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News on Nurses in the Media
March 2005 Archives


Reader's Digest: "Life, Death & in Between -- A Nurse's Story"

March 2005 -- This month's issue of Reader's Digest (Canada) included as a "Book Choice" an engaging excerpt from Tilda Shalof's A Nurse's Story (2004), which describes the nurse's years working in a Toronto hospital ICU. The excerpt gives the magazine's many readers an honest and thoughtful look at the development of a nurse and some of the key aspects of bedside practice, despite occasional lapses into unhelpful angel imagery. more...


Women's eNews commentator highlights nursing shortage...in the media

March 30, 2005 -- Today the Women's eNews web site posted a very good commentary by Sheila Gibbons about the low visibility of nurses' work in the media, apart from stories about the nursing shortage. The piece explains why the news and entertainment media's treatment of nurses matters, and suggests that more attention to nurses' real contributions is a key part of overcoming the current nursing crisis. more...


Midwives credited for second lowest hospital C-section rate in New Jersey, despite serving high-risk community

March 28, 2005 -- Today the Courier News (New Jersey) ran a generally very good piece by Stefanie Matteson about the midwifery program credited with helping the Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center achieve the state's second lowest rate of Caesarian sections, despite serving a low-income urban patient population that is more likely to have high-risk pregnancies. The article highlights the midwives' care model, presents key data and includes good comments from relevant persons, though it could have focused a bit more on the midwives' clinical skill, as opposed to the admirable "cultural climate" they create. more...


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ABC's "Grey's Anatomy": so chunky with Hollywood's contempt for nursing, you'll be tempted to use a fork. But use a scalpel!

March 27, 2005 -- Tonight ABC drew 16.3 million viewers to the series premiere of "Grey's Anatomy," a drama about surgical interns, especially attractive young female ones. Projecting edge but hedging with melodrama, the all-physician show combines elements of recent hospital shows like "ER" with overtones of "Sex and the City"--and "G.I. Jane." Show creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes wrote the episode, and the "medical consultant" was Karen Lisa Pike, MD. We figured the show might be something like "House," which ignores nursing except to show physicians doing it, wrongly suggesting that they provide all meaningful care. "Grey's Anatomy" does that, but the premiere also embodies feminism's blind contempt for nursing, stressing that smart, tough, attractive women do not do the bedpan servant thing. Given the media's proven influence on the public, this widely seen premiere's regressive attack on nursing will likely do its part to exacerbate the nursing crisis that is taking lives worldwide. more...


"Thanks for everything"

March 24, 2005 -- Tonight's episode of NBC's "ER" included something we weren't sure we'd ever see from the show: a patient's mother thanking nurse character Sam Taggart for making a catch that would play a key role in her son's impending surgery, followed by a "ditto that" from the intern who had resisted Taggart. What can we say? Nursing skill, patient advocacy, informal teaching of young physicians, due credit for patient outcomes--it's almost like episode writers David Zabel and Lisa Zwerling, M.D., were actually paying attention to our concerns. Of course, this is just a minor part of one plotline. The episode still has nurses reporting to the chief of ED medicine, and it remains focused on the physicians' work, largely ignoring nursing when it's not showing physicians doing it. But we certainly commend the show for this effort to show the value of nursing. more...


Million Dollar Baby

March 2005 -- "Million Dollar Baby" is another of Clint Eastwood's flinty meditations on wounded people fighting to protect what they hold dear in a very cruel world. It centers on a burned-out L.A. boxing veteran who reluctantly agrees to train an aspiring female contender from a Missouri trailer park. There are tired plot elements and weak minor characters and scenes. But the film is still powerful and persuasive, thanks to some good writing, great acting by the leads, and Eastwood's restrained direction. Unfortunately, it includes a minor but awful portrayal of rehabilitation nursing, which is sacrificed to the larger need to show the central characters struggling with the choices fate presents. more...


