN editorial)

Lack of support for safe equipment and technology such as:

writable syringes

needless IV systems such as this one by Baxter

safe needles

Retain nurses in the workforce

In addition to supporting nurses in the above areas, also:

Support their efforts to become certified in their fields

Staff units well


Last updated September 22, 2020

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