MTV debuted their latest show “Scrubbing In” following the party lifestyle of attractive twenty-something nurses in Los Angeles.
October 24 marked the debut of the show and the nursing community hasn’t particularly welcomed it with open arms. The show depicts nurses in a work hard, party harder sort of way. MTV has a notorious history of releasing provocative and offensive shows, as demonstrated by the highly controversial and wildly popular show, “Jersey Shore”, that managed to offend the entire state of New Jersey. However, nurses and nursing students across the country are speaking out about the damage these mediated images cause.
Barbara Mildon, president of the Canadian Nurses Association wrote a letter to MTV president Stephen Friedmen explaining her personal disgust with the show and her concern for its impact on new generations of nurses.
“Scrubbing In’s dramatized account of nurses’ lives trivializes the critical work they perform. All of their hard work, from studying and gaining experience to answering nursing’s call, will be overshadowed by typical ‘reality’ show fodder,” wrote Mildon.
Mildon’s prediction regarding its impact on a new nurse is seemingly becoming a reality. Part of the newest generation of nurses is Stephanie Brown, a second year nursing student at University of Saskatchewan. She explained how popularized show like “Scrubbing In” are destructive depictions of nurses and are harmful to students in the profession.
“It has a very negative influence and it can cause sexual harassment. People have these expectations and they don’t take you as a professional,” said Brown.
She further emphasized the strenuous studying and gruesome scenes she’s witnessed so far in nursing school. MTV’s show has made her see her nursing education in a different light.
“We’re meant to save lives and we do have a professional body of knowledge and were not taken seriously.”
Although there has been no official boycotting of the show by nurses unions, Brown encourages students to look at theses media objects with a critical eye.
“We’re still, as a profession, battling it. We have skill set, knowledge base, we have education, but it still doesn’t counter the negative images of the social media.”
Halloween at University of Saskatchewan campus was an opportunity for social enlightenment as nurses spoke out about their portrayal in the media. Brown explained how Halloween marked the battle for nurses on campus to discourage students dressing up as the overly popular “sexy nurse”.
“No sexy nurses!” said Brown, laughing.
She described how the nursing faculty on campus condemns the popular “sexy nurse” Halloween costume and she was not allowed to wear it. Brown explained that actions like these work toward the larger goal of changing student’s perception of nursing.
Although there has been no official boycott by the Canadian Nurses Association, Barbara Mildon left the MTV president with a final phrase to contemplate.
“If you respect the nursing profession and the care we provide to millions of people every day, you will cancel Scrubbing In.”
MTV has not formerly replied to Barbara Mildon’s letter, sent on October 21. In the meantime, “Scrubbing In” airs on MTV Thursday nights at 10 p.m. EST.