5 years ago

Tainted love: Gothic imaging of nurses in popular culture

Donna Lee Brien, Margaret Mcallister, Lorna Piatti-Farnell
Aims To discuss representations of nursing in popular culture using the Contemporary Gothic theory. Background Nursing is stereotypically known as a caring profession. Caring in both the natural and professional perspectives is inextricably attached to love and love, we are told, is universal. In popular culture, however, there are numerous examples of nurses being portrayed in ways where love – its expression and its practice – has been transgressed or tainted. Exploring this dark side of nursing, even if fictitious, is significant because it illuminates social and cultural tensions. Design Discussion Paper. Data sources CINAHL, Scopus and Humanities International Databases were searched for terms related to nursing, love, abject and the gothic, published between 1990 - 2016. Four popular culture texts which ranged in genre and gothic elements were selected for analysis. Implications for Nursing The types of transgressive love these nurses express to patients ranges from the obsessive and the pornographic, to the monstrous. We suggest this positioning illuminates a hidden reality that nursing work is at once intimate and personal but also hidden, profane, repellent, horrifying and feared. Nursing's allure for storytellers may rest in its association with the abject. How nurses find redemption, satisfaction and meaning in these locations is relevant for how we can imbue our lives and work with greater humanity. Conclusion The Contemporary Gothic is a useful tool in exposing and exploring ambiguous, challenging and taboo aspects of nursing in society. Such and analysis helps to explain phenomena – including nursing itself – which exists in the shadow of dominant and often stereotyped discourses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/jan.13452

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