Comic’s Comment About Nurses Stirs Big Reaction

By: E&P Staff

Yesterday’s “Close to Home” cartoon pleased some local nurses and angered a national nurses’ organization, according to a Tuesday story in The Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y.

John McPherson’s Monday comic panel showed an emergency medical technician telling a patient who was about to be put in an ambulance: “You’ve got two options, bud. Mercy Hospital is 20 minutes closer, but the nurses at Saratoga Hospital are really hot.” McPherson lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Charles Fiegl’s Post-Star article reported that the comic — which appeared in about 700 newspapers via Universal Press Syndicate — was faxed and e-mailed to Saratoga Hospital staffers by colleagues across the country, and taped to various doors in the hospital. Also, local TV and newspaper reporters stopped by the hospital to get nurses’ reaction.

One nurse said she and her colleagues “are very hot. That is how we get our patients to come to Saratoga. We also provide great care.”

But Sandy Summers, executive director of the Center for Nursing Advocacy in Baltimore, told Fiegl that McPherson’s comic fed into the harmful stereotype of nurse as sex objects. “This is not good for nursing,” she said.

Summers added that nurses are constantly mocked, degraded, and disrespected on TV shows and in ads. She said the sex-object stereotyping hurts the profession when recruiting people or when lobbying for government funding for nursing programs.

McPherson said the comic was based on his experiences when being treated at Saratoga Hospital twice during the past couple of years. “I’m a single guy, and I figured if I put this plug in, I might actually be contacted by some of the hot nurses at Saratoga Hospital,” added McPherson, as quoted by The Post-Star.

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