Molly Shanahan | Contributing Writer | Monday, 22 May 2017

It\\\'s 2017 And Apparently This Is How We\\\'re Recruiting Nurses...

It's 2017 And Apparently This Is How We're Recruiting Nurses...

The Debrief: The NHS has been forced to apologise over these leaked and unapproved sexist recruitment posters

Thanks to an accidental leak of some NHS recruitment material, we find ourselves with a time machine courtesy of Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust this week. In a series of unapproved (not to mention confusing) posters, the blatant sexualisation of nurses is used to try and recruit new nurses. Each poster features a line that sounds like it fell out of a 40-year-old Christmas cracker, including: 'as soon as Emma looked at John she knew it was serious. A full fracture of the tibia.'

The NHS has been forced to apologise. The Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust have told the BBC that they rejected the adverts immediately but the agency who created them, Strawberry, mistakenly published them anyway. Mistake or not, why are we still seeing things like this from some of Britain's biggest institutions who, frankly, ought to know better? It all feels like a massive 1950s Carry On throwback. No to mention that it undermines the importance of the work that nurses do. 

Apparently, the posters were originally created as part of a recruitment campaign in response to a severe shortage of NHS staff across England which surely begs the question who exactly did the creators of these posters think they were going to entice with this kind of blatant sexism? The leak came after the posters were sent to trade paper HSJ alongside an article and subsequently found their way onto twitter. Unsurprisingly, people are pretty pissed off. Tweets range from anger to disbelief with the general theme being the question of whether or not we have actually been transported back to the 70s. 

Intended to be part of Hull and East Yorkshire NHS’s Remarkable People, Extraordinary Place campaign, and with one of their previous slogans reading, ‘You bring the care. We’ll bring the culture’, we can’t help but feel that they’ve just really let themselves down with this one, failing to demonstrate the amount of passion and dedication at the heart of the NHS. 

The campaign manages to not only reduce highly skilled and educated professionals to sexual objects but also, in the shameless absence of any kind of diversity, each poster features a young white blonde woman in the role of a nurse. How this ever get the go ahead by a team of professionals as representative of the NHS is beyond us. 

These slogans really are bad enough, but to add insult to injury, a number of people are actually defending the ads. More than one tweet simply asks ‘is this poster sexist?’ Um, yes it really really is. With remarkable statistics about the mistreatment of nurses, what kind of message is this sending out to the general public about NHS workers and more widely, women everywhere? 

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Tags: Sexism, Health