Start a "Be a Nurse for a Day" program
Ask members of your local press to follow you or another nurse for a day, so that they can learn what nurses do and how nursing saves and improves lives.
Think about the program from the perspective of the press to maximize the effectiveness of your program--the goal being to increase press coverage about nurses and the important and interesting (newsworthy) work that they do.
1) The press will be looking for a sizable body of nurses (10-20) doing interesting work. You might try to find a body of like-minded nurses from all ranges of the nursing spectrum--LPNs; RN, AD/Diplomas; RN, BSNs; CNSs; NPs; CNMs; CRNAs; Nurse Psychotherapists, RN First Assistants, RN, PhDs; nursing researchers, nursing professors; and the many different types of nurses--hospital, home health, hospice, community health... Ask around. Nursing schools will often know people from the full spectrum--and many nursing schools seem to be interested in pursuing working on the nursing image. Try to get as many men involved as possible. Also look for nurses of an ethnic minority to join the list.
2) Encourage the nurses in your group to each write up a one-page summary of their work. One paragraph should address the nature of your work. One to three more paragraphs could be devoted to an interesting patient each (check HIPAA guidelines to make sure you stay within the rules). Writing about the patients helps to humanize your work--very important for the press. We can post these summaries on our web site under the "press room" link.
3) Build a list of names, email addresses and phone numbers of all the health care reporters in your metropolitan area.
4) Then you and the other nurses on the list can call some of the health journalists in your database to pitch your story ideas--you and your work are the story!
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need guidance in starting a program. And if you do start a program, please tell us about it so that we can pass the word along to others.
If the program is successful with the local press, consider expanding it to include high school students, who can also follow you at work.