Reaction to Canadian Nurse Cover Photo: Your thoughts??


Canadian Nurse January 2014 Publication (PDF)

I received a copy of Canadian Nurse yesterday in the mail.  The cover shows a picture (above) of a “Nurse” dressed in whites, cap and all.  The “uniform” however was more of the style you would see at a Halloween Store.  You know the one….low cut neckline, short skirts, thigh high stockings…….I think you get the picture.

nurse1I remembering thinking to myself…..Why? would a picture like that be on the cover my Nursing magazine.  I placed the magazine under the rest of the mail, and made a mental note to read the article later.

nurse2The next day, at work, a co-worker asked me if I had seen the cover of Canadian Nurse? She went on to say how “disappointed”…..Okay she used other words… Lets just say she had a very strong reaction to the picture.

nurse3I went home that night and read the article.  I found the article to well written and thought provoking.  I was very impressed with the group of Nurses who believed so strongly in their Nursing Profession, that they made it their mission to hold the media accountable for their portrayal of Nurses.  It made me think about my own practice, and how I would be perceived by the public.  There were more pictures of  “Halloween style uniform Nurse” with a “patient” and a “physician” that accompanied the article.  Stereotypes continued…. The Nurse: a blonde female.The Physician: a male.The Patient: a male.  Cartoon size needles, pill capsules…..nothing that could be taken seriously!! OR…..Could it?

nurse6My co-worker admitted she only skimmed the article.  We had a lively discussion, which included, the value in the freedom to do so, and ultimately, the mutual respect we have for one another to have a difference of opinion.  She did bring up some very valid points.

  1. Her husband/any male who looks at the cover does the little smirk grin thing… know the one!! I tested this theory on our male rounding physician, he tried very hard to be “professional” and not smirk….. it did not work!
  2. Did the picture need to be on the cover? Accompany the article at all?
  3. Why was the “model” on the cover different than the “model” in the pictures that accompanied the article.  Cover very “sensual?” article “cartoon-like” “goofy”
  4. How much did it cost to get the model? Money well spent?
  5. Does everyone read the article? Did Canadian Nurse respect the Nurses to whom the article was speaking about?
  6. “Our” Nursing Magazine should not be degrading “Us” and our Profession.

Like I said, valid points!

Wear-White-Wednesdays-UNAWear White Wednesday:  “We” as Registered Nurses are trying to educate the public about the value of Registered Nurses.  That our knowledge, and skill bring about more positive outcomes for our patients.  We are asking to be Respected as a Profession.  Does a picture of a “stereotypical Nurse” on Canadain Nurse create dialogue or damage our professional image?

img_2013calendar_cover1_popupThen there are the Firefighters…….and their very popular annual calendar.  Handsome, young, physically fit young men…..(any women?? Not sure)…wearing “some” of their fire fighting gear.  Somehow the rough and ready look gains them respect.

What do you think?

Yours in Nursing,

Heather Dean RN


4 thoughts on “Reaction to Canadian Nurse Cover Photo: Your thoughts??

  1. My first reaction was, “What the heck?” How could a professional nursing journal use this type of picture to represent our profession? WHY? Then immediately afterwards, I wanted to read more about what the author or journal was trying to communicate. This was the purpose of the sensational picture, to entice people to look more closely at the information the authors were trying to communicate. (Being an American nurse, I was unable to access the article without paying $81 for a subscription.)

    Because of our history, and our intimacy of care, we will always face innuendo. We are a profession that utilized prostitutes or “women of ill repute” in our earliest days, because they were considered expendable and of a very low class. We are also a profession which deals with bodies, and often those bodies are unclothed, or minimally clothed. These historical and current characteristics put our profession in a tenuous position. People who are ignorant of our education, professionalism, and responsibilities may mistake, underestimate, or sexualize our care. It is our professional responsibility to educate our patients and the public.

    It is important to uphold our reputations, to reflect on the ways that media portrays nurses, as I think the article probably suggests. At the same time we need to use our resources appropriately and efficiently. Raising concern about the nurse “costumes” is not worth the time or effort. More attention needs to be placed on the way the media portrays nurses in hospital dramas which are taken more seriously by the viewing public. Are nurses portrayed as merely hand servants to physicians, or are they shown taking on the enormous responsibility of nursing their patients? Are they intelligent, reflective and conscientious? Isn’t it more likely that the public learn about nursing through television shows like ER, Nurse Jackie, Grey’s Anatomy, etc. than through the Halloween costumes bought and worn for one night’s partying? Let’s put our efforts and resources where they count and can be most effective.

    Pennie E. Bucilla R.N.,B.N., J.D., M.A. (Ed), M.A. (Psych).

      1. Thank you so much! I just finished reading the article. I was surprised to see that the article was American. I wonder what Canadian Nurses are experiencing and if their experience is the same as the American.

  2. Thanks Pennie for well articulated comments. I was happy to see Al was able to provide you with the link so you could read the article. I believe the Canadian Nurse and American Nurse are having very similar experiences. Thinking back over the years “we” may have added to our image problem. Many of our campaigns, posters, advertisements focused on the angel of mercy type image of Nursings. I like to think we have improved on that! Television shows are definitely influencing the public opinion of our profession. If it is on TV, it must be true??? I applauded the Nurses in the article who are challenging the producers to provide the viewing public with a more accurate portrayal of the Nurse. I would be very interested to hear what the Male Nurses think about all this.

    Yours in Nursing,
    Heather Dean

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