NURSES, indeed, play a crucial role in the healthcare industry, and their dedication and contribution are vital, especially in emergencies and pandemics. However, it is unfortunate that they often do not receive the recognition and respect they deserve. One of the factors contributing to this negative perception is the national media, particularly the Pakistani drama industry, which used to be known for its ability to address societal issues.
In recent years, there has been a concerning trend in the way nurses are depicted in Pakistani television plays. It is disheartening to witness the stereotypical view of nursing in dramas where nurses are often portrayed as mere assistants to doctors, holding trays and standing behind them like spectators. They are never shown as professionals working in a life-and-death situation. This starkly contrasts with the true essence of the vital role they play in the overall healthcare delivery mechanism.
This inaccurate image of nursing can have several detrimental effects. It can discourage aspiring students from pursuing nursing as a career, as they may perceive it as unprofessional or unimportant.
Besides, it can also erode the morale of nurses themselves, as they start to feel undervalued and ineffective when society views them negatively.
The media wields greatly influence, showcasing the negative image of nursing through drama serials. A popular serial showed a nurse as a thief who runs away after stealing gold bangles of a patient. Another one showed a couple of nurses giving wrong medication to patients just to put them to bed. These and other such depictions demean the profession, eroding trust between nurses and society at large.
Patients and their families are made to doubt the competence of nurses. The repercussions of such storylines include misconception of the nursing profession at large, and members of the public remain uninformed about the actual roles and responsibilities of nurses.
These negative images have become the reason for the shortage of nursing staff that plagues the system. Many talented nurses opt to work abroad due to the lack of recognition and appreciation in society.
The truth of the matter is that nurses have an enormous responsibility, and take control of managing the needs of their patient independently.
The scope of nursing practices has expanded. It is no more about merely assisting the physicians. They are educators, researchers and leaders.
In a recent national poll in the United States, nursing was ranked the most trusted profession. This was not the first time the profession got so highly ranked.
As the healthcare industry is growing rapidly, so is the demand for healthcare professionals. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicted in 2019 that nursing will be the fastest-growing profession in the country.
Sustainability of registered nurses and encouraging students to opt for the nursing profession will only be possible by accurately showcasing the importance of nursing. There is a need to change the misconception about the noble profession of nursing. For instance, how about inviting nurses to the morning shows that every channel runs every day? Not bad for a start, right?
The dedication of the nurses and their compassion and unwavering commitment to healing deserve the recognition and respect they have earned over the years.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023