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April, May and June 2010
News on Nursing in the Media

   

 

Nursing at the Love Ranch

Helen MirrenJune 14, 2010 -- Tonight the actress Helen Mirren appeared on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman to promote her new film Love Ranch, which is about a brothel in Reno. In describing a real brothel that she visited to do research, Mirren said that the prostitutes there were very sweet and welcoming. Letterman noted that some people argue that prostitutes are the victims of something that has led them to do this work. Mirren agreed that many of them are "damaged" and "come from dysfunctional backgrounds," but she also observed that "a lot of girls who work in that industry actually come from the nursing industry, which kind of makes sense, because they're used to naked bodies, it's not intimidating to them, you know, the body and the bodily functions, if you like." Letterman responded that that must mean a "guy like" him could visit the brothel for a "check-up." We assume that there is some basis in Mirren's personal experience for her comments, but we're not aware of any data showing that a disproportionate number of prostitutes first became nurses. Suggesting as much reinforces the naughty nurse stereotype that has undermined nursing for decades, not least because of the activities of the "film industry." And it's not helpful to have a celebrity compare nursing care directly to acts of prostitution. We'll resist analyzing whether prostitution has more in common with nursing or acting, and just note that our understanding is that what prostitutes do tend to have in common is a history of serious abuse and few other skills. It seems unlikely, to say the least, that many "girls" with valuable nursing skills would become prostitutes. Of course, nurses do use those advanced skills to help prostitutes cope with the consequences of their dangerous work. We urge the famously candid Dame Helen to think more carefully before making statements that damage nursing. more... and please join our letter-writing campaign and see the film clip...

          

Confessions of a non-nurse

wife tending sick husbandJune 10, 2010 -- Today the Seattle Times published a piece by Sharon Randall, a nationally syndicated columnist, that offered one of the more striking combinations of good intentions and nurse stereotyping that we've seen recently. "Confessions of a home nurse" is built around the comic idea that Randall was acting as a "nurse," though by her own account a highly imperfect one, in caring for her husband after a recent operation, as well as in caring for her child after he was born years ago. Randall throws in positive accounts of the care she and her child received from real nurses, those "compassionate" "angels" whose care is apparently defined by "loving kindness" and "tender mercy," phrases she manages to use twice. We recognize that Randall is not suggesting she is a real, licensed registered nurse--we know the term "nurse" is still commonly used to mean unskilled tending--and her piece is all about how bad she is at doing even that. But her relentless equating of such unskilled care with actual nursing, in a context that really does superficially resemble professional nursing (unlike, say, "nursing a beer"), is damaging because it reinforces the idea that nursing requires little skill or education. Randall's writing comically, but the subtext--which no one will take as a joke--is that what makes a real nurse is kindness, patience, and endurance. Of course those things are important in nursing, but so are college-level science education and advanced clinical skills. Randall could probably take a stab at some of the most basic things physicians do too. But we doubt she would write a whole piece based on the idea that she was a flawed physician. We urge her to think more carefully about how unskilled and angel stereotyping makes the work of real nurses harder. more...

 

