Registered nurse perceptions of factors contributing to the inconsistent brand image of the nursing profession

Nurs Outlook. 2020 Nov-Dec;68(6):808-821. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2020.06.005. Epub 2020 Aug 4.


Background: Nurses have been overlooked as autonomous healthcare providers due to an inaccurate image which projects them as caring and trusted, yet lacking in influence and autonomy. It is important for nurses to understand the image their profession wishes to convey, how the image falls short, and what can be done to improve it.

Purpose: To examine responses of Registered Nurses (n = 286) describing factors influencing nursing's inconsistent brand image.

Methods: Qualitative data were thematically coded, analyzed, and grouped into eight influencing factors.

Findings: Factors contributing to nursing's inconsistent image included: variety of education/credentials, image not a priority, lack of leadership development, lack of professionalism, portrayals in the media and online, patients' personal experiences, treatment by other professional colleagues and gender role assumptions.

Discussion: A strong brand image could dispel outdated and inaccurate views while communicating new visionary leadership which aligns with priorities for the nursing profession.

Keywords: Inconsistent brand image; Nurses as leaders; Nursing; Professional image; Role development.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse's Role / psychology*
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nursing Care / standards*
  • Professionalism / standards*
  • Qualitative Research