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2008 News on Nursing in the Media

   

 

Children of the city

December 8, 2008 -- Today Heather Knight posted a short item called "The rhyming nurse at S.F. General" on the San Francisco Chronicle blog City Insider. It describes a poem by forensic nurse Carmen Henesy begging San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom not to approve proposed budget cuts that would eliminate the jobs of 3 of the 4 forensic nurses who practice at a clinic that handles "every child sex-abuse case in the city." The poem, "The San Francisco Budget Cuts," is not just a great example of patient advocacy. It also tells the public why skilled nurses are vital to direct care--and shows that nurses are thoughtful and innovative guardians of public health. We commend Henesy for writing her poem, and Knight for posting it. more...

 

Helping you remember complicated facts

October 30, 2008 -- Tonight's episode of NBC's "ER" features a remarkable minor plotline about physician attitudes toward nursing, particularly the nurse anesthetist program that major nurse character Sam Taggart began in earlier episodes this month. This episode includes scenes in which Taggart's boyfriend, resident Tony Gates, condescends to Taggart both with regard to her current work and her anesthesia program. Gates does so in the context of his clinical teaching of an attractive intern who seems to have a crush on him. Taggart sets them both straight about nursing autonomy and skill, at one point successfully taking over an urgent intubation from the flailing intern. And other physician characters express support for Taggart. We commend writer Karen Maser and the show for the episode, "Haunted," which drew 9.2 million U.S. viewers. more...

 

Nurses Needed

October 24, 2008 -- Tonight the PBS television program "NOW" aired a fairly good half-hour report about the ongoing U.S. nursing shortage. "Nurses Needed" makes many good points, describing the critical role nurses play in bedside care and patient outcomes. It also gives a sense of some key features of the shortage, including the shortage of faculty and even a passing reference to the role of popular culture in reinforcing damaging views of nurses. Unfortunately, the report largely overlooks some major causes of the shortage, most notably short-staffing and the lack of sufficient clinical resources for nurses. The report does seem to suggest that stressful workplace conditions are driving nurses away, but it makes little effort to place that factor in the current context--nursing has always been stressful, why are we now suffering the worst shortage in modern history? Still, the report provides a good deal of useful information, and we commend producer Bill Gentile, senior correspondent Maria Inahosa, and host David Brancaccio. more... and see the video.

 

I just do

Grace HanadarkoAugust 18, 2008 -- Tonight's episode of TNT's police drama Saving Grace featured an impressive portrayal of a burn ICU nurse who projects advanced clinical skills in treating a six-year-old boy who has been horribly burned by his father. Nurse Angela gives key information about the boy's care to the show's lead character, Oklahoma City detective Grace Hanadarko, conveying that she has holistic health expertise. Angela also displays interpersonal skills; she cares deeply about the boy, yet is tough enough to handle the suffering she witnesses. Angela plays the central role in the boy's care, just as she would in real life. A physician appears briefly to remove a breathing tube, but Angela is the main point of contact for the detectives. And unlike a 2004 episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit with a sexual assault nurse character, this episode resists the urge to have Grace herself take the lead in the care of the crime victim. A few elements of the portrayal could have been better, including Angela's decision to talk about the likelihood of the boy's dying right in front of him. But the actresses playing Angela (Camille Saviola) and Grace (Holly Hunter) both do a great job in their interactions to support the overall themes, beyond what the script requires. "Are You An Indian Princess?" was written by Mark Israel and Roger Wolfson, and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton. more...and please join us in sending a letter of thanks to the show.

 

Perceived myopic approach

August 2, 2008 -- Today The News (Pakistan) published a report by Imtiaz Ali headlined "Acute shortage of nurses and midwives resulting in casualties." The report, which appears to be based on recent books, describes the "terrible" state of nursing in Pakistan, which includes inadequate training resources, an atmosphere of social disrespect, and an astonishing lack of nurses. Reportedly, the nation has one nurse for every eight physicians, when adequate care requires far more nurses than physicians. The report is not free of physician-centric assumptions, but on the whole it provides a valuable look at a very sad state of affairs. more...

 

Looking for Mr. McSteamy

"And yet nowhere in that newspaper article does my name appear. I am the unseen hand to his brilliance."

