A new MTV show that follows a group of nurses sparked backlash from professionals across the state who say the show is “offensive” to the profession and perpetuates negative stereotypes.
“Scrubbing In,” which premiered Thursday, follows a group of nurses who leave their homes to work at a hospital in Orange County, Calif. and adapt to a new city.
In a statement released Friday, the Wisconsin Nurses Association said the program reinforces sexist and negative stereotypes concerning nurses. The program “may potentially damage the high regard” the nursing profession currently has for its viewers and patients, the statement said.
“There wasn’t a lot of respect for the educational preparation and intelligence of how nurses are compared to what they were focusing on which was more physical,” Gina Dennick-Champion, executive director of WNA, said. “The content of the show was pretty offensive and I felt it was in the best interests of nurses to file a complaint.”
Karen Daley, president of the American Nurses Association, said in a statement she was disappointed with the depiction of nurses on the new show. The negative portrayals of nurses could prove damaging to recruitment efforts, which could eventaully lead to a shortage in the future.
Joan Herwick, spokesperson for ANA, added the the show portrays negative stereotypes by displaying the image of “naughty nurses.”
“It is really neither reality nor entertainment and it is also irresponsible because not only [are we] concerned about what young people may be thinking about career choices in the future, but [we are] also concerned about the trust between patients and nurses,” Herwick said. “Our sort of call is to action to encourage nurses and nursing students and the millions of other people that they influence to vote with their remote.”
Aya Healthcare, the company who employs the nurses on the show, issued a statement to address the concerns regarding the show.
The statement said the show’s message is to create greater awareness for the work done by nurses and hopes to inspire a young generation to consider the profession of nursing as a career.
“All of the things are so inappropriate and it’s not what nursing is,” Dennick-Champion said. “So I don’t want you seeing this and thinking this is how nursing is as a career or profession. Those nurses, when they get done with their shifts with their 12 hours really go home and rest because of the tension. You’re not seeing that on the show.”
Herwick said she is concerned the content shown on television may mislead a younger generation.
ANA released a petition through the website, Change.org, in an attempt to get “Scrubbing In” off the air. The number of signatures is increasing, Herwick said. ANA hopes the petition will prompt people to not watch the show.
“I just hope the generations watching the show really try and find out about nursing if they’re really interested in it,” Dennick-Champion said. “There is that accountability and responsibility for your behavior and whether you’re in the work place or outside of the work place.”
See the full trailer for MTV’s new show, “Scrubbing In,” here: