The nursing image has become a major issue in the society as people have different perception about nursing. Some believe that nurses do their duties out of kindness. This has influenced the nursing image as most people do not see nursing as a good profession. Only few people in the society see nursing as an important profession and consider the qualification of the nurses (Younge & Niekerk, 2004). This has led to shortage of nurses in the country as minimal people join the nursing profession.
In addition, nurses do not have an opportunity to express themselves and this has made it hard for them to talk more about nursing image and led to poor working environment (Finkelman & Kenner, 2010). As a result nurses are required to use various strategies to improve the nursing voice and image. For instance nurses can use campaigns and the media to improve the nursing image and voice. This paper explores the nursing voice and the image. It examines the history of nursing image and voice. It will also examine how the media portrays the nursing image and how it has affected nursing image.
Lastly, the paper will analyze the future challenges (Graham & Claborn, 2006). The nursing image consists of various things. Firstly, the image of nursing involves the perception of nursing by people in the society and how nursing defines and sees itself. Nurses differ on the definition of nursing and this has made it hard to enhance the nursing image. Florence Nightingale contributed a lot in the development of the nursing image. Nightingale established nursing. However, the image of nursing is as a result of the folk image, the military image and the religious image.
The folk image of nursing was as a result of the past cultures and civilization. During this time, nursing was considered a female role. Most people viewed nursing as an extension of mothering and mothers and family members who had the right skills were required to offer nursing services. The folk image of nursing consisted of various concepts like care, love, service and even support. The concepts have been transferred into ethical and professional codes of nursing (Graham &Claborn, 2006). The religious image has contributed a lot to nursing image.
The teaching of Christ stressed on various concepts that are common in nursing like love and services to other people. This led to extension of care to other people in the society. People cared for widows, the sick and the poor. Religious groups and people developed hospitals and home visiting services to serve the sick and the poor. The religious styles have played an important role in modern nursing as nurses are supposed to show love and care for the sick in the society. The ethical principles held by the religious leaders have been integrated into ethical codes of nursing and the professional codes of nursing.
Nurses were supposed to offer care and services to people out of love for human kind. The same idea is common among many people in the modern society and this has influenced the nursing profession negatively. The military image resulted from the need to have people care for people who were wounded after a battle. Women were required to care for the wounded. So, they waited at the edge of the battle fields to take care of people wounded in the war. The battle field medical care led to establishment of surgical procedures and wound care.
Florence Nightingale also contributed a lot to the development of wound care. Florence became famous after enhancing the care for the wounded at scutari during Crimean war in 19th century. The need for trained and skilled nurses to care for the wounded led to development of nursing. Florence Nightingale recognised the need to educate nurses so as to achieve optimum care for the sick. As a result Florence carried out research in sanitation and health to improve the nursing practice. She also developed a curriculum that was used to educate nurses (Younge & Niekerk, 2004).
Though Florence Nightingale led to development of nursing, she also affected the nursing image. Most people believe that Florence Nightingale has affected the nursing image thorough her beliefs. Florence believes that nurses should be lower in rank than doctors. In addition, Florence believes that nurses should not speak in public. Her beliefs have affected the nursing image greatly as many people do not know more about nurses and the nursing profession. Also, the beliefs have influenced the nursing image and voice as nurses are not able to express themselves.
In the modern society, nurses are subordinate to doctors and are not allowed to talk in public and therefore have no voice (Graham & Claborn, 2006). In today’s society media has affected the nursing image and profession through lack of attention. The media does not give enough attention to nursing and health care and this has resulted to poor perception about nursing. This was supported in a series of studies carried out to determine how the media affected the nursing image. A study was carried out in 1997 to determine ow the media portrayed nursing image and how it affected the nursing image.
The study noted that only few articles in the newspapers and magazines were related to health care. Articles in the magazines and newspapers linked to heath care accounted for less than ten percent of all the articles. Additionally, the results from the study showed that the media portrayed nurses negatively. The nurses were represented as incidental to nursing. The study showed that the public was not aware of the role of nurses. Hence, this has forced nurses to fight for their rights.
Majority of the nurses want to be thought of as independent and decision makers in their nursing fields instead of being subordinate to the doctors (Graham & Claborn, 2006). There are various implications that will hinder nurses, health care organisations and nursing institutions from improving nursing image (Buresh & Gordon, 2006). Examples include advancement in technology and the media. The growth in technology has affected the roles of nurses as nurses are required to integrate technology in health care services. Thus, nurses and nursing institutions should be able to adapt to the technology changes in order to improve the nursing image.
In addition, the media will continue to affect nurses and nursing image as long as it portrays nurses negatively. The media shows the public views when it portrays nurses negatively. Hence, nurses and nursing institutions should be able to monitor the media regularly to avoid influencing nursing image. They should be aware of nursing issues in different media and then develop strategies to counteract the negative image created by the media (Kearney, Richardson & Giulio, 2000). In conclusion, the nursing image and voice has affected the recruitment and retention of nurses and nurse students.
Most students find it hard to join the nursing profession because of the bad nursing image and thus join other careers (Kearney, Richardson & Giulio,P 2000). Poor nursing image has affected the working condition and quality of care and led to high nurse turn over. This is because nurses are not able to cope with the challenges in nursing field. The nursing image has been affected by the media, leaders and the nursing staff (Buresh & Gordon, 2006). The media has portrayed the nursing profession and nurses badly for the last few decades. For instance, it has shown nurses as being incompetent.
Moreover, the media has not given attention to health care issues and thus made it hard for people to know the role of nurses and nursing profession. The leaders have also viewed nurses as being subordinate and thus this has made them invisible (Finkelman & Kenner, 2010). Advertising nursing and using campaigns will help improve nursing image as it will make people aware of role of nurses and the nursing profession. Also, monitoring the media and adapting to technology changes will also help improve the nursing image (Joel & Kelly, 2003).