-- Cristina Yang, having quit surgery for nursing, protesting the media's tendency to credit physicians for the important work of nurses

May 8, 2008 -- Tonight's episode of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" was a tour de force of physician nursing and portrayed nurses as so desperate for physicians' romantic attention that they would stop work and call in their union if they failed to get it. In the episode, Seattle Grace's surgical nurses boycotted all surgeries of plastic surgeon Mark Sloane because he had loved and left too many of them. The boycott lasted until resident Miranda Bailey gave the mute ninnies a public lecture on romantic maturity and how their hurt feelings were probably a little less important than the lives that could be saved by, um, actually doing the surgeries. The producers probably thought they could not be accused of promoting the "naughty nurse" because Sloane was, as Bailey stressed, the real "whore." But the plotline suggested that nurses were too dumb to realize what Sloan was all about despite his reputation, and that they were after more of his attention than they could have, underlining the sense that they are slutty serfs grasping at any available hunky physician. Meanwhile, the episode relentlessly showed the surgeons doing important work that nurses actually do: running the surgical board; providing all psychosocial care to distraught patients and families; giving IV medications; doing all patient monitoring, including of a patient's intracranial pressure; and doing a clinical trial essentially by themselves. Finally, resident Cristina Yang gave a bitter speech about ex-flame Preston Burke winning a prestigious medical award without crediting her help--an astonishing echo of the show's own crediting of physicians for work nurses really do. The episode was Tony Phelan and Joan Rater's "The Becoming"--drawn from a Nine Inch Nails song, because if any TV show is in sync with Trent Reznor's fiercely bleak view of modern life, it's definitely "Grey's." The episode drew 15.6 million U.S. viewers. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

The Truth About Nursing is here!

December 30, 2008 -- Our new non-profit organization seeks to change how the world thinks about nursing! Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, formerly the executive director of The Center for Nursing Advocacy, has founded a new non-profit called The Truth About Nursing. In her new role, Summers will continue the work she began in 2001 to improve understanding of the nursing profession through a wide range of media advocacy and education efforts. Please join us! See more on our about us page...

 

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The Center for Nursing Advocacy has closed and we have continued our mission under a new organization--The Truth About Nursing. The material below was released when we were with The Center for Nursing Advocacy. The material above was released through The Truth About Nursing, which we began December 30, 2008. Learn more about our history.

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Dark comedy

September 2008 -- The fall U.S. television season seems to offer mostly more of the same--a prevailing vision of nurses as peripheral physcian subordinates--with one intriguing exception. The popular prime time dramas "House" (Fox, premiering Sept. 16) and "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, Sept. 25) will return with no major nurse characters to complement the smart, pretty physicians who provide all important hospital care. "Grey's" spinoff "Private Practice" (ABC, Oct. 1) will still include hot but blank midwifery student Dell Parker, a nurse who works as a health clinic receptionist. The venerable "ER" (NBC, Sept. 25) and "Scrubs" (ABC, mid-season) return with one actual major nurse character each. The plastic surgery drama "nip/tuck" (FX, January 2009) will be back for more sleazy fun, but no significant nurse characters. And the new daytime show "The Doctors" (syndicated, Sept. 8), created by the people behind "Dr. Phil," offers a "dream team" of four telegenic physicians giving advice on health issues. But wait--there's something else. Reports say that in early 2009, the premium cable network Showtime will offer a new dark comedy with the tentative title "Nurse Jackie." The show, starring Edie Falco (above) as a tough New York ED nurse, would appear to be the first prime time U.S. television drama since the early 1990's to have a nurse character play the central role. more...

 

Your Ultimate Recovery Team

August 2008 -- In mid-2008, Canada's Neilson Dairy marketed its Ultimate flavored milk products with a naughty nurse campaign that was remarkably similar to the earlier Coors Light Trauma Tour. Naughty nurse models appeared in the dairy's ads and at a related extreme sports tour, the Live Ultimate Tour. Neilson ads matched each of the three main campaign "nurses"--the "Ultimate Recovery Team"--with sports-related sexual innuendo. Nurses...recovery...get it? This month, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and 1,000 supporters helped the company recover from its naughty nurse workout and remove the nurse element from its campaign. We salute RNAO and its supporters. more...