All the work, none of the pay, zero glory

Cooper and SamJune 7, 2010 -- The second season of Showtime's Nurse Jackie continued to offer the most thoughtful and persuasive treatment of nursing issues on U.S. television. The season also featured more of emergency nurse Jackie Peyton's drug abuse, adultery, and webs of deceit. However, as always, Jackie's issues are not nursing stereotypes, but the troubles of one complex individual. As the season approached tonight's finale, Jackie and her protégé Zoey Barkow continued to display clinical prowess. Jackie skillfully worked the system to help a despairing lymphoma patient find some relief from his debilitating nausea and to provide some expert, if unpleasant, advice to an ex-football star with early onset dementia. Meanwhile, Zoey saved a boy's life by intubating and resuscitating him, and saved another patient by picking up on a blood clot that could easily have led to a pulmonary embolism, something the arrogant but marginal physician Fitch Cooper missed. The show's final episodes also included a somewhat ambiguous take on men in nursing. Nurse Sam is shown to be a fairly cool, perceptive individual with an attractive girlfriend, but she breaks up with Sam after sleeping with Cooper, saying she is doing so because Sam is a nurse. Sam proceeds to break Cooper's nose. This could be interpreted as a frank examination or even subversion of anti-male nurse bias, a reinforcement of that bias, or all of the above. More troubling were the show's confused messages about nursing authority. Several plotlines had Cooper wrongly asserting that he was in charge of and could even fire nurses, with no direct rebuttal. Cooper did more than once end up in nurse manager Gloria Akalitus's office seeking to have her discipline nurses, with little success, which at least suggested that he could not take a significant adverse employment action on his own. But why can't some character just state that although nurses do have less power, they do not report to physicians because they practice a distinct, autonomous profession? In any case, the show still provides U.S. television's most compelling account of the value of nursing, and it does not hurt that the show's dramatic quality remains higher than that of any other hospital show. We thank those responsible for the show. more...

 

Nurse Comfort and the Bratz dolls

School Nurse from the Black LagoonJune 1, 2010 -- In honor of International Children's Day, we present reviews of the nursing portrayals in several recent children's books. A few books have addressed the profession directly, such as Mike Thaler's The School Nurse from the Black Lagoon (1995), part of a series that aims to make kids comfortable with authority figures they will meet at school. The book's narrator has irrational fears about his school nurse, but she turns out to be friendly and helpful, though she does not display any particular skill beyond putting the boy at ease. Another title that aims to demystify an unfamiliar institution is Lucy Cousins's Maisy Goes to the Hospital (2007). That book, for younger readers, offers a typically physician-centric portrayal of hospital care and does not convey that "Nurse Comfort" has much skill or knowledge, though she does at least show Maisy how to walk on crutches. Nursing references in other books are more incidental. Lauren Child's amusing, inventive Clarice Bean: Guess Who's Babysitting? (2000) has a couple brief but good nurse appearances, as competent nurses seem to manage the care of two characters who visit the hospital for unrelated injuries. But Holly Hobbie's Fanny (2008) offers an image of "nurse" dolls as glamorous but vacuous twits who merely assist the smart, assertive female "doctor" doll. It's a regressive "feminist" vision that's meant to show Bratz-era girls that they can do something worthwhile with their lives. No nurse in any of the books is male. And since the better nursing portrayals in this admittedly unscientific little survey are the older ones, it's tempting to say that children's books are making little progress in providing youngsters with more accurate images of nursing, misleading them just when they are starting to form basic impressions of careers that they might later pursue (or influence). Of course, there is J.K. Rowling's great Harry Potter series (1997-2007), which offers older readers the occasional appearances of Madam Pomfrey, the skilled wizarding nurse. Maybe you can help us:  Do you know of a good portrayal of nursing in a younger children's book published in the last 10 years? If so, click here and tell us. Thanks! See our full review of each book below. more...

 

Fanny

Fanny Connie nurse dollsFanny is a tale of two dolls:  the store-bought Connies, who embody superficial glamour, and the homemade Annabelle, who represents substance and merit. The book isn't bad as a critique of celebrity culture for kids of 4-8 years, and as an effort to get girls in particular to consider doing more with their lives than just looking hot. But one key scene sets Annabelle up as a commanding "doctor" operating on stuffed animals, while the vacuous Connies are "nurses" who stand around looking pretty and assisting Annabelle, reinforcing what are arguably the most damaging stereotypes of nursing today--the unskilled physician assistant and the naughty nurse. It would be hard to find a more blatant "feminist" attack on nursing in recent popular culture. more...

 

Clarice Bean nursesClarice Bean:  Guess Who's Babysitting?

