Nurse On Purpose was born out of a passionate desire to create positive change in the way the world views nurses. This can be achieved by challenging media stereotypes and calling nurses to professional and societal action
Unfortunately, many popular television shows, knowingly or not, have done a disservice to our professional image by misrepresenting the work nurses do. Nurses are intelligent, critical thinkers who make life-saving decisions in their fields of practice. We are scientific researchers, patient advocates, and community leaders. Nurses at the Masters and Doctoral levels are able to diagnose, treat and fully manage their patient's care.
Yet, the images we are so often exposed to in media are of -the nurse who stands around only to take physician's orders, -the unintelligent, unkempt, loud-mouthed nurse who treats their patients with a lack of respect and patience, -the unprofessional nurse who behaves inappropriately in the workplace, -the "let me get the doctor for you" always nurse, who has no independent problem-solving skills, and so on...
It is the aim of NOP to bring this awareness to mainstream media and continue to address it, in order to effect change. It must be understood that the reinforcement of these negative stereotypes is highly detrimental to the elevation of a profession as selfless as nursing, which has been long undervalued.
Chinelo Okoye, FNP-C, CPNP-PC, MSN, RN
Chinelo Okoye, FNP-C, CPNP-PC, MSN, RN is a double board-certified Family & Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse who earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers University, NJ. Following her undergraduate studies, she sharpened her clinical skills as a Registered Nurse in several health care arenas for 4 years, mostly serving the pediatric population. She received several awards & recognitions while practicing as an R.N., including the O.S.C.A.R (Outstanding Service Contribution and Achievement Recognition) award for exemplary nurse leadership and consistent star performance at work. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for managing the health of children and decided to pursue further to obtain her Masters of Science in Nursing at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania.
During her collegiate years, Chinelo always had the drive to enhance and elevate the field of nursing. As an undergraduate student, she co-founded the “Peer Mentorship Program” which served as an avenue for junior nursing students to be matched with a senior student mentor who would walk them through their early years and provide support and guidance as they navigated the rigors of nursing school. She graduated with honors and was a recipient of several scholarships including - the “MacManus Glassman Scholarship” for exceptional academic achievement, the “Beldon, Margaret B. Endowed Scholarship” for outstanding academic performance and was inducted into the "National Society for Collegiate Scholars" and the "Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society." As a graduate student, one of Chinelo’s research proposals focused on dismantling media stereotypes of nursing.
After excelling at her Master’s program, Chinelo was among a few candidates selected from hundreds of applicants to become a Pediatric Fellow at Atrium Health, Charlotte, NC. The fellowship program was a 1-year intensive learning adventure, where she obtained first-hand observational experience in several pediatric-specific specialties, outside of primary care. Chinelo's capstone project was a poster titled "Don't Call Me Mid-Level," a research work that focused on the consequences of using degrading labels in referring to Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician's Assistants. To crown off her achievements during that year, she was selected by her peers to represent the cohort as their graduating class speaker.
Following her graduation as a Pediatric Fellow, Chinelo, who enjoys travel and medical missions, decided to combine her love for both and become a traveling Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. In her time as a travel NP, Chinelo has worked in a number of states and holds several U.S. state licenses. She has also been engaged in medical mission trips, which is a big part of her calling. Most recently, she added another feather to her cap, in obtaining a post-master's certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner, due to her desire to expand her scope of care
As the Founder of Nurse On Purpose, Chinelo aims to challenge and reform media stereotypes of nursing; this mission is at the heart of her drive. On her journey to becoming a nurse, she recognized that the reason her closest relatives and associates were unenthusiastic about her decision to pursue nursing was due to the undervaluation of nurses in society. “Become a doctor instead” and “you’re too pretty/smart to be a nurse,” were just a few of the deprecatory remarks some would make, while meaning to be complimentary.
As a native of Nigeria, Chinelo is aware of how far nurses still have to go in order to elevate nursing practice in other parts of the world. She recognizes that the action of upholding the nursing profession begins internally. According to her, "the way we dress, present and carry ourselves, our wealth of skill and knowledge, the ability to add value, our confidence, compassion and sense of professional-worth, all play a role in how nurses are perceived as a body."
Chinelo has met and worked with highly skilled and brilliant nursing professors, researchers, entrepreneurs, and political activists and knows that nursing is far different than the images portrayed on popular television shows. She has a vision for nursing - to challenge and bring to an end stereotypical representations in media and to highlight our intelligence, professionalism, excellent leadership abilities, and devoted patient care.
Scholar-Activist Challenges Media Stereotypes of Nurses | The NIH Record | Sept. 11, 2015
Symposium to challenge nursing stereotypes on 'ER,' 'Grey's,' 'House'
Alison Hewitt | May 05, 2011
Why Don't Health Journalists Interview Nurses? We asked them.