Sexualizing Nursing

For decades, the nursing profession has been sexualized the media.

We have all seen the short skirt, cleavage, high stockings, and high heels nurse costume that reinforces the “sexy nurse” stereotype.

My question is this: why have we, as nurses, allowed this for so long?

To me, the only thing that these sexualized images, costumes, and roles in the entertainment industry foster for the actual profession of nursing is disrespect. It downplays the intelligence necessary to do the job of a nurse, perpetuates sexual abuse, and discourages potential nurses and practicing ones. Why are have we been okay with this for so long? And if you are thinking, “I haven’t been okay with it”, then why are we still allowing it?

You see, there really isn’t that much to joke or fantasize about when it comes down to what our nurses do for patients every single day. Sure, we have nursing humor, but it has nothing to do with sex or being sexy in the workplace. Especially considering there are over 300,000 males in nursing, condoning an industry that makes us out to be sex objects is insulting and just completely inaccurate.

It may not seem like a huge deal to some people (I am assuming to the people who could not explain what a nurse actually does during his or her shift if their life depended on it), but the truth is that it is dangerous. Pet names, groping, and lewd comments are dangerous, and nurses are often targets of this type of sexual harassment. Does this not blow anyone else’s mind? That NURSES, the people who spend their entire life (including most holidays) caring for complete strangers, are the targets of sexual harassment by the people they are caring for and the ones they work with?!  We, as a society, must be better than this. I’ll be the one to say it: it is disgusting. Nurses, I am here to tell you, you do not have to put up with this. You deserve so much better, and I appreciate the intense hard work you put in every single day. It is time we start standing up for ourselves and the sanctity of our profession. It is time we started demanding the respect that we deserve.

Nurses work extremely hard, and for the record, we wear scrubs and a stethoscope to work. We save lives every single day. We had to work super hard to be licensed to take care of you and we continue to work super hard as we do it. So, the next time you need one of us, a simple “thank you” will suffice. Leave the patronizing pet name off the end, it just simply doesn’t belong anywhere near us.

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