The study of 280 films, produced between 1900 and 2007 from across the world, showed that 26% depicted nurses as sex objects.
Authors cited films such as Operation Petticoat (1959), Carry on Nurse (1959), Carry on Matron (1959) and Rosie Dixon Night Nurse (1978) as examples.
In early films, nurses are seen predominantly as heroines, romantic leads or self-sacrificial carers, with the First World War as a backdrop.
However more recently, the profession has increasingly represented as professional, capable, intelligent and strong, according to the authors.
Since 2000, there have also been four films depicting nurses as zombies, such as Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love (2005).
Authors wrote: ‘Nurses need to be aware that developing as a profession includes understanding how nurses are perceived and represented in and by the media.
‘The nursing profession and nursing students need to be skilfully educated to interpret the sub-text carried by the media.’