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October 2007 Archives

   

 

The most interesting nurse ad in the world

October 25, 2007 -- Viewers of tonight's season premiere of NBC's "Scrubs" did not just miss the nurses that the show mostly ignores. Viewers also missed two "nurses" who no longer appear in an amusing new set of ads for Dos Equis beer, one of which ran during the sitcom. The ads, made by ad agency Euro RSCG, are mock-serious tributes to a character presented as "the most interesting man in the world." This man's "blood smells like cologne," his "beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man's entire body," and he bench-presses two chairs in which sit attractive, giggly women in short dresses--women who are no longer dressed as nurses. That's because the Center appealed to an independent board that handles such protests for Dos Equis maker Heineken. We argued that the ads were inconsistent with specific marketing standards of the company and the Beer Institute. The panel, which included former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, agreed that the ads should be changed. So Heineken digitally altered the women's clothing to remove the nursing identifiers, frame by frame. We thank the Heineken for doing so, especially since we understand it hopes to use variations of the ads for years to come. The appearance of the ad on the physician-centric "Scrubs" shows how far we still have to go in persuading the media to present a fair portrait of nursing. But it also shows that persistent advocacy can influence how the media treats the profession. more...

 

The Commander

October 25, 2007 -- This week's issue of TIME magazine included a short but fairly good profile of U.S. Navy Commander Maureen Pennington, the "first nurse to lead a surgical company during combat operations." Caroline Kennedy's "Beyond the Call of Duty" does not directly discuss Pennington's nursing skills or background. It does feature a lot of vague helping imagery, and apparently even a portrait of a military nurse would not be complete without discussion of her being "like a mom" to the soldiers. Still, the piece highlights Pennington's leadership, communication, and cross-cultural skills. The field hospitals she led in her 2006 tour in Iraq had an "unprecedented" 98% survival rate. We thank Ms. Kennedy and TIME for this generally helpful profile of a nursing leader. more...

 

"Is That Even a Word--Midwifery?"

October 24, 2007 -- ABC's "Private Practice," the only new health drama of the 2007-08 TV season, is another prime time soap about smart, pretty physicians from "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes. But in addition to the seven physician characters who dominate here, the show's LA "wellness clinic" also has cute surfing receptionist Dell Parker. The earnest Dell just got his "nursing degree" and is studying to be a midwife. He seems to be a young, network version of "Strong Medicine"'s Peter Riggs--except Dell uses his nursing skills to be a receptionist. Despite good intentions and an intense interest in the clinic's patients, Dell seems to be the least knowledgeable major nurse character in the last decade of prime time US television. The show's early episodes suggest that his clinical studies consist of whatever ad hoc assistance he can give to clinic physicians. The episodes also rely heavily on juvenile mockery of Dell's midwifery studies as lightweight New Age kookiness. Show anchor and superstar physician Addison repeatedly utters the word "midwif" as if she had never heard of such an outlandish pursuit. Alert viewers can also catch glimpses of wallpaper nurses in the background once in a while, but it's not clear if any of them will ever display the ability to speak, much less think. On the whole, "Private Practice" either ignores or grossly undervalues nursing care, as the show pursues its tired "heroic physician" narrative. more, including our 5 new film clips...

"Is that even a word?"

The September 26 premiere features Addison mocking the very idea of midwifery. We're meant to assume that bemused contempt for midwives would probably be the attitude of any true childbirth expert. more...

"I love talking to midwifs"

Early in the October 3 episode we see Dell asking fertility specialist Naomi to speak to his midwife class. Naomi can't teach the class, so Addison tells Dell: "I'll do it. I love talking to midwifs." more...

"Commit to the cake, man"

The show manages to get through the entire October 10 episode, without mocking the word "midwifery." However, the episode does nothing to counter its overall presentation of Dell as an office assistant with little to no health care expertise. more...

"Vulva! Labia Majus!"

In the October 17 episode it's back to mockery of "midwif" school and of Dell's role as office naïf. more...

"Don't mock the midwife"

The October 24 episode is notable for a minor plotline built around Dell's first pap smears. But on the whole the episode presents Dell as a nurse without significant skill or experience with patients. more...