"Grey's Anatomy": New ABC show boasts nine physician characters, no nurses

March 2005 -- On Sunday, March 27, at 10 p.m. (9c), ABC will broadcast the premiere of "Grey's Anatomy," a new television drama about the experiences of a group of physician interns, especially women, struggling to cope in a tough Seattle surgical program. We're trying to keep an open mind, but with a staggering nine out of nine recurring characters apparently surgeons, the show seems poised to offer millions of viewers yet another regressive, physican-centric drama in a season that has been crammed full of them. Because of the demonstrated influence of network dramas on the public's health-related views and actions, we hope all nurses--but especially OR nurses--will watch and let the show's producers know what they think. more...


Are you man enough to talk about your erectile dysfunction with a bunch of nurses?

March 2005 -- Boston Medical Group (BMG), a company that runs clinics in several nations specializing in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), has recently been running radio ads in the US that assure potential patients that they will not need to discuss their ED with nurses. Specifically, the ads feature an ED "patient" who states that he does not want to talk with a "bunch of nurses," and an announcer then assures listeners that at BMG, he will not. This ad may well reflect the company's overall marketing strategy (which is clear from its web site) to reassure men who do not wish to discuss their ED with women, rather than any intentional disrespect for nurses. But the ad may still encourage many listeners to regard nurses as a gaggle of incompetent or insensitive females. After letters from three people, BMG has vowed to pull the ad. more...


The monkey business

March 2005 -- Bam Bam, the orangutan who has played "Nurse Precious" on NBC's campy soap "Passions" since March 2003, is set to leave the show with the episode to be broadcast Thursday, March 24. The Center started a campaign in September 2003 to persuade the show to end this depiction, which included Bam Bam actually doing some private duty "nursing," along with the expected comic hijinks. We argued that however riotously funny this all was, the idea that nursing could be done by a monkey came too close to what much of society has long believed nurses really do, and that such media images exacerbate the nursing crisis. Indeed, nurses have been told by physicians and hospital representatives that monkeys could do their jobs. more...


The Nurses' View

March 14, 2005 -- Today the CBS television affiliate in Boston, CBS4, ran an edition of its weekly "The Women's View" segment that ostensibly was a discussion of "medication errors" with four local bedside nurses. The piece, featuring anchor Lisa Hughes, amounted to a compelling infomercial arguing that short-staffing has caused the nursing shortage and pushing proposed safe staffing legislation. While the complete lack of balance might undermine the piece's credibility for some who are familiar with the controversial issues involved, the nurses' presentation was a striking example of patient advocacy. more...


A Modest Proposal

March 11, 2005 -- Today the Baltimore Sun published a piece by Stephanie Shapiro about local oncology nurse practitioner Caryn Andrews, who recently completed her doctorate at the University of Maryland with research examining the role of "modesty" in the reluctance of some Jewish women to get regular mammograms. The story obviously conveys the helpful message that nurses can earn doctorates in nursing, and it is a pretty good account of important nursing research, though it fails to explain the full clinical significance of Andrews' work--i.e., how it could mean the difference between life and death. more...


A beautiful death

March 11, 2005 -- Today the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a significant profile of Fox Chase hospice nurse Bunny Dugan as part of the ongoing series "Cancer Chronicles" by staff writer Fawn Vrazo, who herself has metastatic breast cancer. The piece is very good in explaining the nature and merits of hospice care, and placing it in the larger context of the United States' "skittishness about death." It also does a good job of showing the importance of the emotional support hospice nurses like Dugan provide and how difficult their work can be, though it could have done more to bring out the significant clinical skills the work requires. That would have helped readers better understand that hospice nurses are highly trained professionals. more...


