The nursing profession should harness the power of the video-sharing website YouTube to promote a positive image of nurses, said study authors who investigated the portrayal of nurses on some of the most popular videos.
The researchers examined the YouTube database to find the most viewed videos for "nurses" and "nursing" as of July 2010. They included 96 videos after preliminary analysis of the first 50 hits for each word. They analyzed the top 10 hits, attracting between 61,695 and 901,439 views, in greater detail.
"Our study found that nurses were depicted in three main ways — as a skilled knower and doer, a sexual plaything and a witless incompetent," coauthor Gerard Fealy, PhD, from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems at University College Dublin in Ireland, said in a news release.
Key findings of the study, which appears in the August issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing, included:
• The 10 most viewed videos reflected a variety of media, including promotional videos, advertising, excerpts from a TV situation comedy and a cartoon. Some texts dramatized, caricatured and parodied nurse-patient and interprofessional encounters.
• Four of the 10 clips were posted by nurses and presented images of them as educated, smart and technically skilled. They included nurses being interviewed, dancing and performing a rap song, all of which portrayed nursing as a valuable and rewarding career. The nurses were shown as a distinct professional group working in busy clinical hospitals, where their knowledge and skills counted.
• Nurses were portrayed as sexual playthings in media-generated video clips from the sitcom Frasier, a Virgin Mobile commercial set in a hospital, a lingerie advertisement and a "soft news" item on an Internet videocast. All showed the nurses as provocatively dressed objects of male sexual fantasies and willing accomplices in their advances.