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Saving LivesWhy the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk$
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Sandy Summers and Harry Jacobs Summers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199337064

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337064.001.0001

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You Are My Angel

You Are My Angel

(p.217) 7 You Are My Angel
Saving Lives

Sandy Summers

Harry Jacobs Summers

Oxford University Press

The media commonly presents nurses as angels of mercy or loving mothers. Even many nurses and their supporters embrace the angel image. Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future has aired gooey, soft-focus television advertisements about “the importance of a nurse’s touch.” For Nurses Week in 2011, Kaiser Permanente ran a radio advertisement that relentlessly portrayed nurses as selfless angels, as exemplified by a reference to a nurse’s “gargantuan heart all squishy with compassion thumping away.” Compassion and caring are important parts of nursing, but the extreme emphasis on angel qualities reinforces the sense that nursing is not about thinking or advanced skills. It implies that nurses, as virtuous spiritual beings, need little education, clinical support, or workplace security. Nursing was traditionally seen as a religious vocation. But today, angel imagery suggests that nursing is not a modern profession and deters nurses from advocating for themselves and their patients.

Keywords:   angel, maternal image, nursing recruitment campaigns, tributes to nurses, Johnson & Johnson, Nurses Day, Nurse Week, compassion in nursing, religion, spirituality, nursing advocacy

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