A new YouGov poll commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has found that media coverage of the pandemic has shattered old-fashioned views of nursing in the minds of the public.
The RCN believes that whilst stereotypical views of nursing have bedevilled the profession for years, what the public has seen of the profession during the pandemic has cast it in a new light,
TV news bulletins have shown nurses battling to save the lives of patients and at the forefront of the vaccination programme, giving life-saving injections to patients.
Media reports have also shown them coping with the huge emotional burden imposed by the pandemic, with nurses describing losing several patients a day, often without loved ones to comfort them because of the lockdown restrictions.
Comments from people responding to the survey included:
Coverage of the Covid 19 pandemic has been a real eye opener to how much work and effort nurses and all medical staff have to do to help people in need, real heroes of a modern time.
I did not actually realise how much harder they have to work and how emotionally, physically and mentally taxing it is on them to do a job where they deserve more pay and more recognition.
I’ve realised that nurses have really stepped up during the pandemic and are given far less credit for what they are able to achieve.”
I have been an in-patient and outpatient in the past but did not fully appreciate the range of skills and duties required of nurses until Coronavirus occurred.
The poll canvassed 1,752 UK adults. Of those who said their understanding of the role of nurses had improved, more than half (54%) said media coverage of the nurses’ work during the pandemic has helped to improve their recognition of their skills.
Royal College of Nursing Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary, Pat Cullen said:
Outdated notions of nursing and nurses have failed to match the reality of a professional life defined by high-level technical, emotional and cognitive skills.
Unfair stereotypes have inhibited efforts to improve the standing and attractiveness of nursing as a career at a time when there are tens of thousands of nursing vacancies in England alone.
This poll suggests the amazing work that the public has seen nursing staff doing in the media during the pandemic has transformed that perception.
This will give nurses a much-needed boost at a time when they are on their knees after a year of unprecedented challenges.
Nursing staff have enjoyed huge public support during the pandemic with nearly three quarters (71%) of respondents saying they deserve more recognition.