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Portrayals of Nurses: Original Research

See our in depth FAQ which cites many research studies:

Q: I get that the public health community and even Hollywood itself believes that the entertainment media has a big effect on real world health. But is there any actual research showing it affects what people think and do about health issues like nursing?

Our book:

Summers, S., & Summers, H. J. (2015). Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All At Risk (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See other supporting studies and articles:

We have a separate page on the sexual harassment and assault of nurses here.

Maureen Anthony, Jill A. Turner, Megan Novell, "Fiction Versus Reality: Nursing Image as Portrayed by Nursing Career Novels" in Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 2019;24(2).

Cristina Escobar & MarySue V. Heilemann. "Reimagining Nursing on Screen: How Marvel's Claire Temple and BBC's Call the Midwife Get It Right." January 2019. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.

Mason, D.J., Glickstein, B., & Westphaln, K. (2018). Woodhull Study Revisited.

Mason, D.J., Glickstein, B., & Westphaln, K. (2018). Journalists' experiences with using nurses as sources in health news stories. American Journal of Nursing, 118(10), 42-50. doi:10.1097/01.NAJ.0000546380.66303.a2

Rodrigo José Martins Cardoso, João Manuel Garcia Nascimento Graveto, Fernando António Dias Zamith. February 2019. Reaching out: Organizational structures and public communication of nursing professional associations and trade unions in Portugal Nursing Forum.

Glerean, N., Hupli, M., Talman, K., & Haavisto, E. (2017). Young peoples' perceptions of the nursing profession: An integrative review. Nurse Education Today, 57, 95-102. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2017.07.008

NINRnews (2015, July 24). From the silver screen to the web: Portrayals of nurses in media [Video file].

Heilemann, M.V. (2012). "Media images and screen representations of nurses." Nursing Outlook, 60(5Suppl.), S1-3. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2012.04.003

Lauzen, M. M. (2018, September). Boxed In 2017-18: Women on screen and behind the scenes in television (2017-18 Report). The Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film.

Holloway, Shayla M., "Out of the darkness and into the limelight: How Nurse Jackie betters the nursing image". (2017). Senior Honors Projects. James Madison University, JMU Scholarly Commons

Carroll, Stacey M. & Katherine C. Rosa (2016) "Role and Image of Nursing in Children's Literature: A Qualitative Media Analysis," Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 2016 Mar-Apr;31(2):141-51. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2015.09.009. Epub 2015 Nov 24

The Representation Project. (2018, October). About The Representation Project.

Roslyn Weaver, Caleb Ferguson, Mark Wilbourn, & Yenna Salamonson. (2014). "Men in nursing on television: exposing and reinforcing stereotypes," Journal of Advanced Nursing, April; 70(4): 833-42. doi: 10.1111/jan.12244.

Roslyn Weaver, Yenna Salamonson, Jane Koch & Debra Jackson. (2013). "Nursing on television: student perceptions of television's role in public image, recruitment and education," Journal of Advanced Nursing 69, no. 12, (December): 2635-2643.

Angelo Dante, Lorena Rizzi, Barbara Ianderca & Alvisa Palese. (2013). "Why do university students not choose a nursing degree at matriculation? An Italian cross-sectional study," International Nursing Review, March; 60(1):129-35. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-7657.2012.01037.x

Morteza Rezaei-Adaryani, Mahvash Salsali, Eesa Mohammadi. (2012)."Nursing image: an evolutionary concept analysis," Contemporary Nurse  Dec. 43(1):81-89.

Jacinta Kelly, Gerard M. Fealy & Roger Watson. (2012). "The image of you: Constructing nursing identities in YouTube," Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(9), 1804-1813, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05872.x.

Turow, J. (2012). Nurses and doctors in prime time series: The dynamics of depicting professional power. Nursing Outlook, 60(5 Suppl), S4-11. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2012.06.006

McHugh, K. (2012). Nurse Jackie and the politics of care. Nursing Outlook, 60(5 Suppl), S12-8. doi:10.1016/j.outlook.2012.06.003

Deborah A. Boyle. (2010). "The invisibility of nursing: implications from an analysis of National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center web sites," Oncology Nursing Forum. March; 37(2): E75-83. doi: 10.1188/10.ONF.E75-E83.

Gavin R. Neilson and William Lauder. (2008). "What do high academic achieving school pupils really think about a career in nursing: Analysis of the narrative from paradigmatic case interviews" Nurse Education Today, 28 680-690. See our analysis or go directly to the study.

Beatrice J. Kalisch, Suzanne Begeny & Sue Neumann. (2007). The image of the nurse on the Internet, Nursing Outlook 55 no. 4 (Jul-Aug): 182-188.

