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Survey: Negative media portrayal of nursing on the increase


Media portrayal of nurses and nursing has got worse over the last year, according to just under half of respondents to our survey. 

We asked two questions on nurses’ views about the media in our latest annual survey, which was completed by nearly 750 people.

There has been a general perception that in the years since the scandal surrounding Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust that media coverage of nurses has gone from being largely positive to increasingly critical.

When asked whether they thought media portrayal of nurses and nursing has changed over the past 12 months, 47% said it had deteriorated, 38% that it had stayed the same and just 5% that it had got better.

Asked how they viewed the national media’s portrayal of nurses and nursing at present, 60% said it was “excessively negative”. This compared to 29% who thought was “about right” and 3% that it was “overly positive”.


1. How do you view the national media’s portrayal of nurses and nursing at present? 
It’s overly positive, we are not all ‘angels’   2.93%
It’s about right, hitting a balance between negative and positive stories       28.99%
It’s excessively negative, we are not all bad      59.45%
Don’t know   8.63%


2. Do you think media portrayal of nurses and nursing has changed over the past 12 months? 
Yes, it’s got better  4.56%
Yes, it’s got worse   47.56%
No, it’s stayed the same37.95%
Don’t know    9.93%



Readers' comments (3)

  • All the negativity started around 3 years ago, it has dedfinately become noticable, I work within the community and often hear about 'bad nursing' or people bad mouthing the NHS, this is not suprising given that the current government has very strong links to the main media providers....after all you have to show a service is failing before you can 'fix it'.

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  • Having worked in the NHS since the 60's when nurses were appreciated and respected completely I notice the negativity more than most I suppose. I think that patient expectation is so high now, due to promises from successive governments, that it is almost impossible to supply. I agree with the previous writer but also think that the governments are happy for nurses to be blamed for all NHS ills, because then they are not!

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  • healthy for expectations to be high, but they must also be realistic.

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