This entry in the Clarice Bean series, aimed at kids of perhaps 6-9 years, is the irreverent and amusing story of a family emergency that requires Clarice's Uncle Ted, a rough and tumble firefighter, to baby-sit the independent child and her siblings. The story includes two visits to the hospital, and in the brief look we get at each visit, a seemingly professional, autonomous female nurse helps guide the family through the minor trauma involved. No physicians appear. The book could be seen as a subtle reinforcement of regressive gender roles; even though the males in the story are generally silly or hapless, and Clarice's mother and the nurses must bail them out, it is still the men who hold the traditionally male jobs. Perhaps the women just wield behind-the-scenes influence, as in countless television sitcoms and commercials. Still, the book suggests that nursing is a job for serious problem-solvers, and that puts it far ahead of most children's books. more...

 

Maisy Goes to the Hospital

Maisy Nurse ComfortThis colorful, well-written entry in the Maisy series for a very young audience (probably 0-4 years) follows the main character on a stay at the hospital after she hurts her leg. There she meets Doctor Duck, who actually talks and clearly takes the lead in her care, as well as Nurse Comfort, a flamingo, who says nothing and seems to be there mostly to assist and bring the basic comfort her name implies. In fairness, Nurse Comfort does show Maisy how to use her crutches. more...

 

School Nurse from the Black LagoonThe School Nurse from the Black Lagoon

This fairly entertaining book takes young readers through a long tour of scary, though comical, images of a monstrous school nurse who tortures her patients--not unlike a battleaxe--based on the narrator's recounting of what other kids have said about her. Finally, the boy learns that the real school nurse is kind and helpful. But she displays no real health care skill or knowledge. more...

 

May 2010 News on Nursing in the Media

The Smokefree World

Kerri NukuMay 28, 2010 -- Today the Dunedin (New Zealand) Channel 39 web site reported that the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is urging the public to celebrate World Smokefree Day, May 31, 2010. The short piece quotes NZNO spokesperson Kerri Nuku as noting that health professionals should be involved in the project because they (in the piece's words) "deal with the consequences of tobacco use every day, including the negative effects on patients' physical and mental health, as well as their social, economic and cultural wellbeing." The item notes that smoking kills 5,000 New Zealanders every year. We thank Channel 39 for the report. And we applaud the NZNO for its patient advocacy, which not only improves the health of the community, but also presents nurses as knowledgeable, committed health professionals deserving of resources and respect. more...

 

Blood on the tracks

French nurses protestingMay 20, 2010 -- Today Reuters released a short video report by Ian Lee about a protest by "thousands" of French nurses who blocked train traffic at one of Paris's busiest stations before police forcibly removed them. The nurses said they had completed two years of government-approved specialty training to become anesthetists, on top of the initial three years required to become a nurse, but the government had apparently failed to recognize their training, with a recent protocol offering them no additional salary and allowing nurses without the special training to undertake the anesthesia work. The brief piece might have given more explanation, starting with a response from the government. But it does tell the public about an extraordinary example of nursing advocacy in response to apparent disrespect for nursing skills, with one protester lamenting that the government does not listen to the nurses, who are "despised." more...

 

Take Action!

Not staying in Vegas: Truth chapter protests "naughty nurse" contest at the Mirage

Nurses protestingMay 17, 2010 -- Today members of the Las Vegas chapter of the Truth About Nursing staged a protest outside the Jet Nightclub at the Mirage Hotel, and rather than letting the story stay in Vegas, we're going to tell you about it. The club was holding a contest in which the winner would receive $2,500 for the best "naughty nurse" costume. The event was held on a Monday night from 10:30 p.m. - 4:30 a.m. Determined members of the Truth's Las Vegas chapter, led by chapter co-president Dee Riley, RN, MSN (center), gathered outside the club and greeted patrons of the Jet with signs as they arrived. The chapter members report that they had friendly interactions with patrons, educating them about the value of nurses and the damage caused by the naughty nurse stereotype, which sexualizes the profession and undermines real nurses' claims to the resources and respect they need to save lives. We thank Dee Riley for her leadership, tenacity, and donation of the posters for the protest. We also thank chapter members Juliann Riley, Carla Diaz and Rocky Diaz for speaking out forcefully about stereotypes that harm nursing. We urge all Truth chapters to consider organizing such events to challenge poor images of nursing. With enough of this kind of spirited advocacy, we can beat the house! more...

