TV stereotypes can make life harder for nurses who are men

Sept. 22, 2013 at 12:23 AM
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SYDNEY, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Men portrayed as nurses on U.S. television shows are mocked, their sexuality questioned or provide comedic relief, researchers in Australia say.

Dr. Roslyn Weaver of the University of Western Sydney School of Nursing and Midwifery, and colleagues Caleb Ferguson, Mark Wilbourn and Yenna Salamonson analyzed the roles of men as nurses in five U.S. TV programs: "Grey's Anatomy," "Hawthorne," "Mercy," "Nurse Jackie" and "Private Practice" from 2007-10,

"The men were often subjected to questions about their choice of career, masculinity and sexuality, and their role usually reduced to that of prop, minority spokesperson or source of comedy," the researchers wrote in the study. "Thus, rather contradictorily, although the programs often sought to expose common stereotypes about men in nursing, they nonetheless often reinforced stereotypes in more implicit ways."

Previous research of female nurses highlighted stereotypical images, such as the battle-axe, naughty nurse and handmaiden.

However, more recent research focused on images of nurses who are men, because of the growing number of men in the profession, the researchers said.

The findings were published online ahead of the print edition of the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

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