 

"Physician-extenders" lack "know-how" to diagnose complex stuff, but are really good at taking out splinters

August 3, 2008 -- In today's Washington Post, physician Ben Natelson puts forward condescending comments on "physician-extenders" in a "Hard Cases" piece called "Lost in a System Where Doctors Don't Want to Listen." In it, he discusses the growing shortage of primary care physicians and the "economics of modern medicine [that] have converted the doctor from Ben Casey to a factory worker on a conveyor belt." Natelson also laments his paltry $86/hour take home salary and discusses solutions to the primary care physician shortage in which he says: "physician extenders ... are trained to deal with commonly occurring, easy-to-diagnose problems: a flu, hay fever, a splinter, even severe chest pain. Usually, however, they haven't had enough training to give them the know-how to sort through a complex medical history to arrive at a diagnosis that isn't immediately evident." Somehow he forgot to mention that advanced practice registered nurses deliver care that is equal to or better than that delivered by physicians. more... and please join our letter-writing campaign...

 

"I don't use nurses"

July 30, 2008 -- The April 28 episode of Fox's "House" seemed designed to placate nurses unhappy that the show has spent the last four seasons pretending nurses play no important role in hospital care. The show's isolated effort to make amends did not focus on what nurses actually do, but instead relied on a strike plotline which supposedly showed how bad things get when nurses are absent--much as "Grey's Anatomy" did in 2006. In this episode, House's team works to determine what is making the husband of one striker too nice. It includes a brief scene in which this nurse saves her husband's life by diagnosing a heart attack and performing CPR. We thank the show for this. Sadly, we never learn why the nurses are striking. And the only scene that seems to show the effects of the strike simply shows an overcrowded ED, and implies that physicians just have to work extra hard to make up for the absence of nurses--as if physicians can do everything nurses can. They can't. The strike makes no real difference in the episode, since, as House glibly says, he does not "use nurses" and does not even know what they do. It doesn't count as irony when what you say is the simple truth for the show. As always, House's smart physician crew provides virtually all bedside care. Except for the heart attack scene, the patient's wife projects the same blankness in the face of technical care that we've come to expect from the few wallpaper nurses who appear on the show to absorb physician commands. And as usual, no one rebuts House's anti-nurse slurs--because, though mean and nasty, they are portrayed as being as ruthlessly correct as his other diagnoses. The episode is "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by David Hoselton and show creator David Shore. It drew 14.5 million U.S. viewers. more, including a new film clip... and please join our letter writing campaign!

 

Nurses in the Strangest Places

by guest author Margaret Comerford Freda, EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN

Who knew? I was only looking for a fun read, but what I discovered was a new nurse hero in literature. Her name is Madam Poppy Pomfrey, and she exists in all the Harry Potter novels. It was quite a surprise to me, really, for no one had mentioned a nurse in these extremely popular childrens' books, but there she is. I'm especially excited about this discovery because these books were written for children, and what a treat to find a nurse playing such an important role! more...

 

Cinema Faux

June 26, 2008 -- Tonight marked the premiere episode of the six-part ABC News documentary "Hopkins," about the renowned Baltimore hospital. The series is the work of Terence Wrong, who did the comparable 2000 series "Hopkins 24/7." Both series are exercises in physician glorification, constantly reinforcing the false impression that only physicians matter in hospitals. Mr. Wrong's new series is more focused on the residents, and it is plainly patterned after ABC's popular drama "Grey's Anatomy," which it follows in the ABC Thursday schedule. In fact, as a documentary, "Hopkins" is "Grey's Anatomy"--more realistic dialogue, but the same obsession with physicians' work and personal lives, and as a result, the same narrow and distorted view of hospital care. No nurses were clearly identified in the premiere, though we think that one woman who briefly gave basic information to the wife of a vasectomy reversal patient was probably a nurse. The ABC "Hopkins" website's 22 "Doctor Profiles" actually include two pediatric transport nurses, along with 20 physicians and medical students. The video clip for one nurse is about her night out drinking wine with other nurses. But in the 1 ½ minute video clip for the other profiled nurse, several nurses actually get the chance to show some expertise in trying to resuscitate a patient--genuinely impressive. If these two clips air, they will comprise about 1/90 of the series. But wait, that's not all--previews for the second episode suggest that one resident will also explain why "dating nurses is very tricky"! more...

