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Nurse characters in films are undergoing an image change for the better, according to a recent review of 280 films made between 1900 and 2007 that feature nurses. Earlier films tended to portray nurses as self-sacrificing angels. Later films were more likely to portray nurses as threatening authority figures or sex objects. But the researcher concluded that in more recent films, the trend has been to show nurses as intelligent, strong, assertive, self-confident, and passionate about what they do.

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"Nurses need to be aware of the impact the film industry has on how nurses and nursing are perceived and represented in feature films," wrote researcher David Stanley, RN, RM, MSc, a senior lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Australia's Curtin University of Technology. For a look at how the Center for Nursing Advocacy rates the image of nursing in some recent films, visit


Source: Stanley DJ. Celluloid angels: a research study of nurses in feature films 1900-2007. J Adv Nurs. 2008;64(1):84-95.