Nurses Petition MTV to Cancel ‘Salacious’ TV Show

Several nursing groups are calling on the network to take its new reality show Scrubbing In off the air because of its “disrespectful” depiction of the profession.

The National Association of Critical Nurse Specialists is not amused by a new MTV reality show portraying nurses.

The association is calling on the network to cancel the show Scrubbing In, which premiered last month and follows a group of travel nurses working in a California hospital for 12 weeks. A trailer for the show juxtaposes the cast as “hellraisers” and “lifesavers”—depicting them partying, fighting, and treating patients.

The last thing that is needed at this time is for television executives to develop a program that demonstrates nursing in a very unprofessional light.

“This program portrays nurses in a disrespectful and unfair light for purely salacious purposes,” Carol Manchester, president of NACNS, wrote in a letter to MTV’s president.” We urge you in the strongest possible terms to cancel it.”

The show focuses more on the nurses’ personal lives than on their professional work, and its portrayal of nurses is offensive and potentially harmful to efforts to encourage young people to enter the profession, NACNS added in a statement.

With more than 50 percent of the current nursing workforce nearing retirement and with recent reforms granting millions access to healthcare, the United States faces a critical nursing shortage, according to the American Nurses Association.

“We are in an age where nurses are needed and will continue to be needed at all levels, whether it’s entry-level nursing or advanced-practice nursing, to meet the healthcare demands of the public,” Manchester said. “The last thing that is needed at this time is for television executives to develop a program that demonstrates nursing in a very unprofessional light.”

Manchester encouraged others in the nursing field to speak out on behalf of the profession. “Nursing is truly a field that is respected and trusted,” she said. “We have the lives of individuals in our care 24 hours a day. You do not want the public to have a skewed view of what professional nursing looks like from a Hollywood screen.”

National Nurses United, the American Nurses Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, and joined NACNS in calling on MTV to cancel the show.

Although the network has not contacted NACNS, it reached out to the nonprofit organization The Truth About Nursing, which promotes public understanding of the profession, to help amend the image the show is projecting. Among other steps, MTV said it would air the show at a less prominent time and re-edit some of the episodes.

Manchester said she believes there is ample opportunity for media to highlight the profession in a positive light. “I would call on individuals to have integrity in the process of what they choose to program,” she said.

(Viacom press photo)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!