 

"The N Word"

June 15, 2008 -- Recent episodes of Larry David's HBO sitcom "Curb Your Enthusiasm" offered portrayals of nurses who, despite the improvised verité dialogue, embodied low-skilled handmaiden stereotypes. The October 28, 2007 episode touched (unintentionally) on a key issue: what can a nurse do when a physician with more power is bent on doing something that is plainly not in the patient's interest? In "The N Word," a black surgeon overhears Larry relating a story in which another white man had used that racist word. The furious surgeon, wrongly assuming Larry is the real bigot, takes revenge on the next white man in his path by shaving the head of his next patient. This happens to be Larry's friend Jeff, who, once bald, himself becomes the subject of discrimination. An OR nurse weakly tries to stop the surgeon, but soon ends up handing him the clippers. Another nurse later tries to cover up what the surgeon did, suggesting to his wife that it was accidental, before the surgeon orders her from their room so he can apologize. Of course the show is poking fun at how we handle some stereotypes, but that doesn't stop it from reinforcing others. Viewers will see these nurses as timid physician assistants, rather than patient advocates. In fact, some nurses would have stopped this surgeon. Of course, many nurses do not feel they have the power to resist when physicians are about to endanger patients, as some notorious cases show, but few viewers will get any sense that this is a real issue. Similarly, in the November 11, 2007 season finale ("The Bat Mitzvah"), a nurse at a gastroenterology office responds to Larry's reluctance to first tell her about a sensitive condition not by describing her skill and autonomy, but by claiming unpersuasively that the system saves important physician time--an undervaluation both of her role and of nursing in general. Once again, the scenario could happen, but presenting only this vision of nursing effectively reinforces harmful stereotypes. Could the show have avoided that without killing David's inventive plotting and sharp social comedy? Yes. more...and see 8 new film clips...

 

Unusual access to us

May 23, 2008 -- The Los Angeles poetry magazine RATTLE has placed a remarkable "Tribute to Nurses" in its Winter 2007 issue. The 45-page tribute includes only work by nurses: 24 poems and four essays. The essays discuss the relation between nursing and poetry, and how the writer has come to pursue both. Calling this material a "tribute" almost does it a disservice. You might think that approach would lead editors right to the traditional angel image, and some of the retro cover art isn't far from it. But RATTLE offers well-crafted, irreverent poems that capture modern lives and deaths, without sentiment. Perhaps that is because nurses "have unusual access to us," as noted by Joanne Trautmann Banks (quoted by Madeleine Mysko). Many of these poems address clinical settings, especially older patients in extremis. The poems suggest the scope of patients' lives through their physicality, their frailties, their suffering. To some extent we also glimpse the inner lives of nurses who, as Shawna Swetech suggests in "Midwifing My Father," have "delivered soul from body many times." Several of the nurses point to the healing power of poetry in their own lives. There are also lots of cigarettes. But there are not many physicians, a stark contrast to the overriding theme in the popular media that health care consists of the physician-patient interaction. The issue also identifies each writer with appropriate credentials (e.g., BSN, PhD, APRN), giving readers an idea of nursing education. Because the focus of the clinical poems is so much on the patients, there is less sense of nurses as health experts and life-savers, with the exception of Anne Webster's "Dry Drowning." It may be that the poetic form in general does not lend itself to conveying that type of information. But the tribute does present nurses as keen observers, and courageous workers who help us in our darkest hours. more...