 

Celebrate Nurses Century!

Mnurse bearay 12, 2010 -- Happy Nurses Day to nurses around the world! Every year around the time of Florence Nightingale's May 12 birthday, nurses are thanked and honored for their work, as they deserve to be. But as we have often noted, these celebrations can seem like little more than lip service, hollow expressions of thanks to a profession that really does not get the respect and resources it needs every day for clinical practice, education, residencies and research. The celebrations often emphasize the enduring "angel" image, suggesting nurses are noble and self-sacrificing, which discounts the advanced skills that the public really needs to know nurses have, and arguably reinforces some nurses' own unfortunate tendency to sacrifice themselves so much that it runs counter to their patients' and their own best interests. This year the American Nurses Association's theme is "Nurses: Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow," which rightly suggests that nurses affect patient outcomes, and the International Council of Nurses' theme is "Delivering Quality, Serving Communities: Nurses Leading Chronic Care," which has a great focus on skill and leadership. Both groups also present some helpful ideas to focus the celebrations on nurses' skills, rather than their virtue. Of course, many have also urged that 2010 be considered the International Year of the Nurse. But on April 27, HealthLeaders Media editor Rebecca Hendren posted a thoughtful and provocative piece called "Do We Still Need Nurses Week?" We can imagine the stir resulting from her humorous discussion of the annual rituals, such as the "parade of suits from the C-suite bringing lunch or snacks to the units," as well as her suggestions that nurses celebrate with activities of greater substance, like raising funds for nursing education or promoting nurses' bedside safety concerns. Hendren suggests, correctly, that other serious professions don't get or need special "weeks" or trinkets because they get actual respect. And yesterday, New York Times "Well" blog contributor Teresa Brown published a good op-ed on the CNN site arguing that if hospitals really wanted to honor nurses, they would provide them with the staffing needed to save more lives (and incidentally, give them the time to eat lunch). Still, we can't resist offering a short list of our own suggestions for celebrating Nurses Day, Week, and/or Year.

  1. Take a tip from the CBS television show Undercover Boss: Give your hospital CEO a special Nurses Week nursing shift on your unit! (Nursing supervision required.)

See our full list of 7 suggestions...

 

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Mercy nursesMay 2010 -- The May 12 season finale of NBC's drama Mercy turned out to be the series finale, since the network canceled the show soon afterwards because of its low ratings. That's too bad, because in its 22 episodes, creator Liz Heldens's funny, well-acted show included many fine examples of nursing skill, patient advocacy, life-saving, and even some autonomy. The show's nursing portrayal did have flaws. Its generally constructive, peer-oriented approach to nurse-physician relations was at times undermined by suggestions that nurses report to physicians, and the show occasionally fell prey to other nursing stereotypes. The last two episodes of the series illustrate these mixed features. In the finale, lead character Veronica Flanagan saves the life of a boy trapped in a collapsed building, in part by amputating his arm with guidance she gets by cell phone from physician Chris Sands. In another plotline, nurse Chloe Payne correctly diagnoses a patient with airport malaria, despite resistance from physician Gillian Jelani. Both of those plotlines are showcases for nursing skill and advocacy. But both can also be read to suggest that nurses achieve to the extent they act like physicians; Gillian praises Chloe by noting that she was "thinking like a doctor." And that's nothing compared to one of the last scenes in the finale, which finds Chloe reacting to an apparent romantic rejection from cardiologist Joe Briggs by vowing to become a physician herself. Another plotline that conveys real skill and advocacy by nurses Angel Garcia and Sonia Jimenez in caring for a beating victim also suggests that physician Dan Harris directs nurse staffing. Why didn't enough people watch Mercy? Occasionally the show did feel flat, contrived, or silly, but that's also true of some successful shows. Mercy seemed to suffer from a difficult time slot, and the perception that it was the last in a glut of new shows about nurses (Nurse Jackie, HawthoRNe) and that nurses do not deserve so much attention. However, despite Mercy's flaws, the show's message that nurses play the central role in the skilled care of hospital patients and its strong portrayals of nursing expertise and advocacy place Mercy among the best television shows for nursing in Hollywood history.  more...

