The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) has released a statement on the MTV reality show “Scrubbing In” which premieres Thursday on the network.
The ONA says that according to show’s trailer male and female nurses are filmed both practicing and in their personal lives.
“The trailer portrays the nurses engaging in a number of unprofessional activities, and they are shown in an inappropriate, inaccurate and offensive fashion,” ONA president Linda Haslam-Stroud said in an open letter.
“The nurses portrayed in the show [are presented] as sexual objects, exploit negative stereotypes and diminish the fact that we are knowledgeable health care professionals who make the difference between life and death for patients every day.”
The ONA says that this “reality” is offensive and degrading to the professionalism and dedication of nurses. ONA members and others are encouraged to sign an online petition to cancel the program.
Another online petition has been registered in the U.S. with 15,000 signatures.
The Registered Nurses of Ontario also sent letters to MTV. The president of the Canadian Nurses Association, Barbara Mildon, weighed in with an open letter to MTV, objecting to the show’s “sexual objectification and negative stereotypes.”
Nurses’ associations have campaigned against the objectification of nurses in the media before: In 2007, after complaints from the trade association, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Cadbury Schweppes Canada pulled an ad for Dentyne Ice. The ad depicted a female nurse who, responding to a patient’s call button, climbed on to beds with the patients chewing the gum.
The ONA letter includes contact information for the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and MTV Canada’s parent company Bell Media.