Literature review on the images of the nurse and nursing in the media

J Adv Nurs. 1990 Jul;15(7):850-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1990.tb01917.x.


This study concentrates on the images of the nurse and nursing seen most commonly in the media and attempts to trace the images back to their origins and to explain their continued use, despite the rapidly changing role of the nurse in today's world. The images have been derived mostly from the historical roots of nursing and sometimes as a reaction to the increasing influence of the feminist movement. The author takes a look at the four main images of the nurse seen in the media, which are the ministering angel, the battleaxe, the naughty nurse and the doctor's handmaiden and then goes on to take a brief look at the other images commonly perpetuated by the media. The author summarizes the probable effects of the media stereotypes on nurses themselves and the service they provide and also takes a look at attempts to dispel these stereotypes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mass Media*
  • Nurses*
  • Social Perception*
  • Stereotyping