Male nurses portrayed negatively by TV dramas
Men in nursing on television are often represented in “narrow, stereotypical ways” that may potentially discourage men from considering nursing as a viable career, claim Australian researchers.
They assessed five US medical television programmes – Grey’s Anatomy, Hawthorne, Mercy, Nurse Jackie and Private Practice – for their portrayal of men in nursing.
Despite the programmes exposing some stereotypes of men in nursing, the researchers concluded that they also reinforced clichés more implicitly by casting the men as “minor players in nursing who were there simply for comedy, commentary or as minority spokesmen”.
“The male characters were often powerless, homosexual or effeminate, thus confirming previous research about narrow images of men in nursing,” they added. “Although the male characters were generally shown as competent, this was undermined by their minimal screen time.”
The researchers said: “While images of men in nursing on television are fictional, such images can have potentially negative implications for recruitment, practice and the profession.”
The University of Western Sydney study was published this month in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
However, it did not include the BBC’s Casualty series, which has featured senior charge nurse Charlie Fairhead since its inception 25 years ago.
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