I feel so good I'm gonna break somebody's heart tonight
August 15, 2007 -- Coast to coast, the naughty nurse continues her tireless efforts to sell alcohol and pop music to the needy. An April 19 Palm Beach Post article reports that Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil (right) will open Dr. Feelgood's Rock Bar and Grill this summer in West Palm Beach. The bar, named after a 1989 Crue album, will reportedly feature "waitresses dressed as nurses." Meanwhile, across the nation, Los Angeles has been enjoying Club Good Hurt, a nightclub where female bartenders dress in provocative "nurse" outfits, since 2004. Unfortunately, the undervaluation of nursing that this kind of imagery reflects is a factor in what may be the worst nursing shortage in U.S. history. So hard-partying bar patrons who need a real nurse may not be feeling so good.
In "Clematis getting Dr. Feelgood's, rock star, and memorabilia," the April 19 Palm Beach Post piece, Jeff Ostrowski reports that Vince Neil plans to open his bar on the resurgent Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach. In addition to the "nurse" waitresses, the 8,500 square foot bar will include "Neil's memorabilia." The name is drawn from a 1989 Motley Crue album and song. The song is unremarkable hair metal about the rise and fall of a drug dealer, with no real health care imagery, even in the video. (Watch the music video on YouTube.) We wish Neil had stuck with that approach for his bar. (Today, the Business Development Board of West Palm Beach told us that Dr. Feelgood's Rock Bar & Grill was not open, at least not yet. Vince Neil's website does not mention it.) But an August 8, 2007 article in the Palm Beach Post reports that Dr. Feelgood's will be moving into the Monkey Club's former space. The Monkey Club, which reportedly closed on Aug. 11, was owned by Cleve Mash, a co-owner of Dr. Feelgood's.
CBS news in Chicago reported on May 5 about two letters to the editor in the Palm Beach Post that quickly followed Ostrowski's article from nurses Deborah Copeland and Rebecca Pleasant who protested Vince Neil's new club idea. Each nurse did a good job explaining the damaging effects caused by the naughty nurse image on the value the public places on nursing care.
Across the nation, Club Good Hurt has been attracting L.A. patrons since 2004 with local bands and "nurse" bartenders like those pictured on this page. The Good Hurt's demographic seems a little more diverse than might be expected at Dr. Feelgood's; the Club's music ranges from techno to Grateful Dead cover bands. But the naughty nurse imagery is still pretty blatant, as the club's web site advises potential customers to "let our sexy nurses write your prescription for one of our signature drinks, like the Transfusion, and find out the true meaning of a Good Hurt."
Clearly, the naughty nurse knows no stylistic boundaries. Indeed, it's become clear that even cool music people like Jack White and Alison Goldfrapp can't resist the same old associations of nurses and romance. But naughty nurse imagery, beyond being so tired after all these years, degrades nursing. It suggests, albeit in a "joking" way, that nursing is a trivial job that could (and ideally would) be all about providing sexual services. This reinforces a stereotype that discourages potential and practicing nurses, and that undermines nurses' claims to adequate resources during a global shortage that is taking thousands of lives.
Please urge those responsible for Dr. Feelgood's and Club Good Hurt to leave nurses out of their marketing plans.