 

Diagnosis:   Promoting naughty nurse stereotype

May 16, 2008 -- One of the new shows in the 2007-2008 television season that was less than helpful to nursing was USA Network's "Dr. Steve-O," which included naughty "nurse" Trishelle. Although we learned today that the reality show will not be returning for a second season, it's worth working past our tears to examine why the show was a problem. The October 21, 2007 episode is a good example. In the episode, "Jackass" veteran Steve Glover "de-wussifies" three awkward men by cajoling them into doing painful or embarrassing stunts. At "Dr. Steve-O"'s side throughout is "beautiful hot babe Trishelle," an actress dressed as a naughty nurse. Trishelle's role involves looking cute, letting Steve-O cuddle with her, and encouraging participants to do as Steve-O says. The show is not quite as stupid or ugly as it sounds. Of course it promotes dangerous behavior, despite the frequent warnings ("do not staple your scrotum"), and destructive notions of masculinity. But there's something oddly endearing about it because Steve-O maintains a positive, almost caring attitude toward his charges, he undergoes everything they do (or worse), and the show seems to avoid overt homophobia. Is Steve-O just a sick dolt, or is he saving the souls of lost boys through focused pain rituals? The show is obviously tongue in cheek, and no doubt the inclusion of Trishelle would be defended as all part of "the joke." Just as Steve-O himself is clearly not a real physician, viewers will realize Trishelle is not a real nurse. But unlike Steve-O, Trishelle will reinforce longstanding stereotypes of nurses as sexually available dimwits and physician handmaidens. more...

 

Restitution

May 14, 2008 -- Today the Australian Broadcasting Corporation site reported that the Fiji Nurses Association has said "developed countries that poach Fiji's nurses should have to pay for their training in the first place." The item explains the Pacific island nation's loss of nurses to nations like Australia and New Zealand. The short piece does not explore how this paying for training might happen. For instance, should governments or hospitals in the nations to which the nurses emigrate pay? How? The piece also does not explore key aspects of the shortage in Fiji. But the article does suggest that the exodus of developing world nurses to wealthy nations is more than a simple job move. more...

 

Desperate Nursemaids

April 13, 2008 -- Tonight, ABC's "Desperate Housewives" gave us a hospital nurse as mousy, pathetic physician lackey who can be bribed into revealing sensitive patient information with free lunch at a French bistro, and who has time to leave the hospital mid-shift to eat that lunch. Yeah, we know--it's just Wisteria Lane. We're sure that the episode's 16 million U.S. viewers can all separate the serious (even pretentious) voiceover-related themes and ostensibly realistic drama from this contemptuous portrayal of a nurse. Viewers just know real nurses aren't like that, even though they've been fed similar disinformation since birth. The episode, "Sunday," was written by Alexandra Cunningham and Lori Kirkland Baker. more...see a film clip and write a letter!

 

Take Action! Nurse Practitioners urge drug companies to end media bias

April 9, 2008 -- Today the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners launched a campaign to convince pharmaceutical and other companies to use "provider-neutral language in all direct-to-consumer ads." Advertisers have long created ads that urge patients to "consult your doctor." There are over a quarter million advanced practice nurses (APRNs) in the US alone, yet advertisers and the media as a whole continue to ignore APRN contributions to health care, including their prescribing authority. And of course, the news media commonly refers solely to "doctors" even in discussing practice areas in which APRNs play a major role. Because of such long-standing media bias, few people are aware that a large body of research shows that care provided by advanced practice nurses is equal to or better than that provided by physicians. When the media continues to ignore APRN contributions and act as if only physicians and their care matters, patients may resist care from APRNs and fail to respond to APRN health teaching. It also makes it more difficult for APRNs to gain a fair scope of practice and equal reimbursement for their work. We must break this cycle of ignorance. more... and please sign the petition!

 

New Nursing Pioneer Biography

Florence Wald: Hospice Pioneer

Guest author Cynthia Adams, RN, MSN, EdD, drew on her dissertation on Florence Wald to create another of the Center's biographies on nursing pioneers.

FLORENCE WALD RN, MSN, FAAN, is internationally recognized as a pioneer in improving the care of dying patients in the United States. After World War II, the care of the dying moved from being home-based into the hospital. The increasing number of hospital beds coupled with a more mobile society and women working out of the home led to a shift in the manner of caring for patients at the end-of-life. This transition to institution-based care left the patient in the care of non-family members. But Florence Wald worked with colleagues in New Haven to design a hospice where the patient and family were at the center of care. more...

Please help us by writing a biography on your favorite nursing pioneer. Learn more...

