Changing how the world thinks about nursing

Join our Facebook group

News on Nurses in the Media
August 2007 Archives

   

 

The Aging Nurse Project

August 15, 2007 -- Today The Boston Herald ran a generally good piece by Paul Restuccia about issues presented by the aging Massachusetts nursing workforce. "Nursing comes of age: Project helps older practitioners" focuses on efforts like the Aging Nurse Project at Massachusetts General Hospital. That project looks for ways to help older nurses work longer and more effectively. The piece explores some of the challenges older nurses may face, given the extraordinary physical demands of nursing. It also discusses innovations that may help nurses to cope with those demands while passing on the benefit of their expertise to younger colleagues. It focuses particularly on the ideas and innovations of senior MGH nurse Ed Coakley, who founded the Project, and also includes some good quotes from nursing scholars and advocates. We thank Mr. Restuccia and the Herald for this helpful article. more...

 

The advocates

August 29, 2007 -- Today San Antonio NBC affiliate WOAI reported that nurses at two major local hospitals have gone public with allegations of dangerous short-staffing. The focus of David Cruz's report is a group led by veteran nurse Imelda Balderas (right), who says that a lack of nurses at University Hospital has led to at least one patient death in recent weeks. The piece notes that nurses from Christus Santa Rosa Hospital's ICU made similar claims last week. Balderas has organized a "patient advocacy committee" to push for staffing ratios and whistle-blower protection. The hospital reportedly disputes some of the staffing claims and says it is unaware of any "widespread dissatisfaction" among nurses. We thank David Cruz and WOAI for the report, and commend Balderas and her group for speaking out about patient safety issues despite the obvious risk to their careers. more...

 

A Nursing Morality Play in 3 Acts

August 28, 2007 -- Today The New York Times ran "Code Blue: A Medical Morality Play in 3 Acts," by physician Larry Zaroff (right), a regular contributor to the Times who now teaches medical humanities at Stanford. The "Cases" piece includes physician-centric descriptions of a 1961 incident in which Zaroff helped to save the life of a cardiac patient--a man who later showed little appreciation. Center director Sandy Summers sent Dr. Zaroff a detailed analysis of the piece. She explained that it presented nurses as peripheral physician subordinates and suggested that Zaroff alone saved the patient, effectively giving him credit for nursing work. Dr. Zaroff's short but extraordinary response did not hide behind feeble excuses. Instead, Dr. Zaroff acknowledged the error, apologized, and noted that nurses are "the most vital part" of patient care because they "make the first decision," and have often alerted him to key problems of post-surgical ICU patients before residents were aware of them. We thank Dr. Zaroff, and we hope his and other future media accounts of care will reflect the fair-minded approach in his response to us. more...

 

Hotter Than July

August 20, 2007 -- Today the Express and Star (U.K.) reported that staff at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital said nurses were "risking the spread of superbugs by snubbing the in-house laundry service and washing their uniforms at home." The unsigned piece, "Nurses risk spreading bugs," says nurses avoid the service because it does a poor job. The piece fails to mention the risk from other hospital staff--do physicians wash all of their clothes and neckties at 70 degrees C (158 F)? But we commend the Express and Star for focusing attention on this issue, which is often overlooked by the media, by staff, and by hospitals, which should provide workable systems to control infection risks that are plainly beyond the reach of individual staff to manage. We also encourage nurses in clinical settings to urge their employers to provide uniform cleaning services and showering facilities for all staff to reduce the spread of deadly organisms from health facilities to the community. more...

 

To inspire and be inspired

August 2007 -- Recently the University of Michigan Health System has run one-minute radio advertisements featuring men describing why they became nurses at "U of M." The ads seem to be directed at recruiting nurses and nursing students to the school, though they may also be part of the University's massive ongoing capital campaign. We applaud the ads' focus on attracting men to the profession. The "nurses" come off as articulate, substantial people. And nursing is presented as work with real meaning. Sadly, the ads focus on generalized, emotional angel imagery. We hear about the nurses setting up a summer camp for disabled kids, getting smiles and looks of wonder, loving what they do and not looking at it as a "job," "helping" kids fight cancer, "inspir[ing]" and being inspired. These are good things. But nowhere do listeners get a sense of what nurses actually do for patients--that they have advanced training, that they are clinical and research leaders, that they save lives and improve clinical outcomes in a tangible way. The ads may attract nurses to U of M, and they may serve the school's overall campaign strategy. But the "virtue script" message the ads send to the public about nursing is, at best, uninspired. more...

