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Readers panel: Is it disrespectful for male charity fundraisers to dress as female nurses?

The chief executive of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust turned down a £2,500 donation from a charity because it was raised from a fun run in which men dressed up as female nurses in a ‘highly sexualised and demeaning way’. Nursing Standard readers have their say.

The chief executive of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust turned down a £2,500 donation from a charity because it was raised from a fun run in which men dressed up as female nurses in a ‘highly sexualised and demeaning way’. Nursing Standard readers have their say

drag
Men in drag trying to raise funds for a hospital in Ludlow.
 Picture: Southwest News Service

Drew Payne is a community staff nurse in north London 
@drew_london 

In 2017, why are we still tolerating the 1970s image of the ‘sexy nurse’? The chief executive of the trust was right to reject this donation. The fundraisers’ outfits perpetuated the worst stereotype of sexualised nurses – all red lipstick, black stockings and uniforms decades out of date. Would anyone be defending this if the men were dressed as 'sexy police women' or 'sexy women vicars'? Nursing is a modern, skilled profession, and we need to bin this outdated attitude. 

 

Linda Drake is a practice nurse in south London 


I’m not suggesting that the NHS should accept money from any source, but are we now saying that the long tradition of nurse-related comedy – such as Hattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor in the Carry On films – is over because of political correctness? Surely one of the markers of a mature and confident profession is the ability to laugh at ourselves. This donation should have been graciously accepted in the spirit in which it was intended – that of goodwill and appreciation of the local trust. 

 

Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London 


Although I am not offended by a group of men dressing up as nurses to raise money for a hospital – it is supposed to be tongue in cheek and is relevant to the cause they are raising money for – I can see why some people found this offensive. It is outdated and stereotypical, and demeaning to both female and male staff. The solution is simple. Both sides should meet to discuss their agendas so they can come to an acceptable compromise. That way, everyone wins. 

 

Daniel Athey is a charge nurse on an acute medical unit in Sheffield 
@danjathey 


What the volunteers were wearing amounts to nothing more than fancy dress. The fact that they raised a considerable amount of money suggests the public found the outfits amusing, not offensive or degrading. This is much ado about nothing, but I feel sorry for the fundraisers, who have effectively been snubbed. Maybe the trust chief executive can write an approved fancy dress list for the countless volunteers I'm sure they'll have wanting to give their time and money.


Readers panel members give their views in a personal capacity only 

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