Beyond the Bedpan has always been a little concerned about the way nurses are seen by the public, but surely a little tongue in cheek humour isn’t going to change that?
Honestly, what is the world coming to when we can’t walk 10 yards down the street in our skimpy rubber nurse’s uniform without being wolf-whistled by grubby builders? If we’re not being leered at by patients we’re struggling to fend off the attentions doctors. It’s a wonder that we ever get any work done.
Ok, maybe not. But we wonder if that’s how some people see nurses? The image of nursing does come under a lot of scrutiny, especially when it comes to the public perception of the people underneath the uniform.
And this week’s story that a bus company is running an advert starring a seriously sexy female nurse in a tiny PVC uniform that wouldn’t look out of place in Ann Summers doesn’t do that perception any favours.
The adverts, on buses running between Worcester city centre and the hospital, have been praised and condemned in equal measure, but despite complaints that the image “demeans and devalues” the image of nursing, the bus company is sticking to its guns.
Beyond the Bedpan has been surprised by the support for both sides of the argument; Nursing Times readers are normally such a reticent bunch when it comes to sharing their opinions.
Many of our readers felt the advert was just a bit of harmless fun, and that only a frigid, old fashioned bore with too much time on their hands would think otherwise. Or words to that effect. “I don’t think the public perceive us as little nymphettes, and maybe we need to get over ourselves a little? Just my opinion.”
One reader wondered if people were also “offended by Casualty, Holby and Scrubs where nurses are quite often portrayed as incompetent buffoons!” Another added, “there are far more serious issues taking place on the planet than a flipping bus advertisement.”
But 40% of people we asked did think that the adverts were demeaning to nurses. One person was shocked at the blasé attitude of their own colleagues to the saucy portrayal: “Nurses dressed up in PVC with a cleavage is not what we are! Where is your pride? It gives the impression that the nurses are nothing but play things that dress up to please their patients.”
Many readers also asked what other messages the advert was giving out. “What permission does it give? What might be the antithesis of this image, the Hattie Jakes image? Are we back to the virgin and the whore again? After all these years?”
Not only is the advert gratuitous, it doesn’t go any way to dispelling the myth of nursing being a female-only profession, and one reader seemed keen to help address the balance. “As a male nurse, I feel discriminated against, as no one ever poses as a ‘sexy’ male nurse.” We’ve got a digital camera and a spare half an hour, we’d be happy to help. In the interests of balance, you understand.
Whatever your opinion, it seems to have been a successful advertising campaign. Beyond the Bedpan thinks we’ve all learnt something today. And that’s that buses to the hospital run from Worcester city centre every 30 minutes.
We should be grateful we don’t work Holland though. A union there has launched a campaign to gently remind patients that sex isn’t on the menu after it recieved complaints that some male patients were asking for more than a bedbath.
The campaign, called “I draw the line here”, features (yet another) attractive blonde nurse with her hands crossed in front of her face, and was launched after the union recieved the complaints from students.
The union said it was most surprised at the reaction of a care dependents interest group, Per Saldo. Aline Saers, the group’s managing director, expressed sympathy for the patients. “They are free to ask,” she said. “You are free to refuse.”
This must be a first. Beyond the Bedpan is lost for words.