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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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Readers' comments (6)

  • How about Doctor WHo?
    Rory Williams is a male nurse and he showed he cared for his patients

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  • and people wonder why there aren't more men wanting to become nurses or male nurses staying in the profession.

    Equality and diversity have to be applied at all levels and on both sides of services (receiving and delivering care). If this is not done, then someone is not being treated right. Eventually something snaps.

    This isn't helped when the media (fact and fiction) shows that men aren't any good or don't want to work as nurses.

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  • Oh come on!!!! Look how well a female nurse is portrayed in Nurse Jackie....a drug addled, husband cheating, nut job!! But bloody hilarious. Can we stop getting tied up in PC knots over comedies and poor dramas which in no other way reflect reality for any nurse, male or female? There is a much more serious matter requiring attention.......who the hell is STILL watching Casualty?!

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  • tinkerbell

    what a load of old twonk. If a guy wants to become a nurse surely he can distinguish between reality and soap operas I hope.

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  • Do you think the people at NT actually believe the sh!te they write on here? Its TV, its not real, why not write something about the way the NMC are stitching up their registrants, how our unions are toothless and useless, no trivia will do.

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  • I'm a nurse and those perceptions still exsist,people still watch Casualty and believe that nursing is really like that and that male nurses are truly as they are depicted in this show

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