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Nurse Jackie poster. Photo: Showtime

Smash stereotypes to attract school leavers to nursing

Sex object. Battle axe. Doctor’s right-hand maiden. These are some of the historical stereotypes of nurses that researchers say must be challenged in order to encourage more school leavers to consider the profession.

Published online in Nurse Education Today, a study led by University of Queensland researcher Dr Anthony Tuckett put forward suggestions of images and messages to describe the profession.

Tuckett said there is a misconception among some school leavers that could be attributed to historical clichés as well as negative media, such as the nurse who set fire to an aged care facility in 2011.

He said long-held and misinformed perceptions about the nursing profession need to be challenged, so the research team turned to early-career nursing professionals to find out what keywords, phrases and images they would use in a recruitment poster to encourage school leavers to study the profession.

The nurses who took part recommended highlighting the opportunities, rewarding aspects and travel prospects that a nursing career provides.

Nursing Review sat down with Tuckett to discuss images of nursing in popular culture, the importance of unravelling stereotypes and the role nurse leaders have to play.

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