 

New free database to find master's nursing programs

April 30, 2008 -- After a friend struggled to find a nursing master's degree program, a husband and wife couple put together a resource called MastersinNursing.com. The creators say that the site is comprehensive and consistently updated "with information garnered from Nursing Professors and Schools in the United States." We applaud these two non-nurses for volunteering to create a valuable resource for the nursing profession in a time of great need. Thank you Amanda and John! See the website at mastersinnursing.com.

 

Take Action!
"Wear the miniskirts and just save some lives!"

April 1, 2008 -- Recent reports say a clinic in Spain has told its nurses they will be docked pay if they fail to dress in miniskirts. These reports seem to be partly wrong, as the Clinica San Rafael in Cadiz appears only to be requiring the nurses to wear traditional nursing outfits, with a modest-length skirt and cap. But this would still force female nurses into a regressive outfit that suggests they are not modern professionals. See more on our campaign here. Meanwhile, Greg Gutfeld, the host of Fox News Channel's Redeye, discussed the misreported "miniskirt" policy on his 3:00 a.m. show today. Gutfeld's exchange with his cohorts amounted to a loving, if ironic, celebration of the damaging "naughty nurse" stereotype. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

Take Action!
Wear skirts, caps and aprons...or lose 30 Euros

March 28, 2008 -- Recent reports say a clinic in Cadiz, Spain has told its nurses they will be docked pay if they fail to dress in "miniskirts." These reports seem to be partly inaccurate, as the Clinica San Rafael appears only to be requiring the nurses to wear traditional nursing outfits, with a modest-length skirt and cap. Still, this policy would force female nurses into a regressive outfit that suggests they are not modern professionals. We urge supporters to ask the clinic to reconsider its policy. And we thank our Spanish counterparts, the Association for the Recognition of Nurses in Society (ARES), which has investigated the issue for us. read more... or go straight to our letter-writing campaign!

 

Let's "celebrate the ladies who give lollipops and band aids" with a Nurse Nancy bracelet!

March 18, 2008 -- Earlier this month, New York State Nurses Association CEO Tina Gerardi alerted us to an Angela Moore jewelry catalog she received in the mail that featured "Nurse Nancy" bracelets and necklaces. The jewelry is composed of four different types of balls. One ball features a smiling rosy-cheeked nurse in white uniform and cap giving a balloon to a girl (right). A second ball has a ladybug next to a stethoscope. The third ball features a nurse's cap with a thermometer and the fourth ball has a stuffed bear holding flowers next to a lollipop. The text in the catalog asked readers to buy the "Nurse Nancy" jewelry to "celebrate the ladies who give lollipops and band aids a whole new meaning." Ms. Gerardi, an Angela Moore customer, asked the jewelry maker to modify the name, design, and catalog description of the jewelry. The company agreed only to change the description--but they did so right away. more...

 

Let's Pretend We're Nurses

March 14, 2008 -- Recent U.K. press articles have highlighted the "naughty nurse" video for pop singer Kavana's comeback single "Automatic." The video stars actress Suranne Jones (from the U.K. soap "Coronation Street") as a half-dressed "nurse" who flirts with Kavana while tying him to a chair with tape. Kavana told one writer that the video was inspired by the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." The video isn't likely to match the cultural impression that film made, but it still reinforces a damaging stereotype of nurses--as do January press pieces gleefully promoting it in The Daily Star and The Manchester Evening News. more...and please send Kavana a letter...

 

Expert and novice

March 10, 2008 -- One cover story in this week's issue of TIME was John Cloud's "The Science of Experience." Its basic idea is that we should not conclude John McCain or Hillary Clinton would be better presidents than Barack Obama simply on the basis of their longer experience, because research indicates that even far greater experience does not necessarily lead to better results. The piece uses examples from different fields, but by far the most prominent is its account of simulations in which both a new nurse and a veteran nurse failed to save a crashing "patient." Some have faulted the piece for this seemingly negative view of nurses. And it might have been helpful for the report to note whether any nurses would be capable of saving the patient. But the piece's physician example is also impliedly negative, suggesting experienced attendings are "no more accurate" than interns at predicting end-of-life preferences, even when they've known the elderly patients in question far longer. The piece seems to confuse true novices with less experienced experts, and it arguably suggests that experts are no better than novices in such fields generally, which is plainly wrong. However, the piece clearly conveys that experienced nurses are experts, that nursing is a field in which humans can reach high levels of skill. It places nursing alongside medicine, chess, and Nobel-worthy endeavors. Even the description of the simulation the two nurses failed shows how complex, exciting, and consequential nursing is--lives are at stake. more...

