Nursing Notes

April 8, 2010

Nurses speak out against “naughty nurse” image

Carey at Edwards Air Force Base during the mak...
Image via Wikipedia

For nurses everywhere, the advancement of the image of the “naughty nurse” is demeaning and sexist.  The damage done to our profession by this image is limitless.  In a time when the nursing profession is facing a critical shortage and we need our youth to consider joining the profession, what do we think their response will be when they see such images plastered all over the television, movies, magazines and newspapers daily?

I don’t personally have animosity towards Ms. Carey.  She is doing what she does best and that is sell SEX via a song and by using her body.  However, nursing is not a profession of sluts or unsatisfied sex-slaves.

It is bad enough that we have been battling the image of the “Doctor’s handmaiden” for so long.  Now we must also battle the image of nurses as addicts, nurses as sex-driven, nurses as incompetent helpers.  We should ask ourselves this question:  How will we deal with it when there are no nurses left?

This argument will probably continue long after this video has passed on and Ms. Carey will continue to make wonderful music and please her fans.  The issue is not Ms. Carey.  The issue is the way nurses are portrayed in the media.


For years, nurses have been fighting an uphill battle to change the way the public views them as professionals. With television shows like Nurse Jackie, Grey’s Anatomy, and Mercy each portraying nurses in a different light, it’s no wonder the public’s view of nurses is skewed. Even the phrase “naughty nurse” has the public believing female nurses should be wearing white stockings, a short skirt, and heels while attending to their patients.

In an effort to change this belief, nurses around the world are speaking out against Mariah Carey’s recent music video for her song “Up Out My Face.” Nurses want Carey to reconsider the video, in which Carey and fellow pop star and rapper Nicki Minaj are wearing white stockings and high heels.

“I’m sure Ms. Carey was inspired by the nursing research that shows how music can improve patient outcomes, and she just wanted to pay tribute to the profession, ” said Sandy Summers, executive director of Baltimore-based advocacy group The Truth About Nursing, in a press release. “But these images associate nursing with female sexuality, undermining our claims to adequate resources.”

Millions have already viewed the video, but Summers thinks this may mislead people who do not know much about the profession into thinking nursing is just “a tired sex joke, not a life-saving profession for college-educated men and women.”

To view Mariah Carey’s video, click here.

What are your opinions about the video? Should Mariah Carey reconsider the music video and its effects on the nursing image?

Source: The Truth About Nursing

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