Image is important. The first impression is everything. How does the public view nursing? I think the best answer would be that they don't know what to think of nursing. Many cannot accurately describe what nursing is really about. Problem is, neither can a lot of nurses.
Where does the confusion come from? I think it comes from many different places. Many people have very little contact with nurses. Television which does not typically represent nurses accurately. The Center for Nursing Advocacy focuses on accurate representation of nurses by the media. My personal experience when engaging in discussions on social network forums such as Facebook is that many nurses do not understand the damage that is done by inaccurate portrayal of nurses in the media.
If you ask nursing students "what is a nurse?" the answer may very well be task-oriented. Some of the most essential qualities of registered nurses, such as the ability to critically think and to CARE are often forgotten by nursing professionals themselves when questioned about their responsibilities.
Johnson & Johnson's Campaign for Nursing has provided a welcomed portrayal of nurses in the media. Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow is a coalition of 43 nursing and healthcare organizations working together to attract people to the nursing profession with a grassroots campaign. Many private and federal funds exist to assist students looking to pursue undergraduate and graduate nursing education, with some scholarships going unawarded due to lack of qualified applicants. It is my belief that in order to attract more individuals to this diverse profession we must also promote a accurate and professional image of nursing in the mass media and fight the image of nursing as often portrayed in popular television.