The nursing profession is experiencing an identity crisis of sorts. Pop culture has twisted the narrative regarding this noble trade, which begs the question, can any layperson correctly identify what it is nurses actually do? Hint: it’s a far cry from kindling steamy romances in the ICU or making brash decisions in the heat of the moment set to a swelling dramatic score.
Given how far pop culture has distorted the reality of nursing, perhaps the last place you’d expect to find an accurate depiction of the profession is on behalf of an animated movie starring a cartoon robot. Disney’s Big Hero 6 is arguably the most competent portrayal of nurses to shore up outside the crowded sea of mainstream entertainment in years.
Meet Baymax: a lovably loyal, affable, and dutiful robot/caregiver. Outside of the obvious dissimilarities, Baymax actually has quite a bit in common with other working nurses today; he evaluates health conditions of his patient, provides personalized recommendations relating to his health and even finds time to educate him on his neurochemical processes. Not bad for an hour and forty-eight minutes of work, wouldn’t you say?
Contrast this with depictions of nurses elsewhere like Showtime’sNurse Jackie and you’ll quickly find Hollywood is all about the drama. Although the show’s central figure, Jackie Peyton, can be counted as highly skilled and sympathetic — qualities frequently found within the nursing sector — she also happens to be a lying, corruptible, drug addict.
While it’s refreshing to see more accurate portrayals of nurses in mainstream media, but Hollywood certainly has a penchant for the sensational — occasionally at the expense of a time-honored trade. As one writer on behalf of NPR puts it, “You know your profession has an image problem when you point to a balloonish animated robot doll and say ‘Yes, that’s good. That accurately reflects what I do on a daily basis.’”
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