 

"We're Bringing Nursing Back"

February 29, 2008 -- In late 2006, some nursing students at Binghamton University's Decker School of Nursing posted this 5-minute video on YouTube. As of early 2008, the video had been viewed more than 180,000 times. The video features the nursing students dancing and extolling the virtues of the profession in an adapted version of Justin Timberlake's recent electrofunk hit "SexyBack." The students don't make as many missteps as they might have in adapting a song about dirty sex in order to promote nursing. The video sends some helpful basic messages about key nursing roles, and the students emphasize diversity (though all are female). Unfortunately, too much of what the video conveys is problematic or inadequate. It includes a few echoes of the naughty nurse stereotype, and it fails to get across that nurses use advanced skills to save lives, instead suggesting that nursing history and theory are boring. We do give the students credit for attracting so much attention to this audacious, innovative effort to reach young career-seekers--like JT and his producer Timbaland, they get an "A" for energy and ambition, if not the final result. more...

 

Exposing their hands and faces

February 24, 2008 -- Today The Jerusalem Post ran a brief item reporting that the Egyptian government plans to bar nurses from wearing veils on duty, a plan that has drawn opposition from Muslim religious groups. The piece notes that an Egyptian Health Ministry study found that "the vast majority" of patients preferred that nurses not wear the veils. The Ministry reportedly believes the veils interfere with nurse-patient communication. The piece does not mention the potential for infection as nurses with large veils provide care to multiple patients. The item is based on a report in the London-based Asharq Alawsa. We commend the Post for this look at the possible tensions among religious tradition, political interests, and nursing practice. more...

 

Q: Should we create a Museum of Modern Nursing to show the world how vital, exciting, and technologically advanced nursing really is?

A: Why, yes, what a great idea!

We should establish an International Museum of Modern Nursing where people from all over the world can come to learn about what nurses today do to save lives and improve outcomes. Public understanding of nursing is abysmally poor. This is a major factor underlying many of the more immediate causes of the deadly global nursing shortage. By increasing understanding of the profession, nursing can attract the new members and resources it needs to meet the health care challenges of the 21st century. A landmark, high-tech science museum devoted to nursing could be a powerful tool in these efforts. more...

 

And in the end, is the love nurses take equal to the love they make?

January 18, 2008 -- HealthStyles is a weekly radio show hosted by Diana Mason, RN, PhD, and Barbara Glickstein, RN, MPH, MS on WBAI-NY, 99.5 FM, www.wbai.org. In the first part of today's program, producer and moderator Mason interviews Karen Ballard, RN, MA, on how exposure to health facility chemicals, medications, and radation affects patients and nurses. Some nurses recommend sustainablehospitals.org, which describes how we can reduce the risks from potential hazards like mercury in the ways we buy, use, and clean equipment in health facilities. In part 2 of the show, Nancy Kaleda, RN, and Anne Bove, RN, discuss why nurses employed by New York City's public hospitals don't receive the same benefits as other city employees who are classified as doing "physically taxing work," such as firefighters and police. In part 3 of the show, Pamela Mitchell, RN, PhD, president of the American Academy of Nursing, discusses a campaign to increase the visibility, financing, and adoption of nurses' health care innovations, which have not received their due even though clinical and financial data show them to be cost-effective. Click here to listen to the archive or if you would like a weekly reminder to listen to HealthStyles every Friday, please email us with a subject line "subscribe HealthStyles alert."

