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Nursing the Future: U.K. image campaign underway as poll finds public does not understand nursing, harmful stereotypes "alive and well"

June 16, 2004 -- An unsigned piece published today in the Edinburgh Evening News (Scotland), "Nurturing a better image for nurses," describes a new campaign to improve the image of nursing in the U.K., following a nationwide survey indicating that much of the public does not understand the varied responsibilities of modern nursing and does not believe nurses have the high status of physicians. Interviews with schoolchildren reportedly showed that "stereotypical views of nursing are alive and well" and that "low wages and stress" deter young people from choosing the profession.

The image campaign, "Nursing the Future," has been launched by the Nursing Standard publication, which has a "network of 26 nurse ambassadors" working with Members of Parliament, councilors and other interested persons on the campaign.

The Nursing the Future image campaign lists the following campaign goals:

  • To enhance the image and reputation of nursing and midwifery
  • To challenge and dispel misconceptions about nursing and midwifery
  • To empower nurses and midwives to publicise what they do
  • To encourage nurses and midwives to ‘sell’ their profession to future generations
  • To raise the public voice and profile of nurses and midwives
  • To encourage respect for the professions

The Evening News reports that the campaign is backed by the Department of Health and the Royal College of Nursing, whose general secretary, Beverly Malone, is quoted as saying that the time is right for the campaign because "[w]e never hear about the good nursing stories." According to the campaign's web site, it was inspired by the recent Johnson & Johnson-supported "Campaign for Nursing's Future" in the United States. The site also features recent Nursing Standard articles on the public image of nursing and the media.

The Evening News notes that many survey respondents felt that nurses are "not qualified to do their jobs," though 94% of the nurses surveyed said that they were "proud" to do them. None of the findings is explored in any depth in the article. Moreover, the reference in the title of the article to "nurturing," with that word's unhelpful maternal connotations, is arguably an example of the stereotypes the article mentions.

See the article "Nurturing a better image for nurses" in the June 16, 2004 edition of the Edinburgh Evening News (Scotland).



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