Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


Scrub Scrubbing In - Update

You spoke out, and your voices were heard.

In October, we encouraged you to sign a petition that decried a new MTV reality television series, Scrubbing In, that we and RNAO members felt depicted nurses in a negative and offensive light.

Thanks to RNAO members' response, and the collective voice of nurses across North America, MTV has agreed to make some changes.

RNAO was in contact with an MTV spokesperson, who was also in touch with nursing colleagues in the United States. The spokesperson detailed proposed changes to Scrubbing In and new MTV initiatives aimed at representing nurses in a more positive manner.

Here are some of MTV's efforts as outlined to us:

  • MTV has moved the show's air time from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m., which will likely cut the viewership in half.
  • MTV has consulted with producers regarding the last three episodes of Scrubbing In's first season, which were yet to be finalized. They have agreed to edit these episodes to "do everything to avoid stereotypes that are hurtful to the (nursing) profession." Producers will also try to incorporate as much footage as possible of nurses doing positive work in a clinical setting.
  • MTV is planning a behind-the-scenes feature about a nurse/nurses in New York City that "portrays nurses as the everyday heroes that they are." This will be accompanied by online tips for careers in nursing, created in partnership with advocacy group, The Truth About Nursing.

Finally, MTV confirmed it would consult with the nursing community, should the network produce any more content about the profession in the future.

It wasn't the response we had hoped for. We wanted the program off the air. However, we believe, as our American colleagues do, that the network has taken nurses' concerns seriously. Thanks to RNAO's dedicated membership as well as thousands of other nurses across North America, MTV responded. We thank you for continuing to protect the image of nurses as knowledge-driven professionals.

See the original 'Scrub Scrubbing In' announcement.