Sample Nursing Research Paper on Public Perception on Nursing

Public Perception on Nursing

Nurses are perceived as living in two worlds, the social and nursing worlds. These two worlds influence one another  to maintain nursing as a profession. However, since nursing grew to become a profession, there have been many  conflicts between them and the general public. Over the past 50 years, there has been a significant progress on its professional status  (Maurer & Smith 2013). Despite the progress, the public still holds traditional views of nurses since they expects them to  be dependent on the physicians all the time. The paper explains how nursing profession is viewed by the public, factors influencing public perception of nursing, and ways of educating the public on the role of nurses within the changing health care system.

The professional nursing demands’  have grown significantly over the past  years from  when the public only thought it was only about providing comfort and care. The public thinks that nurses’ only role is to take care of someone in times of distress. Moreover, the public view a nurse as an individual whose only role is to give assistance to the doctor during and after treatment. To them, a nurse only assists the patients in matters of hygiene, administering medication as prescribed by the doctor, and wound dressing. Finally, some people think that men have no role in the field of nursing because they are perceived  to have a less  caring capacity compared to women (American Society of Registered Nurses, 2012).

Research shows that media is one of the factors that play a role in how the public perceives nursing. There is a stereotype that nurses act as helpers by doing things such as fetching tools especially during surgical procedures. However, nurses actually do a lot of work than the doctors who, unfortunately, gets all the credit. Another factor is that the media is involved in influencing the public to depict female nurses as sex objects. This type of stereotype is largely accepted in many media platforms hence prevents nurses from providing quality patient care.

There is a need to educate the public on their professional roles  to reduce their negative perception towards nurses  (Maurer & Smith, 2013). Nurses need to form partnerships with the media because some nurses can be resourceful to journalists, bloggers, and editors. First, nurses can come up with positive information about nursing that can be passed to the public through the media. Secondly, nurses should utilize communication technology such as social media to pass information to the public on topics such as what they do and some of their success stories. A third way to educate the public is by nurses  improving mortality statistics in the places they come from through advanced community health projects. Finally, education can be done through avenues such as conflict resolution of issues concerning their welfare. Engaging in constant  industrial action, will fuel negative image among the public.

            Nursing as a profession has really evolved in many ways over the last 5O years. The public has not been updated with these changes in the health care system. They still think that nurses only take care of the patients by comforting them. Public education is required to enable the public to understand the roles of nurses within the changing health care system. If this is not done it will greatly undermine the roles of nurses in providing quality health care.


 American Society of Registered Nurses (2012). The Real Public Perception of Nurses | Journal of Nursing. Nursing Journals: American Society of Registered Nurses. Retrieved from

Maurer, F., & Smith, C. (2013). Community / public health nursing practice. St. Louis: Elsevier.