The Nurse in Popular Media

Critical Essays


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About the Book

The image of the nurse is ubiquitous, both in life and in popular media. One of the earliest instances of nursing and media intersecting is the Edison phonographic recording of Florence Nightingale’s voice in 1890. Since then, a parade of nurses, good, bad or otherwise, has appeared on both cinema and television screens. How do we interpret the many different types of nurses— real and fictional, lifelike and distorted, sexual and forbidding—who are so visible in the public consciousness? This book is a comprehensive collection of unique insights from scholars across the Western world. Essays explore a diversity of nursing types that traverse popular characterizations of nurses from various time periods. The shifting roles of nurses are explored across media, including picture postcards, film, television, journalism and the collection and preservation of uniforms and memorabilia.

About the Author(s)

Marcus K. Harmes is a professor at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia. He researches on British popular culture especially science fiction and horror.

The late Barbara Harmes was an academic at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia. Her research focused on English literature and higher education.

Meredith A. Harmes teaches at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia and has a research background in political science and British political history.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Marcus K. Harmes, Barbara Harmes and Meredith A. Harmes

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 260
Bibliographic Info: bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8418-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4546-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Barbara Harmes, Meredith A. Harmes and Marcus K. Harmes 1

Section One: Contested Heroines
Florence on Film: Representations of Nightingale in Cinema and on Television
Richard Bates 8
“Women bow”: The Shifting Power Dynamics Between Nurses and Doctors in Tenko
Mark Aldridge 25
The Death of Judy Hill: Arctic Nurses, Northern Bush Pilots and the Crash of ’72
Travis Hay 38
A “Complex Personal Problem”: Reactions to Voluntary Sterilization in 1960s Media
Caitlin Fendley 54
M*A*S*H*e*d and Harassed? Nurse Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan as Gendered Hate Object
Susan Hopkins 69

Section Two: Seeking the Ideal
Caps, Capes, Pins and Scrapbooks: Popular Nursing Objects of Remembrance
Jeannine Uribe 92
Picture Perfect? Postcard Images of Nurses and Nursing, 1890–1920
Julia Hallam 107
Seeking Standards: Nurses Real and Fictional and Their Professional Standards in British Popular Culture
Marcus K. Harmes, Barbara Harmes and Meredith A. Harmes 124
In Search of Sympathy: Stereotypes and Stiff Upper Lips in Interwar Nursing
Sarah Chaney 138
Nostalgia for Spiritual Community Care: Midwifery as Religious Calling in Call the Midwife
Morag Martin 155
Media Representation of the Nursing Queen Archetype in Its Socio-Cultural Context
Merle Talvik, Taimi Tulva, Ülle Ernits and Kristi Puusepp 170

Section Three: When Nurses Go Wrong
Not My Nurse: Pessimism in Representations of Nurses in 1970s Cinema
Victoria N. Meyer 184
Lesbians, Nymphomaniacs, and Enema Specialists: Nurses, Horror, and Agency
Marcus K. Harmes, Meredith A. Harmes and Barbara Harmes 200
Scary Women: Nurses, Power Relations and Regimes of the Visual
Ronja ­Tripp-Bodola 214
Eroticizing the Nurse: (Bi/Homo)Sexuality and Monstrosity in Nurse 3D
Tatiana ­Prorokova-Konrad 232

About the Contributors 247
Index 251