“Why Does It Take a Movie Robot to Show What Nurses Really Do?” – Did you read it?

© Disney

It’s no secret that Hollywood portrayals of nurses are, uh, inaccurate at best. That’s why we knew nurse and author Kelli Dunham’s NPR article, which shares her concern that an animated robot/doll from a popular Disney film is one of modern media’s more accurate nurse portrayals, would resonate with nurses everywhere.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

I’m a proud nurse from a proud family of nurses, yet I would never claim that a layperson would enjoy watching mainstream medical dramas with us. We end up yelling at the screen: “There is nothing about that sexy getup that remotely resembles a nursing uniform” and “Doctors don’t fire nurses; nurse managers fire nurses” and “No emergency room nurse would ever have to be told by a doctor to start CPR!”

So when the Baymax, the nurse/robot in the hit Disney movie Big Hero Six, turned out to be reasonable, competent and not dressed in fishnet stockings, I was thrilled.

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. More representations like that, please.”

Baymax might not look like any nurses you know, but unlike most nurse characters in the media, he actually provides nursing care. He assesses the health condition of his charge, the boy-genius Hiro, makes recommendations related to his health and teaches him about his neurochemical processes.

Once Hiro reprograms Baymax with fighting capabilities, Baymax becomes Hiro’s terrifying defender. If you’ve ever heard a nurse on the phone with an insurance company insisting that a patient get needed care paid for, you know this is not a misplaced metaphor.

To read the rest of the article, including a discussion of other nurse portrayals in the media, head on over to NPR’s Health News site. Then, tell us what you think about it in the comments section below. What do you think of the current portrayal of nurses in the media? What can be done to change it?

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