Takase, M., Maude, P., & Manias, E. (2006). "Impact of the perceived public image of nursing on nurses' work behaviour." Journal of Advanced Nursing, February 53 (3), 333-343.

Alice R. Boyington, Cheryl B. Jones, Dianna L. Wilson. (2006). “Buried Alive: The Presence of Nursing on Hospital Web Sites,” Nursing Research, March/April 55, (2) 103-109.

Terry Ferns and Irena Chojnacka. (2005). "Nursing stereotypes: angels and swingers, matrons and sinners," British Journal of Nursing, 10/2005; 14(19):1028-32. DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2005.14.19.19947.

Linda S. Smith. (2003). "Image Counts -- Greeting Cards Mail It in When It Comes to Accurately Portraying Nurses," Nursing Spectrum, Oct. 1, (Southern ed.).

Lusk, Brigid. (2000). "Pretty and powerless: Nurses in advertisements, 1930-1950." Research in Nursing & Health, 23 (3), 229-236.

Leah F. Binder. (1994). The quintessential working women: Primetime television's depiction of nurses 1973 to 1992, a thesis in communication. Full text in pdf.

Duncan, PAA. (1992). Media portrayals of nursing versus the actual work of nurses. Dissertation. Syracuse University Library.

Kalisch, P. & Kalisch, B. (1987). The changing image of the nurse. Menlo Park, Calif.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., Health Sciences Division.

Kalisch, Philip & Kalisch, Beatrice. (1986). A comparative analysis of nurse and physician characters in the entertainment media. Journal of Advanced Nursing, Mar; 11 (2), 179-195. abstract  full text in pdf   Click here for a detailed summary of the article.

Kalisch, P. A. & Kalisch, B. J. (1985). When Americans called for Dr. Kildare: images of physicians and nurses in the Dr. Kildare and Dr. Gillespie movies, 1937-1947. Medical Heritage. Sep-Oct, 1 (5), 348-363. full text in pdf

Kalisch, B. J. & Kalisch, P. A. (1984). The Dionne quintuplets legacy: establishing the "good doctor and his loyal nurse" image in American culture. Nursing & Health Care. May, 5 (5), 242-251. full text in pdf

Kalisch, P., Kalisch, B. & Scobey, M. (1983). Images of nurses on television. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

Kalisch, B. J. & Kalisch, P. A. (1983). Heroine out of focus: media images of Florence Nightingale. Part I. Popular biographies and stage productions. Nursing & Health Care. Apr, 4 (4), 181-187. full text in pdf

Kalisch, B. J. & Kalisch, P. A. (1983). Heroine out of focus: media images of Florence Nightingale. Part II. Film, radio, and television dramatizations. Nursing & Health Care. May, 4 (5), 270-278. full text in pdf

Kalisch B. J. & Kalisch P. A. (1983). An analysis of the impact of authorship on the image of the nurse presented in novels.\ Research in Nursing & Health. Mar; 6 (1), 17-24. abstract     full text in pdf

Kalisch P. A., Kalisch B. J., Clinton J. (1982). The world of nursing on prime time television, 1950 to 1980. Nursing Research. Nov-Dec; 31 (6), 358-63. abstract    full text in pdf

Kalisch B. J., Kalisch P. A. & McHugh M. L. (1982). The nurse as a sex object in motion pictures, 1930 to 1980. Research in Nursing & Health. Sep; 5 (3), 147-154. abstract      full text in pdf

Kalisch, P. A. & Kalisch, B. J. (1982). The nurse-detective in American movies. Nursing & Health Care. Mar, 3 (3), 146-153. full text in pdf

Kalisch, P. A. & Kalisch, B. J. (1982). The image of the nurse in motion pictures. American Journal of Nursing. Apr, 82 (4), 605-611. full text in pdf

Kalisch, P. A. & Kalisch, B. J. (1982). The image of nurses in novels. American Journal of Nursing. Aug, 82 (8), 1220-1224. full text in pdf

Kalisch, P. A. & Kalisch, B. J. (1982). Nurses on prime-time television. American Journal of Nursing. Feb, 82 (2), 264-270. full text in pdf

Kalisch, B. J., Kalisch, P. A. & Scobey M. (1981). Reflections on a television image: The Nurses 1962-1965. Nursing & Health Care. May, 2 (5), 248-255. full text in pdf

Schorr, T. (1963). "Nursing's TV image: Television's nurses face a critical audience in their real-life counterparts." American Journal of Nursing, 63 (10), 119-121.

Last updated September 3, 2019

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