Media Influence on Nursing

The media, and Hollywood in particular, is one avenue in which the general public becomes familiar with the role of nurses. How does the media positively or negatively influence the public’s image of nursing? What other avenues may better educate the general public on the role and scope of nursing as well as the changing health care system? The media, and Hollywood in particular, is one avenue in which the public becomes familiar with the role of nurses. The media often times negatively influences the public image of nursing by broadcasting news coverage of nurses that have made mistakes on the job.

Unfortunately, on occasion those mistakes have lead to detrimental consequences for patients. There is also fictional portrayals of nurses, for instance HBO show Nurse Jackie, that is about a drug addicted nurse who steals drugs from the facility she works. It is rare to see coverage of hard working proficient nurses who perform their jobs treating patients and assisting physicians. If the media were to show coverage of hard working capable nurses, which would include the vast majority of practicing nurses, it would have a more positive influence on the public’s opinion of nurses.

The public needs to be educated on the role and scope of nursing as well as the changing healthcare system. There has been little done to inform the public on nurses role and responsibilities which include critical thinking, decision making and skillful management of risk, instead focus has been on the emotional aspect of nursing (Creasia & Friberg, 2011). One option to inform the public on nurses role might be educational seminars sponsored by health insurance companies or nonprofit organizations. Creasia, J. L. , and Friberg, EE. (2011). Conceptual foundations: the bridge to professional nursing practice.


  • Donelan, Karen, et al. “Public perceptions of nursing careers: The influence of the media and nursing shortages.” Nursing Economics 26.3 (2008): 143.
  • Hodgson, Corinne, Patrice Lindsay, and Frank Rubini. “Can mass media influence emergency department visits for stroke?.” Stroke 38.7 (2007): 2115-2122.
  • Jowett, Garth S., Ian C. Jarvie, and Kathryn H. Fuller. Children and the movies: Media influence and the Payne Fund controversy. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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