 

Atonement

January 14, 2008 -- The beautiful film adaptation of Atonement follows novelist Ian McEwan's characters into the carnage of World War II. But like McEwan, the filmmakers are less concerned with bombs than with the deceptive power of words, especially in the act of telling stories--stories like the book, or the movie, which adds a level of artifice in being a story based on a story. Scripted by Christopher Hampton, the film shares the novel's slightly implausible central premise. But with Joe Wright's focused direction and intense performances by the leads, the film is a compelling account of our efforts to cope with what we say to each other. Atonement also includes a limited look at the wartime nursing of aristocratic character Briony Tallis. The movie adds visuals to the book's nurse-centered account of hospital care, showing the courage required of nurses in mass casualty events and the formidable authority of senior nurses. Wright's movie does not match the force of McEwan's vision of the trauma the nurses face, the full rigor of their training, or Briony's growing skill. The film, like the book, also conveys little of the technical expertise nursing requires, and may suggest that nursing is more a vehicle for atonement than a modern scientific profession. Still, few feature films (let alone major Oscar contenders) include a nurse-centered vision of care, or convey any of the real challenges of nursing. This movie stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightly, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave. Atonement won a Golden Globe award for best drama yesterday. more...

 

The Business of Being Born

January 14, 2008 -- In a 2007 episode of ABC's drama "Private Practice," an elite obstetrician asked whether "midwifery" was even a word. The Business of Being Born responds with a compelling argument that the United States return to a midwifery-driven home birth model. The film presents our OB care as a dysfunctional business that has consigned midwives to the periphery, so that physicians who don't understand natural birth can perform dangerous, unnecessary interventions. Meanwhile, the film contends, the rest of the developed world achieves better outcomes for less money using midwives for most births. Abby Epstein's documentary is not the explanation of nursing expertise and obstetric care that it might have been. The film largely ignores the work of nurse midwives and obstetric nurses in hospitals, and it never explains how nurse midwives differ from other midwives. The movie also could have been more balanced and focused. The momentum flags in some scenes focusing on Epstein's own pregnancy and the thoughts of executive producer Ricki Lake. But the film is a powerful call for women to reclaim what we might call their "ancient properties" (following Toni Morrison's idea of black womanhood)--in this case, women's ability to birth their own children, to embrace fully the transformative experience of giving life. more... and click to see this film in theaters!

 

Golden Lamp Awards 2007

January 9, 2008 -- We announce our 5th Golden Lamp Awards, the annual list of the best and worst media portrayals of nurses we've seen in the past year. The 2007 list includes influential media from Hollywood shows to reports on the nursing crisis in Africa. Most of the best depictions of nursing continued to appear in the print media. Among the best were pieces in The Wall Street Journal and The Star-Ledger (Newark), and on WBUR, a Boston NPR affiliate. Among the "worst" award recipients were "Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice," "House," Kelly Ripa, New York Times puzzle master Will Shortz, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and Members of the U.K. Parliament. We also recognize nursing scholars and advocates who have made a positive impact in the general media. See our full press release on the awards. or the full list of awards.

 

Get involved in our chapters!

Activity at the Truth's chapters is starting to heat up. Please get involved with your local chapter--or if there isn't one in your area, let us know if you would like to start one! Contact us to talk about starting a chapter. What do Truth About Nursing chapters do? We encourage meetings every month or two. At the meetings, members brainstorm and work together to improve media coverage of nursing around the world--but most especially within their home media markets. For instance, members work to get coverage for nursing achievements, events, problems, or issues facing patients or the community. And they discuss giving organized feedback to media entities for nurse-related products they have created. See more on our chapter mission and activities page.

 

Nursing Diaries Part I now available for your nurse recruitment needs!

Get your DVD copies of "Lifeline: The Nursing Diaries--The Rookies" (Part I) by filmmaker Richard Kahn. When we reviewed Part I of the documentary in Dec. 2004, we gave it 4 out of 4 stars for its nursing portrayal. From our review: "Part I gives an unusually good sense of the value of highly skilled nursing. It shows nurses working in three intensive care units at Mass. General: the cardiac surgical intensive care unit (CSICU), the neonatal ICU (NICU), and the surgical ICU (SICU). The episode shows nurses doing so many critical health tasks that the media commonly has physicians doing that it almost seems like it must have been a conscious goal of the filmmakers. However, it may simply be the natural result of taking a comprehensive look at what nurses really do. We see nurses autonomously managing patient care, detecting critical problems, formulating key interventions, explaining things to patients, families, and the viewer, and generally managing recoveries with little physician involvement." Read the full review here. Order a copy of Nursing Diaries Part I for US $10, which includes shipping. We are selling these essentially at cost in order to make access to this video as easy as possible. To order, please make a $10 payment here.

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