How foundations and policy makers can help strengthen the nursing image and the nursing profession
Foundations and other health policy makers should honor nursing and include the profession in policy initiatives
Foundations can fund television shows and educational materials about nursing, including documentaries and scripted dramas. Foundations might also consider creating videos to educate the media, physicians, career seekers, and students about nursing. A November 2013 report by the Foundation Center indicated that U.S. foundations had given $1.86 billion in media-related grants from 2009-2011, with marked growth in giving to new media and large grants to public radio and television--on which Call the Midwife airs.
Foundations and health policy makers should include nurses in advisory groups and in joint efforts to shape health policy. In 2007 Google created a Health Advisory Council with twenty-five members, and though many were physicians, not a single one appeared to be a nurse. The powerful media company refused requests to place nurses on the panel despite our letter and many follow-up phone calls. Health initiatives like this cannot succeed without the input of nurses. And of course, including nurses in such high-profile positions would tell the public that nurses are health experts whose work has value.
Nurses are often missing from joint health policy efforts that directly implicate nursing concerns, even though the physician and public health communities are included. For example, in September 2011 the Pew Charitable Trusts organized a joint letter to Members of Congress warning of the link between the overuse of antibiotics in food animal production and drug-resistant infections in humans. Original signatories included the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American Public Health Association. Not a single nursing group signed at that time, although nurses are deeply involved in these preventive public health issues. As of early 2014 the number of organizations signing had reached 453, and there were 37 national and state nursing organizations among them. That was still only about 25% of the signing health organizations, even though nursing is the largest health profession. Of course, it may be that some nursing organizations were asked and declined--nurses have long had an unfortunate habit of keeping their heads down--but the under-representation of nurses in efforts like this is so common that it is critical for all who advocate for better health to ensure that nurses are part of the picture.
Kristine Gebbie and Sandy Summers, "Nurses' Achievements Merit International Recognition," Baltimore Sun (December 8, 2006), http://tinyurl.com/metcefz; TAN, "The Nobel Prize in Nursing" (December 8, 2006), http://tinyurl.com/mnuq2c9.
CFNA, "Q: Should We Create an International Museum of Modern Nursing To Show the World How Vital, Exciting, and Technologically Advanced Nursing Really Is?", TAN (February 29, 2008), http://tinyurl.com/l8dsbay.
Denise Lu, "Foundation Support Booms for Web, Mobile Media Projects," Public Broadcasting Service Idea Lab (November 22, 2013), http://tinyurl.com/lw2274g; Knight Foundation, "Growth in Foundation Support for Media in the United States" (November 12, 2013), http://tinyurl.com/kskbkxh.
Google, "New Advisory Group on Health" (June 27, 2007), http://tinyurl.com/29ptre.
Sandy Summers, Letter to Missy Krasner, Google (July 5, 2007), http://tinyurl.com/o7ukv84.
Pew Foundation, Letter to Congress: "Sound Science: Antibiotic Use In Food Animals Leads To Drug Resistant Infections In People" (September 6, 2011), http://tinyurl.com/lfylfc7.