Image of a Nurse
Although implying a rather abstract person with a general set of healthcare skills, the concept of a nurse evokes a distinct and quite well-defined image in most people’s minds. The propensity to visualize a nurse can be attributed to the impact of media on people’s perceptions. Despite the current efforts at promoting diversity, a certain perception of a nurse has cemented itself in most people’s minds, which is not an entirely negative phenomenon, yet it signifies the need to focus on diversity.
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As a rule, a nurse is represented in media as a woman since a range of the qualities associated with this job is seen as typically feminine, such as the need to nurture and care for others (Hoeve, Jansen, & Roodbol, 2014). However, much to the credit of most modern institutions, a nurse is traditionally depicted as a qualified member of the healthcare personnel. However, in most types of media, a physician or a therapist typically plays the key role, whereas a nurse is relegated to representing an element of the support system. Therefore, one has to make changes to the modern representation of a nurse. It is highly recommended to shift the focus from therapists to nurses and show that the latter also have the agency in decision-making. Finally, the importance of a nurse’s role in educating patients needs to be shown.
While there are several generalizations regarding the representation of nurses in modern media, several efforts have been made to shed light on nurses’ role in healthcare. For instance, while a range of moviemakers takes artistic license with their representation of nurses, the tendency to shift the focus to nurses is worth appreciating. Among the most recent innovative decisions in rebuilding the image of a nurse, refusing to dress them up in white uniforms deserves mention (West et al., 2016). The proposed idea has several implications, the removal of a formal barrier between a nurse and a patient being the crucial one. Since the white uniform has been the staple of a nurse’s image for decades, it has become so dehumanized that dressing a nurse up as a regular person simplified the process of building patient-nurse relationships. As a result, the communication process is likely to occur more naturally since a nurse will be viewed not only as of part of the healthcare system but also as a human being.
I believe that how I dress is crucial to how patients will view me and, thus, will define the quality of our communication. Therefore, I prefer to choose the outfits that are evocative of a professional setting yet are not linked directly to the image of an operating theater. Thus, patients develop trust toward me without feeling distanced due to the specifics of patient-nurse relationships.
Although the current professional image of a nurse is becoming more diverse and positive, there are other strategies for improving it. For example, it is desirable to promote the idea of connectivity not only between a nurse and a single patient but also between a nurse and the community. As a result, one can enhance the process of inclusion and boost the effectiveness of cross-cultural communication in a healthcare setting. In addition, one may have to introduce the image of a nurse as a member of an interdisciplinary team and an expert that seeks to acquire new skills and grow professionally. Thus, the image of a nurse will become more diverse and set standards for the specified type of experts to uphold.
Hoeve, Y. T., Jansen, G., & Roodbol, P. (2014). The nursing profession: Public image, self‐concept and professional identity. A discussion paper. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(2), 295-309. Web.
West, M., Wantz, D., Campbell, P., Rosler, G., Troutman, D., & Muthler, C. (2016). Contributing to a quality patient experience: Applying evidence based practice to support changes in nursing dress code policies. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 21(1), 4. Web.
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