Jackie’s ignoring of traditional ethical principles in nursing practice is shocking.But her caring and sense of advocacy for her patients come through strongly.I can envision students having passionate ethical discussions focused on issues raised in these programs! Rising healthcare costs with limited healthcare resources have created a call for data that document the value of nursing. This model can provide a mechanism for documenting the positive relationship between relational caring behaviors and the cost of healthcare services. We are challenged to partner with other healthcare professionals, policy analysts, economists, and ethicists to build a more equitable and humane economic system that gives real value to the work of caring. Zoey, the first-year nursing student assigned to her, looks up at Jackie with admiration, and says to her, “You’re a saint.” Perhaps controversial shows, such as Nurse Jackie, provide an opportunity for the nursing profession to communicate in new ways.They offer a fresh approach for looking at ethical issues in nursing practice from the perspective of the media and the public’s response to fictional nurse characters. The American Nurses Association on behalf of the larger nursing community announces the release of a first of its kind study on the economic value of nursing (2008). Retrieved July 5, 2009 at Menu Categories/Media Resources/Press Releases/2008PR/What about Bob?
The American Nurses Association (ANA) has issued a statement of disappointment at how the show portrays nurses and nursing in negative images that could erode the trust of patients and even discourage young people from considering a career in nursing (ANA, 2009b).To ignore these problems in an effort to portray nurses always in a positive light is dangerous. TV viewers are not likely to assume that nurse characters who make unethical decisions are characteristic of all nurses, just as they are not likely to see the psychiatrist’s behavior in What about Bob? But they are likely to think about shocking breeches of ethical behavior and wonder why these behaviors occur. And yet, only 53% of respondents answered "yes," to the poll on the ANA (ANA, 2009a) Web site asking for opinions on whether negative images of nursing, as portrayed in TV shows like Nurse Jackie, significantly hurt the profession.Forty-seven percent of the 1026 votes submitted online responded that the shows were not damaging.
The ethics of care are a primary focus for many nurses, as caring is an integral part of nursing practice. Malloch and Porter-O'Grady (1999) noted that although the task of ascribing economic value to human caring is incredibly difficult, we can create new economic rules that recognize caring as foundational to nursing practice.