 

Naughty nurses too scary for Halloween

October 12, 2007 -- Nurses say "naughty nurse" costumes are too spooky even for Halloween--and they're conjuring a spell to exorcise the sexy demons. The Center for Vampire Slaying Nursing Advocacy leads a torch-wielding mob urging all who make, sell, or wear the costumes to end the naughty nightmare. The group says the stereotype that nurses are sponge-bath sex zombies has bedeviled real nurses for decades. A monstrous example: the lingerie-like "nurse" costumes worn at Halloween. more...

 

Take Action!

What the world needs now is inspiring soulful love dolls

October 12, 2007 -- In every corner of the globe, the naughty nurse just wants men to be happy. Today, Reuters reports that consumer products giant Unilever has provoked outrage from a major Spanish nurses union by running billboard ads with a "saucy depiction of a nurse" to sell the company's Axe deodorant. In Japan, naughty nurse Kunika is one of the life-size sex dolls (sorry, "inspiring soulful love dolls") sold by the company "4 woods." And in Russia, the makers of Gzhelka vodka appear to have crafted the mother of all naughty nurse advertising. This television ad shows a randy nurse set up a bottle of vodka as an intravenous infusion into an unconscious male patient, causing immediate arousal from the patient. The nurse then has onscreen intercourse with the still-unconscious patient, and later asks why anyone would need medicine at all. Why, indeed. These images suggest a pathetic evolutionary dead end: an auto-erotic obsession that actually undermines life, by fostering contempt for those who promote life. more...

 

Getting fresher

October 6, 2007 -- Nursing supporters have persuaded Cadbury Schweppes to withdraw a "naughty nurse" television ad its Canadian division had been running for Dentyne Ice gum. The ad showed female nurses being lured into bed with male patients, with the tag line: "Get Fresh." The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the Center for Nursing Advocacy started campaigns to persuade the company to change course. We understand that over 1,000 nurses sent letters from RNAO's web site. Over 500 nursing supporters sent letters from the Center's site, and the Center placed many calls to top Cadbury Schweppes executives, leaving long messages explaining that such imagery reinforces a stereotype of workplace sexual availability that contributes to the global nursing crisis. Initially, on October 3, the company sent letters arguing that its ads were causing no harm. But yesterday, the company told the Center and RNAO that it would pull the ads, and consult nurses in creating its future U.S. and Canadian ads involving nurses. Cadbury Schweppes chief executive officer Todd Stitzer also took time out from managing the company's 67,000 employees and $14 billion in annual sales to call the Center from London to explain that he understood our concerns. We thank the company for this unusual level of responsiveness, and hope to work with it to promote a more accurate image of nursing. We believe the results here also show what nurses can do when they advocate collectively, persistently, and passionately. more...

 

"Nursing their grievances"

October 4, 2007 -- Today The Hindu (India) reported that the Pondicherry Government Nurses Association had staged a protest about poor staffing at government hospitals and other issues raised in a "13-point charter of demands." The piece indicates that critical care nurses in most of these hospitals have to care for six patients each, and that one medical-surgical unit nurse had 40-50 patients--dangerously low ratios by any measure. Although the piece might have explored the causes and effects of this situation in far more detail, we thank The Hindu for the article. more...

 

The Campaign for Nursing's Skanky Tomorrow

October 3, 2007 -- Today the BBC ran a story about a calendar showing two Members of Parliament from Sussex surrounded by "models dressed as saucy nurses"--a calendar created as part of a campaign to prevent the closure of emergency wards at two U.K. hospitals. The MPs are understandably baffled about why nurses have protested what a union official describes as the calendar's use of the "dinosaur stereotype of nurses as sexual objects." We think the MPs have hit on a simply brilliant idea: The way to help improve abysmal clinical conditions and resolve the global nursing shortage is to help the public understand that nurses really are brainless bimbos ready to provide sexual services. Nothing sells better than sex, right? So please thank MPs Tim Loughton (left) and Peter Bottomley (right) for their keen understanding of the nursing crisis, and join our new campaign, inspired by the MPs: The Campaign for Nursing's Skanky Tomorrow. more...

 

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