Aim: The purpose of this study was to conduct comparative examination of the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic process on the nursing image perceptions of nurses and individuals forming the society.
Material and Methods: This study was carried out using the cross-sectional descriptive research design. The study was conducted online between November 2020 and June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic process. The research sample consisted of 710 people, and the data were collected with the Personal Identification Form and the Nursing Image Scale.
Results: The nurses' nursing image scale total score was found to be statistically significantly higher than the scores of the individuals representing the society (p<0.05). On the other hand, it was found that when compared to nurses, individuals representing the society considered nursing more to be a profession and that the pandemic had positively changed nurses’ perspective on the nursing profession. In addition, according to the results, the pandemic made the nursing profession visible, and the awareness of the place of the nursing profession in the society increased due to the pandemic. Moreover, the results also showed that nurses considered themselves to be an important member of the health staff as they were always in the field with their caregiver roles (p<0.05).
Conclusions: The nursing image mean scores of the nurses and those of the individuals representing the society were found to be highly positive compared to the pre-pandemic period. In the study, it was revealed that the way the nurses did their job professionally was perceived by the society with the COVID-19 pandemic process and that with this rising awareness, the society’s perception of the nursing image increased positively. It is recommended that researchers conduct studies on how to further develop the perception of nursing professional image through social media.