April 2010 News on Nursing in the Media

"More nurses, less death"

Pembroke nursesApril 20, 2010 -- Today the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a very good article by Stacey Burling about a new University of Pennsylvania study finding that the lives of hundreds of surgical patients could be saved if hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey followed the minimum nurse staffing ratios that have been required in California since 2004. The study also found that nurses in California, where staffing was better, liked their jobs more and felt less burned out. The study was led by prominent Penn nursing scholar Linda Aiken, who has published other ground-breaking studies over the years linking improved nurse staffing to lower patient mortality and reduced nurse burnout. The article provides context about the larger implications of the study on quality of care, nurse staffing legislation pending in various states, the ongoing nursing shortage, and even the then-current strike by nurses and others at Philadelphia's Temple University Hospital, a dispute in which nurse-to-patient ratios were a major issue. The piece includes helpful quotes from Professor Aiken and the nurses' union president Patricia Eakin, as well as ratio opponents, the Temple hospital's interim CEO Sandy Gomberg (a nurse!) and New Jersey Hospital Association representative Aline Holmes. Aiken describes the other research showing that better nurse staffing improves patient outcomes, and Eakin explains specifically how under-staffing prevents nurses from giving good care. We thank Ms. Burling and the Inquirer for this helpful report on topics that are vital to nursing practice. more...

 

No idea how that works

newborn pillowApril 15, 2010 -- Two very good recent press reports illustrate how nursing innovations are saving lives in hospitals today, but they also show how far society has to go in understanding the value of what nurses do. Today, the Phoenix television station ABC-15 posted a short but helpful item on its web site describing a cooling blanket developed by nurses at Banner Baywood Heart Hospital which has been very effective in helping to increase patient survival and brain function. The very short piece manages to include good quotes from Lauren Woffinden, the nurse manager who was instrumental in developing the induced hypothermia protocols, and another nurse who provides additional explanation. But don't get too excited. A patient whose wife was recently saved by the treatment gushes: "Of course I'm not a doctor. I have no idea how that works, but whatever it did it saved her mind, her brain. She knew everybody, it's a miracle." Yes, thank goodness those physicians understand this stuff! Meanwhile, on April 10, the Courier-Express (DuBois, PA) ran a good, longer report by Katie Weidenboerner about the Nurture Rest, a positioning pillow for NICU babies that nurse Nicole Kovalyak of DuBois Regional Medical Center invented to promote rest, comfort, and better breathing, and thus better outcomes. Some elements of Kovalyak's pillow mimic the position of an infant on a mother's chest, but others actually simulate the womb for babies who have left it too soon. The ever-evolving device has been patented and has been in use at the hospital for years. But Kovalyak reports that interest from manufacturers has been slight, and we wonder if one factor is the profession of the person behind the pillow. Nurses' health care achievements greatly exceed society's understanding of them. But press reports like these two are a great way to close that gap. more...

 

Who are you?

