Monday, April 26, 2010
Nurse Romance Stories: My Personal Problem 3 - "My Changing Heart"
I noticed that this comic, along with many romance books that have nurse romance stories, has a nursing recruitment ad. I've seen them in other books that aren't carrying a nurse romance story, but I wondered if there was a connection, a kind of arrangement between the comic book company and the particular nursing entity, in this case the Post Graduate Hospital School of Nursing in Chicago, to add a nurse romance into the book, that somehow portrayed nursing as a desirable profession for young women. Although the nurse in this one is a bit slow on the uptake, her anguish-laden search for love is something many girls could relate to back then. It was precisely because she was a dedicated nurse that she ended up with dreamboat Johnny Caine. So the messages this story puts out in terms of the image of nurses are:
1. nurses are the doctor's handmaidens - typical stereotype from this period. Joan is there to tend to Tim's needs, like when he has a headache. But she means nothing to him.
2. nurses are self-sacrificing angels - Joan donates her free time to looking after Johnny.
3. nursing provides significant opportunities for women to find high grade marriage partners. Surely young women wouldn't become nurses in order to snag a man! But Joan ended up with a good one she most likely wouldn't have met had she not been a nurse. So in this story, the nurse gets a handsome (and potentially rich) patient for a husband instead of the alternative, a handsome (and potentially rich) doctor. Either way is fine, right!?