Ranting post, Ranting post. Don't say you weren't warned. Continue at your own risk:
So, as you all know from the name of this blog and prior postings, I am a registered nurse. I have a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. A 4 year degree. At a University. Nursing is a profession. I see it that way, I've always seen it that way. Yes, traditionally, nursing has been a female profession. Unfortunately, that is a negative
stereotype that we as a profession have been trying to overcome for as long as there have been nurses. We are not handmaids, we are not inferior to physicians. We have our own specialties and insights that few, if any physicians, will ever be able to grasp. When I entered the collegiate world, I was originally a pre-med student. In the middle of my Fall semester, sophomore year, my Dad had a heart attack. A big heart attack. He was hospitalized at the university affiliated teaching hospital. I took the rapid transit from the university station and got off at the hospital's station with all the medical students and my fellow nursing students to visit him whenever I could. Before class, during breaks, for lunch, after classes. What I saw while I visited was that I did not really want to be a doctor, I wanted to be a nurse. I was able to directly see the differences between the medical profession and the nursing profession. I chose nursing. I loved nursing then and I love it now.
So, what's the problem you might ask? Well, for the whole 17 years of my nursing career I have had a battle with many convincing them that nursing was indeed a profession. A free standing profession. Nurses can (and DO) make decisions and take actions that literally save lives every day. I have had to make physicians, families, PATIENTS understand the importance and value of nursing as a profession over and over again. I knew all of this going in. I accepted that challenge form the beginning and continue to fight it daily.
Again, so what's the problem Jannett? Well, here's the problem. I was recently told of a website for an organization (no need to name as that's not really
the problem here) that has issues with ER and other medical shows for their poor representation of nurses. "GREAT!", I said in my ignorance of what I would find there. I went to the site. I read the information on the site and went as far as joining their campaign against ER by mailing out the form letter they have available on said site.
I then was intrigued and went further into the site to join their organization. I began to look over the different pages on joining, gaining 'points' and the merchandise available for purchase. I then FROZE and was appalled. They were offering a male nurse action figure to promote the nursing profession. In doing so they staed that they were trying to validate nursing as a profession because even men are entering into it ("you can buy them as birthday gifts to promote men in nursing and nursing overall" - can you believe that
one?). Was there a corresponding female action figure you might wonder? Heck no! As if the mere entry of a penis into our ranks would then validate the hundreds of years of rich nursing history in which there were no men amongst us. AUUGH!
Don't get me wrong. I sincerely understand the plight of male nurses and how difficult a stereotype it is for them to enter our profession. However, I am concerned about the message being sent to females about action figures and themselves as nurses. Why can't a FEMALE be an action figure? Why is it that nurses were never seen or portrayed as figures of action until men began to enter the profession? Why should men be spotlighted now because they finally are entering into one of the most rewarding and amazing profession in the healthcare industry? Where were all the spotlights before???
As a nurse, I agree with and join in on advocating the nursing profession and am vocal about the misrepresentation of nurses in media, TV and movies. I have lived with 17 years of fighting this battle. Even while I attended university for my BSN, I was angered with the show 'Nightingales' in which all the nurses seemed to be airheaded, sex-starved women who wore short skirts and heels at work
. I am very feminine and love being pretty and dressing up but I take offense to that portrayal of the nursing profession. My DH will attest to the fact that I am truly a girly girl. That's not the issue here.
Now, 17 years later, I see more and more males entering our profession. BRAVO! I applaud them for finally valuing the profession of nursing and going beyond the stereotype of nursing as a 'woman's' job. However, I am equally (if not more so) appalled that now that men have started to become nurses, the emphasis has been placed on how strong MALE nurses are and how thankful we should be that men are becoming nurses. As if they were coming to the rescue of the nursing profession. That's a load of crap.
I feel that a new stereotype is beginning to unfold: male nurses are superior to female nurses. It seems as though everywhere I turn, male nurses are being commended above female nurses, nurse action figures are males but nurse Barbie dolls are females. MALE nurses are being portrayed as the dominant superior form of the nurse in ads, on TV and in movies. Doctors that I work with are much more likely to heed a male nurse's opinion over a female nurse's opinion regardless of experience or knowledge base. Male nurses on TV and in movies are the ones that 'save the day' while the female nurses mostly pine away after the doctors. We are allowing a whole new prejudice and patronizing atmosphere for the traditional female nurse to emerge by continuing to bow down to men entering nursing.
I WILL NOT join the site's group. Not when they are promoting a new injustice that has begun for all female nurses on a daily basis. We now are not only seen as inferior to physicians, but to our male counterparts as well. Bring on the FEMALE nurse action figure ALONG WITH the male nurse action figure. As a group we need to promote the WHOLE of nursing. We don't need to add another avenue of discrimination within our very ranks and further tear apart our profession along gender lines.
AUUGH, I could just spit nails right now.