Describe how the nursing profession is viewed by the general public. Discuss factors that influence the public’s perception of nursing? Describe ways to educate the general public on the professional nurse’s role and scope of nursing within a changing health care system.

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The Nursing Profession



View of Nursing Profession in The General Public

Over the last decade, nursing is considered a noble profession in the public eye with great recognition and respect of the nursing career. The public perceives nurses as a physician assistant during and after the treatment through ensuring that the patient maintains their hygiene, dressing wounds, and offering the prescribed medication to the doctor (De Souza, 2017). The public understands that a caring nurse offers comfort to someone in need. The success of a nurse is compared to the health outcomes and by the quality of care, they offer to the patients.

The cultural perceptions, traditional beliefs, and gender stereotyping have continued to contribute to the negative reputation of the nursing profession. For instance, the notion that nursing is based on caring exercises brings about the perception of a feminine duty which is considered as a duty of sisters. Many people have depicted the nursing profession very poorly due to the trend of stereotyping. Over the year’s nurses are still facing gender stereotypes. Gender stereotype entails cognitive impression and representation of the social group that individuals form through associating with certain emotions and characteristics. Additionally, people believe that the working conditions for nurses have lacked autonomy, are powerless and hard as compared to other professions.

Factors That Influence the Public’s Perception of Nursing

The public has perceived nursing as combination of skills, knowledge, and professionalism in caring. Some factors have affected the public perception of nursing varying according to how the nurses implement their knowledge and skill. These include work value, social and traditional cultural values, and the work environment (Salem, 2019). Considerably, the self-concept and professional identity of nurses change due to interaction with colleagues, patients, and other healthcare professionals. For instance, acquisition of skills and knowledge impacts the patient outcomes which builds the identity of nurses. If they offer care with regards to the American Nurses Association guidelines, they create a good impression for the public about nurses. However, although growing professionally in terms of knowledge and skills, the public knowledge does not always appreciate the competences and skills. Nursing is still being impacted by the traditional values where nursing is being perceived as a low social activity and as a domestic activity that does not deserve much attention. The stereotypical image of nurses has also impacted the public perception causing a negative public image.

Ways to Educate the General Public on the Professional Nurse’s Role and Scope of Nursing

The public has received a negative impression and misunderstanding of nursing. Therefore, it is important to improve the knowledge and educate the general public about the role of professional nurses and the scope of nursing within the current healthcare system (Ketchem, 2016). The most effective way of improving the public perception of nurses is through getting the nursing story to the media. The media is among the most effective ways of reaching the general public. Ideally, for the general public to understand the indispensable and major roles of the nurses in the healthcare system they need to be shown. Therefore, the media will play a big role in creating awareness and promoting the nursing profession.

The media will ensure that the role and scope of nursing are understood within the general public to maintain a professional image of the nurses and create a positive public image about nurses. With more and more taking into social media about and sharing stories about the changing roles and practices in nursing, the information on social media tools will offer effective educational content that will enhance the image of nurses over time.


De Souza, R. (2017). Nurses’ views on the impact of mass media on the public perception of nursing and nurse–service user interactions. Journal of Research in Nursing22(8), 597-598.

Ketchem, S. (2016). Nurses’ professional caring presence and the power to affect change. Nursing for Women’s Health20(2), 125-128.

Salem, M. (2019). Public Image of Nursing: Seminar paper. Adv Practice Nurs4(165), 2.

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