Contemporary Image of Nursing

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Common perspective sees nurses as ‘secondary’ profession in the medical treatment environment. However, the public is often unaware of the significance of the profession toward daily activities of the medical system. Recent articles and researches revealed increasing roles of nurses.

An article by Patricia Foster and J.M Whitworth, for example, revealed the importance of nursing profession in telemedicine and care for child abuse. Advances of communication technology have created a system that enables trained nurses to play a significant role in the psychological investigation of abused children (Foster & Whitworth, 2005).

Another study suggested that nurses are also playing a significant part in the issue of medical waste. The International Council for Nurses has agreed to socialize a new standard that encourage nursing organization to educate nurses in terms of medical waste awareness (“Medical Waste,” 2005).

Despite being seen as secondary role, the profession is still ‘positively valued’ by most aspects of the society. General image of a nurse is still largely positive as seen in several popular Hollywood motion pictures. As movies is in fact, the quickest way to determine a society’s perspective toward a certain character or profession, it is reasonable to use popular movies in order to assess the present image of nurses and their roles in common medical treatment process. Within this short elaboration, we will assess the image and roles of nurses, from the movie, Pearl Harbor.


Within the movie, Pearl Harbor, the nurses are seen as one of the mail roles. Their presence is shown from the beginning of the movie, but their active roles are presented in a special segment of the movie, showing dramatic scenes. The movie displays that the nurse profession requires professionalism and intelligence as well as mental strength in certain times and conditions.

There were times that the nurses need to perform unorthodox treatment method in order to cope with the suppressing conditions. As shown in the motion picture, adaptation and creativity to face unexpected circumstances are necessary to provide the best care for patients. Sometimes, they work together with non-medical personnel because the lack of sufficient number of available nurses.

Within the special segment of the movie, the nurses are shown to assume control of the situation. This is logical due to the emergence of the event that took place. However, they kept their places under orders from the doctors, to preserve medical order and good coordination between the medical personnel. The doctors are shown to have more authority and do most of the talking. Nevertheless there are circumstances where young and inexperienced doctor require experienced nurses to guide and support them. In the absence of available doctors, the nurses are shown to take charge of the medical treatment process.

Nurses are shown to be in various age in the movie. However, there is no significant scene that presents the image of nurses are men. Most (or all) of the nurse characters are female. There is a strong image that nurses are commonly female, single and physically attractive. This image is shown in the beginning of the movie. However, feminist should not be alarmed, because as the movie proceed to the dramatic scenes, the nurses are shown to be women of character that inspire the value of humanism and passionate to provide service toward others.

I have also captured the difference of values between nurses and other profession within the movie. Soldiers are shown to be a lot more aggressive, dominant and careless compare to nurses. These images are perhaps reasonable because their profession demands them to be bold and somewhat careless. The nurses on the other hand, are shown to be careful, organized, highly stable, non-violence human beings that dedicate their lives to the care of others, instead of creating any form of harm. The profession of nurses could be identified with intelligent and confident characters, but hardly ever ambitious.

The nurses in this motion picture are shown to help manage the medical treatment process. Some nurses are shown to be capable, despite their lack of experience in handling such circumstances. Some others ‘crack’ under pressure, which is -under the circumstances-, understandable. The nurses are shown to support each other medically as well as mentally. In one of the scenes, the movie even displayed that a nurse is trusted by the head doctor to choose between those salvageable and those cannot be saved. I am not sure about the possibility of this event to take place in real life, but the scene does display the significant role of nurses in medical emergency.


  1. Foster, Patricia., & Whitworth, J M. (2005). The Role of Nurses in Telemedicine and Child Abuse. Retrieved September 26, 2005 from
  2. Medical Waste: Role of Nurses and Nursing. n.d. Retrieved September 26, 2005 from

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