The Truth About Nursing
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Print Email Sign up for free news alerts Join now and receive three free RN patches Become a member! Follow our television analyses Call the Midwife analyses Follow Nurse Jackie Join our Grey's campaign Read our 'The Mindy Project' reviews Follow media portrayals of nursing on television Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk Take action with us to change the world! Frequently asked questions about nursing in the media and the Truth About Nursing's position statements media reviews of nurses in the media, see films, television, music, video and others News on nursing in the media FAQs and position statements press room speaking engagements Teaching materials for nursing professors Become a Nurse! speaking engagements Chapters of the Truth About Nursing About the Truth About Nursing Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk Research and sources please donate nurse-created media become a member The Truth About Nursing's donors contact us Truth About Nursing Facebook page conferences archives search Office of the National Nurse

What can you do to shape a better image of nursing?

Take action with our plan to remedy the nursing image and the nursing profession

In Saving Lives, the book by our leaders Sandy and Harry Summers, there is an extensive plan laid out in the last two chapters which maps out how nurses can change how the world thinks about them.

But the plan is not limited only to nurses, one of the chapters is directed at non-nurses, who can do much to change how the world thinks about nursing. This is a necessary step to ending the crippling global nursing shortage.

See more about Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk

Everyone has their own abilities and interests. So we have broken down the suggested actions into categories. Please select the description that best fits your background and consider what you can do to help us repair the image of nursing. Thank you.

General public, nurses and nursing students


Nursing Faculty

Nursing Scholars and Researchers

Nursing Organizations, Schools and Journals

Action needed from the General Public, Nurses and Nursing Students

Speak to the Media

Speak to the World

Present a Positive Personal Image

Join Our Member Action

Engage Friends and Colleagues

Learn How To Affect and Create Media

Strengthen the Nursing Profession

Please support our work

Teach the public how to get well

Speak To the Media

  • Create a "Be a Nurse for a Day" program--ask your local media to shadow you at work so they can learn what you do and create media about it.
  • Invite your local media to lunch to educate them about the work of nurses and to encourage them to cover the full range of nursing going on in your community. Feel free to contact the Truth to discuss further.
  • Contact the US media by zip code.

Speak To the World

Present a Positive Personal Image

When nurses live healthy lifestyles and look like healthy people, they have more credibility as health experts. We encourage nurses to:

Live smoke-free


Attain a healthy weight and a healthy diet (go vegan; find vegan recipes)

Promote breastfeeding, flossing, seat belt and car seat adherence

See our easy plan to achieve a long and healthy life.

Join Our Member Action

  • Become a member of the Truth and tell others about our work and get them involved.
  • Start a chapter of the Truth in your local area.
  • Monitor the media and alert us to noteworthy portrayals of nursing. Set your DVR, TiVo or DVD recorder to record every time you watch television. If you see a nursing portrayal you'd like us to consider covering, let us know.

Engage Friends and Colleagues

  • Distribute our news alerts by email (sign up, or see news alert archives).
  • Create bulletin boards of our news alerts at your work place or school.
  • Distribute our brochures to your colleagues, friends and students--just let us know how many you need at
  • Giving a presentation? Get a draft powerpoint presentation and some film clips here.
  • Start a Nurse Shadowing Program for medical students and interns at your hospital or school. We must educate physicians as to the nature of nursing work so they can play a more positive role in creating nursing-related media, and so we can develop more collaborative relationships, which lead to better patient outcomes. See a sketch of a nurse shadowing program at Dartmouth.

Learn How To Affect and Create Media

Strengthen the nursing profession through:

How Foundations Can Help Strengthen the Nursing Image and Profession

How Nursing Faculty Can Help Strengthen the Nursing Image

How Nursing Scholars and Researchers Can Help Strengthen the Nursing Image

  • "Pick up that RN flag and wave it," as NurseWeek editor Pam Meredith once said in an editorial. Don't hide your RN from the media or the public. If they give you an option to choose only one identifier, choose the RN. Then the public will see you as a bright, educated nurse working to improve health care. If you only choose the PhD, credit for your work will go to some other profession, but it surely will not go to nursing. So please highlight your nurse status first and your degrees second, because nursing is the most important part of what we need you to present to the public, to highlight the valuable things nurses are doing to improve health care.
  • Consider the final stage of your research to be publication in the lay press. Call and meet with members of your local media to facilitate press coverage of your research results.
  • Seek out appointments in schools of medicine to teach physicians and medical students in the area of your expertise.

How Nursing Organizations, Schools and Journals Can Help Strengthen the Nursing Image

  • Develop a prominent link on your main page to explain your subspecialty of nursing to the general public. The link might read like: "What is dermatology nursing?" And then please link them to a page where you have an easy-to-understand definition.
  • Build a list and establish relationships with your local health journalists. Invite them to seminars, conferences and lunch. Invite them to speak or moderate a panel or conference.  
  • Offer to be a resource person for them--be reliable and credible.
  • Pitch the media story ideas every so often. Be tenacious, but don't badger. Have a compelling story or issue to pitch including conflict, controversy, injustice, irony, or something ground breaking. Have images and a human story ready.
  • Control the story. Identify one to three main points. Create the sound bite or rhetoric. Anticipate the opposing arguments. Provide data.
  • Develop a large nurse expert database of nurses expert in their field, from a wide geographic area to have on hand when the media calls to speak to an expert.
  • Train at least a core group of your nurse experts in media skills.
  • Don't release research results in a vacuum--use your experts' research and clinical work to promote desirable health policies. Such a press release is more likely to get picked up by the media--in addition to promoting better health policies.
  • Find a media person to write press releases, respond quickly to journalists and pitch stories to the media.
  • Send thanks to the media for good or three dimensional coverage of nursing issues--whether or not the coverage is in your subspecialty.
  • Send feedback to journalists who ignore nursing and focus only on physicians. Offer to provide them with nursing experts on similar stories in the future.
  • Offer media awards for best coverage in your subspecialty.
  • Develop art and children's books and games to stimulate wide interest in your specialty.
  • Mobilize your base and work with The Truth About Nursing to protest objectionable portrayals of nursing.
  • Send members of the media complementary subscriptions to your journal, newsletters or publications.

Please support The Truth About Nursing

The Truth is supported by three major means:

Legislative resources

Contact US elected officials and government agency representatives on current nursing legislation from the National League of Nursing.

Teach the public how to get well

scraped kneeWe are just beginning to build this section of the website. We would like nurses to create health information aimed at the public so they can care for themselves better. Please write to us at to let us know what information you would like to share with the wider world. The first page is:

How to care for scrapes, scraped knees or elbows -- How to take care of road rash.

Be Sweet to Babies: Reduce your baby's pain during blood tests, by Denise Harrison, RN, PhD, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa) (video on YouTube)


Thank you for your support! We cannot do this without you!

Other ideas?
Please email us your suggestions.



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