Judge and Jury: Nurses offended by the bedside manner of Evans and Turner - Anthea Turner dressed in a skimpy nurses outfit drew the public eye to Nurses Day, but also drew the nurses ire at the manner in which they were portrayed, says Matt Tee, head of

Well if you were the editor of a tabloid which would you have gone for - the tea party for old nurses with ’an opportunity to hear stories from the formative days of the NHS’, offered by the Royal College of Nursing, or Anthea Turner and Chris Evans in camped up nurses’ gear?

Well if you were the editor of a tabloid which would you have gone

for - the tea party for old nurses with ’an opportunity to hear stories

from the formative days of the NHS’, offered by the Royal College of

Nursing, or Anthea Turner and Chris Evans in camped up nurses’ gear?



To be honest, I’ve worked in the NHS for six years and I’d never heard

of Nurses’ Day until Chris Evans decided to splash it on his Virgin

radio programme and later on TFI Friday. A lot of what was done there

reflected well on nurses and the job they do. There is no question,

however, that the skimpy dress Anthea was wearing did cause offence

among nurses. Our nurses are frustrated enough that the public doesn’t

realise how specialised their training is and the extent to which they

now perform tasks only doctors would previously have carried out. The

sexy Carry On image is so far from their daily reality that the idea

that Anthea’s dress was a fair representation of nurses makes their

blood boil.



Of course, as Chris and Anthea made clear later, they didn’t think it

was a fair representation - it was ’a bit of fun’, meant to offend no

one. So, having got into a hole where nurses are seen as bimbos and a

national celebrity is getting major flack for not taking them seriously,

how did the spin teams do? Not bad actually.



The Royal College of Nursing press office got good coverage over the

next few days with stories featuring real nurses that just wouldn’t have

been news if Anthea hadn’t pulled her stunt. They also came up with the

idea of inviting Anthea to a hospital to spend some time with nurses

and, to her credit, she accepted. The visit took place at St Thomas’ and

she didn’t get the easiest ride in the world, but the coverage she’ll

get in the nursing press won’t do her any harm.



Lessons for next year? The RCN needs to use a bit more imagination and

make sure it’s got a good tabloid photo-op if it doesn’t want to get

upstaged by someone else’s.



Chris Evans? If you want to celebrate Nurses’ Day, a quick call to the

RCN or Unison and you can have all the advice in the world about how not

to hack nurses off. This is the 50th anniversary of the NHS - Anthea in

a 1948 nurses’ uniform would have been just as good a photo-op and would

have offended no one.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.