A trust in the North West has insisted it respects its nurses after receiving sharp criticism from nursing academics about the style of a job advert that they viewed as demeaning to the profession.
Over the Easter weekend, Wigan, Wrightington and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust used the social media site Twitter to highlight a job advert aimed at recruiting staff nurses.
“Perhaps, they don’t think nursing is a serious job”
The trust, which currently has four band 5 and two band 6 nursing vacancies listed on its website, accompanied its Twitter post with a picture – now removed – of three smiling nurses behind another lying on a hospital trolley.
But the style of the image angered several nurse academics, including Professor June Girvin, former pro vice chancellor and executive dean of the health and life sciences faculty at Oxford Brookes University.
She described the advert as a “disgraceful” way of portraying “skilled professionals”, and that she considered it “disrespectful and denigratory towards nursing”. “This is a fail on so many counts,” she said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Elaine Maxwell, associate professor in leadership at London South Bank University, compared it to another job advert issued by the trust for a communications officer.
“Perhaps, they don’t think nursing is a serious job,” she said, highlighting the more sober tone of the public relations job advert.
On Tuesday morning, the trust responded by altering the image that accompanied the advert.
“We do have the highest respect for nursing… I apologise for any unintended offence”
It also posted on Twitter, saying: “Sorry if this has upset anyone. It’s part of a larger campaign, meant to show the softer/fun side of nursing. We’ve upmost respect for all staff.”
However, it was met with further criticism by nurses questioning whether the trust understood the issue that had been raised about the nature of the advert and asking whether a similar approach would have been considered showing the “fun side” of being a doctor.
Several hours later, the trusts’ chief executive Andrew Foster intervened in the row. In a direct tweet to the two academics and others, he said he had looked into the advert and what had happened.
“We do have the highest respect for nursing in Wigan, Wrightington and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust,” he said. “I apologise for any unintended offence.”