Dr. Oz and his sexy dancing nurses

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Dr. Mehmet Oz inadvertently ignited a firestorm by choosing to feature six sexy “nurses” in a recent weight loss segment.

The November 4th show included an appearance by Angel Williams, a woman who claims she lost 200 pounds by dancing. Dr. Oz — dressed in conservative blue scrubs — asked Williams to demonstrate her dance moves. Williams unbuttoned the top of her white dress, donned a nurse hat and started gyrating. Dr. Oz then invited five “fellow nurses” to come down and join them.

Meet the woman who lost over 200 pounds just by dancing. She shows off the fun and easy moves that helped her lose big.  You don’t need a gym…

Nurses around the country were not amused. The Truth About Nursing almost immediately wrote a press release describing the show as “an amazingly concentrated package of harmful nursing stereotypes,” including “the naughty nurse, the low-skilled physician handmaiden, and the idea that nursing is for females living in a past era.” The group also initiated a letter writing campaign that asked nurses to “tell Dr. Oz that nurses are skilled, autonomous health professionals.”

Other nurses and nursing organizations, including the American Nurses Association, expressed their disapproval as well.

A month later, Dr. Oz has issued an apology. He released a written statement apologizing for “any hurt feelings” and said that he “holds nures in the highest regard as they save lives and heal patients.” The statement further said that, “any attempt at humour should never call into question Dr. Oz’s utmost respect for the nurses with whom he works and has lauded in other shows.”

What do you think of Dr. Oz’s apology? Too little, too late? Or was the whole controversy a lot of to-do about nothing?

Editor’s note: The video of the dancing nurses has been removed from this news item as it no longer seems to be available on the Dr. Oz website.

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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9 Responses to Dr. Oz and his sexy dancing nurses

  1. J

    Pfhh! I think there are worse stereotypes than the “sexy” or “naughty” nurse. Why can’t someone be “skilled, autonomous health professions” AND be sexy? In a way, I think they are promoting another — just as bad — stereotype of the stern, uncaring nurse from hell that many people recall when thinking about who nurses really are.

  2. Nita Yurco, RN

    Give me a break, most of the nurses I know have a great sense of humor-its almost a requirement in this profession. I have been a nurse for 26 years, I was not offended, it was a joke for heavens sake. What costume could he have used that noone would mind? Be careful of your answer, it could show your snobbery. Those of us who are secure in our profession can take a joke! I definitely agree that I prefer the “sexy nurse” skit to any of the Nurse Ratchett jokes!!

  3. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    Too little too late. I blogged about it (on my personal blog) a while ago. Dr. Oz is a physician, shame on him.

  4. Dr. Oz should do a show on dispelling the myths about Nursing – might help to bring more nurses into the profession, and increase the visibility of nurses – the most populous and underappreciated of all health professions!

  5. Pingback: An open letter from a ‘sexy’ nurse to Dr. Oz | My Strong Medicine

  6. The Dr. Oz video is on our website here http://www.truthaboutnursing.org/news/2010/nov/04_dr_oz.html

    I wouldn’t call what Oz issued an “apology.” It was more like another slap in the face. When I spoke with Tim Sullivan, Oz’s press agent, he told me that it was “just a joke” and that “we’re sorry that you and some other really sensitive people were offended.” And his written statement echoed the same non-apologetic sentiment. So we are continuing our letter-writing campaign. Please join us at the link above.

    And anyway, if you cause damage and you have at your disposal an avenue by which you could try to repair the damage, isn’t it just basic courtesy to do that? Oz hasn’t even attempted to make amends. He could apologize on air–on the same forum he caused the damage. He could talk about nursing stereotypes and the damage they cause on his show. He could bring some of his nursing colleagues from Columbia on his show and tell the world about their expertise and how their work saves lives and improves patient outcomes. He could add at least ONE nurse to his list of 24 expert contributors on his website. He could have a nurse as a regular co-host. But so far–nothing.

    In response to those who think nothing is wrong with being portrayed as sexy– I don’t think anything is wrong with it either, as long as it’s not your dominant workplace image. Nurses don’t have to be depicted only in terms of stereotypes. We can be depicted as three dimensional human beings who save lives without being either in-hospital prostitutes or battleaxes. We have an FAQ on our website precisely about this:

    “But I’m young and hot and I love people to think nurses are sexy! Promiscuous girls rule! Anyone who objects to the “naughty nurse” image must be an old hag “nursing leader” who hates sex and freedom, right?” Our answer… http://www.truthaboutnursing.org/faq/hotness.html

    Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
    Executive Director
    The Truth About Nursing

  7. After seeing mutliple blog posts about this topic and actually going to watch the video of these “sexy nurses” (http://is.gd/iE8SJ), I have to say, I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m not saying that I don’t see a problem in perpetuating a negative stereotype of nursing, as I was strongly against the “Heart Attack Grill” in Arizona (http://www.heartattackgrill.com) and their use of sexy nurses in the establishment.

    But, after watching the Dr Oz video, I was pleasantly surprised. After reading all the negative reviews, I was definitely expecting to see a crew of Playboy-look-alike women in skimpy outfits…. but that’s not what it was. It was a women who lost 200lbs and used Dr Oz’s techniques with diet and exercise and wanted to be one of “his nurses” to help spread the message of health to others. She put on her nurses cap and started to do a very non-provocative dance. Then, about 5 other women came down the stairs, all covered from their collarbone to their knees – no cleavage, no high cut skirts.

    I think the intent was a positive message of health, that many people took the wrong way. They, in no way, were claiming to be actual nurses (RN, LPN, or otherwise).

  8. Your nameTerry

    I did not see the show. But I think that anybody that feels good enough about themself, after loosing 200lb, to get up on tv should be cheered for the effort. It shows pride in herself no matter if she was a nurse, doctor, ect. ect..

  9. Kathleen

    I didn’t see the show. I suppose it was an attempt at humor. He could have dressed them in some of the new dickies scrubs and made the same statement without the cap and white dress. Anyway, now days the cap and white dress is so Betty Boop, and look at her.
    He is a GUY after all, with GUY fantasies. Showing off stereotypes kind of typifies him as a stereotypical…..GUY.
    An apology is good, but even better when it is backed up by actions. Come on Dr OZ, show us how you respect us.