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'Ridiculous' sexy nurse advert inflames Unison


A television advert featuring “sexy” nurses has been slammed by Unison’s head of nursing Gail Adams as a “ridiculous fantasy”.

The advert for Head and Shoulders shampoo, produced by Procter & Gamble, features nurses in white uniforms and red high heel shoes singing in a shower scene.

Ms Adams said: “Nurses do a serious, professional job and deserve to be shown more respect.”

The Advertising Standards Authority said 26 formal complaints had been received but it was not planning to withdraw the advert.

One nurse who complained said the advert was yet another example of the “unnecessary sexualisation” of nurses.





Readers' comments (44)

  • What a lot of fuss. Again.

    On Sunday I was watching the soldiers arrive in Leeds city center for Armed Forces Day. Like many people I'm a bit of a sucker for men in uniform, but I have the utmost respect for the job they do: I'm afraid I think it deserves more respect than ours. Firemen (very sexualised in media) are similar.

    Surely when people see us at work they will recognise that we are competent, professional individuals. I really don't see why we can't also be attractive ones. A friend of mine who spent 6 months in hospital after a skydiving injury is very realistic about what our job involves. He still thinks nurses are hot. Given the unflattering nature of our uniforms I think that's quite an achievement!

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  • Latterlife Midwife

    Anonymous | 29-Jun-2010 7:26 am wrote:

    "What a lot of fuss. Again... Like many people I'm a bit of a sucker for men in uniform, but I have the utmost respect for the job they do: I'm afraid I think it deserves more respect than ours."

    Soldiers certainly do deserve much respect but I think it's sad that you don't think nurses deserve the same respect for what we do. I won't go into all the reasons why as it should be obvious.

    The problem may not be so much when the public sees us at work, though they seem to think we are magicians who can be all things to all people at all times and can be very unhappy with us, unrealistically so! TV and advert portrayals that are frivolous to the point of being insulting damage how people understand our roles, and sets up a preconceived notion of us as idiots, pill pushers, clockwatchers, and as sexually available. This could even taint how children and young people perceive nursing as a potential profession before they know any better.

    Our foremothers in both women's rights in general, and in nursing, fought against such stereotyping and we must keep up the fight when corporations seek to make money off of us in such negative ways. I do think it's important and do not simply brush it off as just a lot of fuss over nothing. Wish you did, too!

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  • When I began my nursing career some 35 years ago, there was an unflattering consensus that "nurses were easy" I thought that this image had died along with Hattie Jacques after seeing this advert this is obviously not the case.
    Yes I am one of the lucky people who enjoyed the swinging sixties and free spirit seventies, but I am also a very professional and dedicated nurse who by the way married my childhood sweatheart and still remain happily married. Nurses deserve the recognition for the job they do, adverts like this do nothing to help us achieve the recognition we deserve.

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  • I guess part of the reason patients can fantasise about nurses is because there is so much time to think when your lying there doing nothing, then i imagine these thoughts are passed on to others, hence nurses in uniform become sexualised.However many patients i've spoken to esteem nurses very highly, the other side of lying there doing nothing, is that they see the endless tasks we have to do and the way nurses selflessly give themselves to each task.
    It doesn't make it right to exploit the image of nursing through a shampoo advert, but i doubt very much if it will change the views of the general public, on how brilliant,intelligent,hardworking and selfless nurses really are. The world could not survive without them!

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  • I complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about those adverts and was told that whilst they had already investigated previous complaints the ASA did not think the adverts were demeaning or derogatory to nurses as they were filmed in a Hollywood retro style and not representative of todays nurses. I for one do not agree and think that if your going to have a fantasy about nurses its not going to be one in which we are wearing our PJ style uniforms!

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  • I think we need to realise that it is FANTASY!!!!!

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  • I dont htink we need to worry about this ad influencing how our patients see us-they already know we do a good job. My concerns is that the predominant images of nursing on TV are inaccurate and misrepresent the profession. If positive images of nursing were also shown to counter these images they would not concern me quite as much. If the only images young people see of nurses are sexy (this ad) idiotic/sex starved (Holby city) invisible and only useful as Drs assisstants (eg House) then it is not surprising there is a reluctance to enter the profession.

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  • Millions about to be cut from health budgets, healthcare staff soon to be thrown on to the dole and morale in healthcare at an all time low. Here's and idea, why not go and do something about the above with the millions we pay you every month.
    As for the po-faced and self-important 26 complainers, you've had your 15 seconds of fame, now go and get yourself a life instead of wringing your hands over a shampoo advert. Thankfully the ASA realised what you so clearly could not, it's a bit of fun meant to sell shampoo and nothing to be taken seriously. I'm sure something else will be along soon for you to whinge about. Animal cruelty to Meerkats forced to sell insurance perhaps?

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  • I think someone should make a response to this. How about the same advert but with male nurses in the same costumes, and instead of washing the guys hair we could have them emptying a nice colostomy bag or something?

    The public would love it!

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  • Anonymous of 10.02am: how is having an opinion that just happens to be the opposite of yours make the objectors of this silly advert 'self important' and 'po-faced' ect? You are being unnecessarily offensive. I'm sure you have opinions on things that I don't understand or agree with but I'd hope I'd have more respect for your views than you do with these ones. I agree to disagree with you. Simples. I am in total agreement with Gail Adams, and admire her for sticking her neck out and standing up for the reputation of nurses.

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