The nurses' station in life

March 10, 2005 -- Today NPR's Morning Edition broadcast the end of science correspondent Joseph Shapiro's extensive three-part report on the care and recovery of two U.S. Marines recently wounded in the Iraq war. The report, part of NPR's "Span of War" series, is a striking example of what we might call the "nurses' station" school of health care journalism. The report consists of more than 26 minutes of coverage of the Marines' care, from their wounding by Falluja insurgents through their lengthy stateside hospital rehabilitation, amounting to a virtual audio documentary. Listeners hear plenty about how "doctors" have been caring for the Marines, and even some good discussion of the work of their physical therapists. But no nursing is described, no nurses are mentioned or quoted, and the only utterance of the word "nurse" occurs in the second piece when one patient walks past "the nurses' station" at Bethesda Naval Hospital. more...


BBC: Nurses call for legislative staffing levels in Scotland

March 7, 2005 -- Today the BBC News web site posted a short, fairly balanced piece reporting that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called on the Scottish Parliament to legislate nurse staffing levels in the health service. more...


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Nursing Punk'd: Virgin Mobile's merry pranksters refuse to let public health stand in the way of a little extra cash

March 5, 2005 -- Today the Toronto Star posted a story about nurses' outrage over a new Virgin Mobile Canada ad campaign featuring naughty "nurse" models equipped to "maximize your pleasure" by relieving consumers of "The Catch," a mock venereal disease associated with rival mobile service providers. The campaign is aimed at introducing Virgin Mobile to the youth-dominated Canadian mobile market. It kicked off on March 1 with a Toronto event in which Virgin mogul Richard Branson made a superhero entrance, rescued three naughty nurse models, and joined them for a snowball fight. The campaign also includes print ads and point of sale cardboard displays of the "nurses," and TV ads appear to be on the way. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is, like, having some chick fit about it, all on about a boycott, a public apology and getting the ads pulled, but yo, these Virgin nurse babes are like so worth it! Take action--send our instant letter to Virgin Mobile!


The feel-better tool

March 2005 -- This month's issue of Outside includes a one-page item in its Dispatches section (subhead Fitness & Recovery, p. 30) called "Get Well Soon," which describes eight "feel-better tools" designed to relieve pain after the kind of intense activity in which the magazine's readers presumably engage. The visual centerpiece of the item is a large photo by Gregg Segal of a naughty nurse sitting on the arm of a massage chair in which a recovering Outside guy has crashed following his exertions. Of course, by reinforcing the notion that nurses are brainless fantasy babes and thereby exacerbating the nursing crisis, photos like this actually work to decrease "fitness and recovery." We're guessing the irony of that is lost on those at Outside magazine. Read more and send our instant letter!


Join the Center's "ER" Sponsors Campaign

March 3, 2005 -- The Center's "ER" sponsors campaign moves into phase 2 today, as we ask our supporters to start contacting major corporations to ask them to stop advertising on "ER" until the show ends its damaging handmaiden portrayal of nursing. Learn more, or click here to take action now.


The State of the Profession: "Code White: Nurse Needed"

March 1, 2005 -- Today The State newspaper, of Columbia, South Carolina, ran the final installment of a massive, three-part special report by Linda H. Lamb about the nursing shortage, "Code White: Nurse Needed." The report addresses the causes of and potential solutions to the shortage, and it has many excellent elements, notably extensive examinations of the problems with nursing's public image, issues related to men in nursing, and aspects of the training of new nurses. Perhaps the most glaring problem is the report's failure to mention what many believe is the primary immediate cause of the current shortage, namely the managed care-driven hospital budget cuts of the 1990's which led to the dangerous nurse short-staffing that has driven many nurses from the bedside. The piece gives the impression that any short-staffing is merely an effect of the shortage, rather than a leading cause of it. In addition, a short sidebar on the growing use of foreign nurses in the U.S. fails to mention the devastating effect such migration is having on the health systems of many developing nations. more...


Nursectomy

March 2005 -- Currently Lifetime Television is sponsoring a petition drive to persuade Congress to bar "drive-through mastectomies," which involve insurance reimbursement policies that force women to leave hospitals soon after breast cancer surgeries. Though inpatient nursing care is obviously what this legislative drive is mainly about, the network's online message about the petition manages to give the impression that the care is the province of physicians. more...

 

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