How Reality TV is Affecting the Nursing Industry

It seems like nowadays you can’t turn on the telly without coming across a reality program. Between Big Brother, Love Island, the Great British Bake Off and the X Factor, endless days can be spent with your eyes glued to the television- watching the ‘next big thing’ on the box. But is this industry exposure all it’s cracked up to be, and what’s it doing to some of the serious professions out there?

Here at Black Fox, we work with a lot of nurses. We try to find them the best positions to suit their career goals and match them with employers they can trust, and recently nurses have been getting a lot of reality TV exposure. We’re all used to seeing them portrayed in fictional hospital rooms (who hasn’t seen an episode of Holby City, Casualty, ER or Grey’s Anatomy) but now production teams are going into real-life hospitals and filming nurses for the likes of One Born Every Minute, 24 Hours in A&E or even Embarrassing Bodies!

This can be seen as great exposure for nurses and the medical profession as a whole. The entire country can witness the long hours they put in, constantly on their feet, with emotions running high and people’s lives in their hands. Technically, it’s known as ‘mass media education’- billed as teaching the public about what goes on in NHS hospitals and care homes. But on the other hand this ‘reality’ portrayal isn’t really reality at all. The television crews dictate when they film and they, arguably, edit for dramatic purposes. With this in mind, can it really be considered an accurate depiction of nursing for those considering the profession?

The worry is that many jobseekers are either motivated to join the nursing career path because of a false perception gained from reality television, or are put off of it altogether through a negative interpretation. And this doesn’t stop just at nursing as many professions have been significantly affected due to their portrayal on television- chefs, fashion designers, builders and advertising execs, just to name a few. As recruiters, we then see an influx of restless, unprepared jobseekers who think an industry is exactly like what they’ve seen on TV- when that is rarely the case.

The take home message from all of this is no matter how ‘reality’ it appears to be, no television programme can accurately capture the day to day of nursing life- or any industry for that matter. Each day is different and comes with its own accomplishments and challenges. If you are a school leaver or someone finishing up at University and you are considering a career in a certain sector, look beyond what you’ve seen on TV or heard through friends and acquaintances and do your own research, most jobs like most industries are completely different than reality TV depicts. So, when you’re ready and done some research into a job that would suit the type of skills you have, head to our Job List to find the perfect position in your chosen industry.

We want to hear what you think reality television is doing to nursing. Tweet us at @SolutionsFox with your comments.

Posted: 1/8/16

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