 

Take Action!

I feel so good I'm gonna break somebody's heart tonight

August 15, 2007 -- Coast to coast, the naughty nurse continues her tireless efforts to sell alcohol and pop music to the needy. An April 19 Palm Beach Post article reports that Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil will open Dr. Feelgood's Rock Bar and Grill this summer in West Palm Beach. The bar, named after a 1989 Crue album, will reportedly feature "waitresses dressed as nurses." Meanwhile, across the nation, Los Angeles has been enjoying Club Good Hurt, a nightclub where female bartenders dress in provocative "nurse" outfits, since 2004. Unfortunately, the undervaluation of nursing that this kind of imagery reflects is a factor in what may be the worst nursing shortage in U.S. history. So hard-partying bar patrons who need a real nurse may not be feeling so good. more...

 

The dog ate my reporting

August 2007 -- On May 13, The New York Times ran a long piece by reporter Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., about the ongoing recovery of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine from a serious auto crash in April: "In Corzine's Recovery, Doctors Cite Grit and Luck." The physician-centric piece included many quotes from Cooper University Hospital physicians, but not one from a nurse--though Corzine spent eight days in the ICU. And the piece gave credit for things nurses do to physicians, to others, or to no one. In response, the Center posted an online analysis, and its executive director wrote a letter to Dr. Altman. Dr. Altman wrote back, arguing that he did ask to speak with nurses, but that the two nurses the hospital made available to him played only a marginal role in Corzine's care. The Center's reply notes that we commend Dr. Altman for considering our concerns, but that his limited effort to speak to nurses will do nothing to alter the piece's damaging effect on the public. We also explain that we understand journalists are not solely responsible for the undervaluation of nursing evident in pieces like this. Many nurses are reluctant to speak up, and many hospitals fail to encourage it. But journalists should do more than simply rely on what the institutional subjects of their stories tell them. Health reporters should learn about and convey the key role nurses really play in patient outcomes, and work to give readers the real story. Would Dr. Altman have accepted it if the only physicians the hospital provided to him were marginally involved in the Governor's care? more...

 

My Dinner with Archy

August 15, 2007 -- Today The Gulf News reported that nurses in the United Arab Emirates had "lodged a complaint against two major water companies" after finding contaminants in bottled water. Nasouh Nazzal's "Nurses open water bottle to find cockroach" reports that following the nurses' water safety complaints, government inspectors investigated the companies, found many violations, and imposed fines. We thank The Gulf News for reporting on the UAE nurses' admirable public health advocacy, which shows what nurses can do when they speak out. more...

 

Stormy weather

August 12, 2007 -- Today The Washington Post ran a good story by Matt Zapotosky about efforts by nurses to address climate change as an important public health issue. The piece quotes nurses from the University of Maryland and the American Nurses Association, who argue that global warming can affect nurses' patients in profound ways. These include an increase in heat-related conditions and the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Katrina. We thank Zapotosky and the Post for helping the public see nurses as engaged public health professionals and advocates. more...

 

New Truth FAQ

Q: But I'm young and hot and I love people to think nurses are sexy! Promiscuous girls rule! Anyone who objects to the "naughty nurse" image must be an old hag "nursing leader" who hates sex and freedom, right?

A: Calm down, hot thing. We would never stand between you and your hotness. But please think about what the "naughty nurse" means--because it doesn't mean people think real nurses are serious professionals who just happen to be sexy. It means a lot of people think nursing is a disposable job that could, and ideally would, be done by brainless bimbos. If you were hoping for respect and adequate resources to help you save lives, the "naughty nurse" is not your friend.       We don't care whether people think you're sexy or not, and we don't care what you do in your personal life. There's also nothing inherently wrong with media images of nurses who are sexually attractive, like Linda Cardellini's character on "ER" (right) or Josh Coxx's on "Strong Medicine." But the standard "naughty nurse" image has less to do with a belief that real nurses are sexy than it does with a desire to have anonymous sex with giggly twits dressed in lingerie-like "nurse" uniforms. In other words, the average "naughty nurse" enthusiast doesn't necessarily want a relationship with you. He just wants a "date." more...

 

See our archives of news and action:

<<<More recent (2007 September) ------------------- (2007 July) Previous >>>

See range of archive dates

See current news page

 

to top

 

‚Äč