Male Nurse on "Scrubs" Episode Perpetuates Stereotype

I was enjoying an episode of "Scrubs" until the murse, or male nurse, showed up. Male nurses are portrayed as less manly because of their profession.

Last night I was watching a rerun of one of my all time favorite shows, "Scrubs."  I was really enjoying the episode until the murse, or male nurse, showed up. 

For those of you who have never watched this program, it is a comedy set in a fictional hospital that follows the lives of a few physician residents as they journey toward becoming attending physicians.  Along this journey they make friends with a lot of other physicians and even a few nurses.  Imagine that—a TV show that takes place in a hospital that actually has nurses on it! 

Now to the murse business.  In the episode I was watching, one of the female physicians dates a male nurse.  Ok, now, I like a good laugh as much as the next guy, so I could stand this… somewhat.  But, it just went downhill from here.  His character is portrayed as less of a man because of his profession—nursing.  Also, the female doctor does not want any other doctors to know she is dating a murse, so she tries to keep it on the down-low.  In the end, the murse stands up to the doctor and gives a great speech about how he loves his profession and if she can’t deal, then he’s out.  A nice finish, but the damage was already done.

Nursing is so often considered a "female" profession and it is programs like this one that just perpetuate this stereotype.  I’ve got to say, as a nurse today, there is nothing "girly" about the nursing profession.  Grueling 12-hour shifts on your feet, heavy lifting, fast-paced patient care, numerous admissions and discharges throughout your day—definitely not a "girl’s" job.  Nurses today work hard to provide the best patient care and that doesn’t involve only physical labor, but emotional and intellectual muscles are just as heavily used. 

So, while I still love "Scrubs," even though it does not always portray nurses as we truly are, I have real issue with the Murse episode.  I have worked with many male nurses throughout my career—even dated a few back in the day—and I would never describe any of them as less then a man for choosing to work in a profession that saves lives.  I would describe them as heroes.

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