Nurses ‘assisting doctors’ is an ‘outdated, wrong and undermining’ description of the profession

“The notion that nurses are doctors handmaidens should be left in history.”

Matt Bodell
11 June 2019
nurse preparing IV medications

The article reinforced “outdated” and “undermining” stereotypes of the nursing profession.

A subject profile of nursing and midwifery published by the Guardian newspaper has been accused of reinforcing “outdated” and “undermining” stereotypes of the nursing profession by claiming nurses are taught to “assist doctors”.


Nurses and allied healthcare professionals turned to social media this weekend, coining the hashtag #WhatNursesDo, to call for the “outdated, wrong and undermining” description of the profession to be changed by the international media outlet.

The article initially read “During your studies you’ll learn what’s needed to assist doctors and help patients and families with their healthcare needs,” and was accompanied an image of a nurse delivering a patient meal.

‘Nurses are not doctors handmaidens’.

Danielle Tiplady, a nurse from south-east London, said; “The description of our profession in this article is outdated, wrong and undermining.

“The notion that nurses are doctors handmaidens should be left in history where it belongs. Nurses are problem solvers, critical thinkers and we are essential in the safe delivery of care to patients


Adding; “Perhaps the Guardian journalist who wrote this piece would benefit from shadowing nurses to understand what nursing really is.”

Following the successful social media campaign, the article now reads “During your studies you’ll learn how to deliver care and support for patients with a range of healthcare needs,”.

The Guardian notes the article was amended ‘to give a more accurate description of nursing studies’.

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