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National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Calls on MTV to Cancel Detrimental, Demeaning Reality Show

On October 24, MTV began airing a new reality show about nurses which has caused an uproar in the nursing community. The show, “Scrubbing In,” features a cast of young traveling nurses and focuses primarily on their personal lives, rather than their work as nurses.

Today, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS) called on MTV to cancel the show on the grounds that it is demeaning to nurses and detrimental to efforts to address the nursing shortage. Several other nursing associations, including National Nurses United, American Nurses Association, Canadian Nurses Association, and Change.org have also urged the network to cancel the show pointing out that its portrayal of nurses is offensive and may harm efforts to encourage young people to enter the profession.

In a letter addressed to MTV President Stephen Friedman, NACNS President Carol Manchester wrote:

As an organization representing nurses, we at the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists are deeply disappointed in MTV’s decision to air the reality television show “Scrubbing In.” This program portrays nurses in a disrespectful and unfair light for purely salacious purposes. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to cancel it.As the largest group of health care professionals, nurses are central to providing and improving our nation’s health care. As you must be aware, the United States is facing a shortage of nurses and there are efforts underway across the country to encourage young people to enter nursing and increase enrollment in nursing schools. A television program that intentionally reinforces negative and antiquated stereotypes about nurses and that shows them in the worst possible light does nothing to support those efforts, and, in fact, serves to do the opposite.

At a time when our nation needs nurses more than ever, this program is denigrating and demeaning the members of what has been shown time and again to be one of the most trusted professions in the United States. “Scrubbing In” does a serious disservice to nurses, nursing students, our health care system and our nation as a whole.

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