Facials in scrubs? Manitoba recruitment tweets 'demeaning to nurses,' union says

Nurses in Manitoba say they feel insulted after the Manitoba government's Twitter account sent out a series of tweets intended to recruit people into the profession — but which have insulted people with their depiction of nurses in scrubs getting facials and doing other leisurely activities.

Tweets deleted, review being conducted, province says

The Manitoba Nurses Union says nurses feel insulted by a series of tweets from the provincial government intended to recruit people into the profession. (@MBgov/Twitter)

Nurses in Manitoba say they feel insulted after the Manitoba government's Twitter account sent out a series of tweets meant to recruit people into the profession — but which have drawn criticism for demeaning the health-care professionals.

The province began sending out the tweets several weeks ago, but on Thursday a tweet with an image of three women getting facials, one wearing nursing scrubs, ignited backlash.

Other tweets included stock images that mostly featured women, Photoshopped to appear to be wearing scrubs while snowshoeing, doing yoga and other leisurely activities — apparently in an attempt to focus on the work-life balance nurses can enjoy in the province.

"Join Manitoba's nurses. Expand your career, reach your potential and have time left to explore what Manitoba has to offer," the tweets said.

"Once I saw it, I thought, 'Oh, what were they thinking?'" said Darlene Jackson, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union.

"This is absolutely demeaning to nurses — to women, but especially to nurses."

Health Minister Cameron Friesen says he ordered the tweets be deleted. (@MBgov/Twitter)

The tone-deafness of the tweets was especially galling given the heavy workloads and on-the-job stress nurses are currently coping with, Jackson said.

Manitoba is experiencing a nursing shortage, and nurses are often working double shifts without breaks, she said.

"Clearly there's a disconnect in what's truly happening on the front lines of nursing right now and what this government believes, or is aware of," said Jackson. Nurses, she said, are "absolutely drowning … and they put out a tweet like that."

Health Minister Cameron Friesen issued a tweet from his own account, saying he had ordered the earlier tweets deleted.

"Yeah, this is … odd. As a minister, I don't normally wade too far into advertising campaigns," he tweeted.

"However, I share the same concerns as everyone else does about the images, have ordered them removed, and will have internal discussions about next steps in the days to come."

The images were part of a campaign to attract nurses to Manitoba and "highlight the quality of life in our province," a provincial government spokesperson said in an email statement to CBC News.

Several people raised concerns and the province will conduct a review of the campaign, the spokesperson added.

The province began sending out the tweets as part of the campaign several weeks ago. (Twitter/@MBgov)


Cameron MacLean is a journalist for CBC Manitoba living in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience reporting in the city and across Manitoba, covering a wide range of topics, including courts, politics, housing, arts, health and breaking news. Email story tips to


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