In this essay I will explore the common images of nursing and discuss how these images can influence and reflect the status of nursing within society. I conducted a series of interviews with five people under the age of twenty-five to determine some of the images of nursing, their negative and positive attributes and the reasons they exist. Further consideration of some of the broader implications of my research in conjunction with published readings on the subject, seem to indicate that gender norms; particularly in relation to the nurse as a female entity, have had a significant impact on common images. Perpetuated by the media, these images both reflect and reinforce the social status of nursing through out history.
I interviewed two female and three male students, all of whom were nineteen years of age. To maintain the private identity of the respondents the interviews were conducted on an individual basis and I have used the pseudonyms Belinda, Cathy, Andrew, Gary and Mathew.
Below I have provided a table of the information I collected from each participant regarding the images and descriptions of nurses, their work, previous contact with nurses, and whether I consider these images to be positive or negative.
In the endeavour to determine some of the prevailing images of nursing I began by asking "when you think of nurses what image immediately springs to mind?". Three participants responded with images of nurses as people who care. One described nurses as low paid females and one described the nurse as a doctor's helper. To ascertain why the respondents believe they hold these images I followed up with the question, "why does that image spring to mind?". Four respondents said that media was the reason and Belinda believes that a lengthy stay in hospital is the reason behind the...