The Power of Mass Media and Feminism in the Evolution of Nursing’s Image: A Critical Review of the Literature and Implications for Nursing Practice

  • Jasmine GillEmail author
  • Charley Baker


Nursing has evolved, yet media representation has arguably failed to keep up. This work explores why representation has been slow in accurately depicting nurses' responsibilities, impacts on public perceptions and professional identity. A critical realist review was employed as this method enables in-depth exploration into why something exists. A multidisciplinary approach was adopted, drawing from feminist, psychological and sociological theories to provide insightful understanding and recommendations. One main feminist lens has been implemented, using Laura Mulvey’s ‘Male-Gaze’ framework for content analysis of three nurse-related advertisements to explore how the profession's female status influences representation, public perception and how this might impact nursing. Nurse representation has important real-world consequences. It is essential to improve unnecessary negative portrayals and contest ingrained stereotypes as there are costs to public opinion and nursing's self-identity. Nursing's female status has an impact within a male-dominated media industry, with a leisurely approach adopted toward changing representation. Media images become societally ingrained, this reiterates the significance of accurate/positive depictions. Social media is an instant method of communication with the public to combat stereotypes and maintain engagement to provide better understanding of what nurses do.


Nurse Media Representation Image 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Derby HospitalDerbyUK

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