Welsh nurses uniformsApril 8, 2010 -- Today the BBC web site posted an unsigned report about the launch of a new program under which all 36,000 Welsh nurses and midwives will wear a national uniform, in colors determined by their specialty or level of authority. As the piece explains, the idea is to make it easier for confused patients to see who is who, which is a chronic problem in many areas today because of the proliferation of different workers in modern hospitals. Wales is the first nation in the United Kingdom to introduce a national nursing uniform. The BBC report includes quotes from the chief nursing officer for Wales and the ward sister who apparently first raised the idea of the national uniforms with the Welsh health minister. The report suggests that a significant reason for the initiative is that nurse managers did not believe that their authority was being adequately recognized. In any case, although some may not favor requiring all nurses to wear a single uniform, we have long urged hospitals and others to consider some method, such as the RN patch, to help nurses distinguish themselves from other hospital workers. When patients (and physicians) cannot tell who is a nurse, they may assume everyone is, and this tends not only to confuse but also to undermine understanding of nursing expertise, which is already too limited. In addition, the new uniforms' distinguishing of different types of nurses lets people know that nurses, like other professionals, have different specialties and levels of authority. The BBC report on the new uniforms could have included more detail, but it is generally helpful, and we salute the Welsh government for this bold effort to tell society who the nurses are. more...

 

10-minute naps

Brittani McCulloughApril 8, 2010 -- Today the Los Angeles Times published an article by Baxter Holmes about UCLA nursing student Brittani McCullough, who is one of the nation's leading college gymnasts and competes on one of its leading teams. Surprisingly, the piece stresses the competitiveness and intensity of the UCLA nursing program, explaining how hard it is for McCullough to pursue her studies at the same time as she competes at the highest athletic level. Of course, there are also some references to the kindness and comfort elements of nursing. The piece does not give much detail about what makes the nursing program so hard, apart from it involving "science" courses and taking a lot of time. And near the end, the article reports that McCullough may some day want to be "a pediatrician or a neonatal intensive care unit nurse." Perhaps this is accurate, though nurses are about 100 times more likely to pursue graduate education in nursing than medicine, and the stereotype that able nurses achieve by pursuing medicine remains common. Still, the piece presents nursing as a career for ambitious people who want to play a key role in helping others in times of need. We thank Baxter Holmes and the Los Angeles Times. more...

 

Letting the Exiles Bleed on Main Street

ATuck / Quinn Fabraypril 2010 -- The April 2 series premiere of the CBS drama Miami Medical portrays a senior nurse mainly as a skilled and authoritative administrator who helps the brilliant physicians who provide all important care at a level one trauma center. Nurse Tuck Brody is one of the show's five major characters, albeit the least important. He displays some clinical knowledge, sometimes speaks to patients, seems to be part of the show's "Alpha Team" of trauma surgeons, and has some authority over other nurses, perhaps as "charge nurse," as he is once called here, or "head nurse," as the CBS website says. Brody is closer to the evolved handmaiden portrayal of nursing often seen on NBC's ER than the more extreme passive servant depiction that continues to dominate today's most popular network shows, notably Fox's House and ABC's Grey's Anatomy, though it seems unlikely that Brody will ever make the difference in patient outcomes that ER's nurse Sam Taggart sometimes did in that show's final years. In accord with Miami Medical's overall portrayal of hotshot trauma clinicians, Brody may do more swaggering than any television nurse we've seen. But it seems to be largely vicarious, because Brody is also an eager cheerleader for the show's physician glorification. Brody repeatedly presents his trauma surgeon colleagues as intergalactic gods. Think we're exaggerating? Brody calls them "the best and the brightest," "the envy of the known universe," and not just the "rock stars," but the "Rolling Stones" of medicine. CBS promotion has embraced the rock star angle, and by the second episode, the show's main title theme was the Stones' "19th Nervous Breakdown." But oddly, the show seems to have no comment on the skills of the nurses. The minor nurse characters get a few lines (again as on ER), but since Brody is the show's Designated Nurse, it appears that other nurses will rarely play any significant role in patient care, and that in the clinical scenes, only the physicians will really matter. The pilot was written by executive producer and show creator Jeffrey Lieber. more...

 

Take Action!

Hell's Kitchen

April 2010 -- It's a naughty nurse smackdown! Recently the press has reported that Arizona's Heart Attack Grill has filed a lawsuit to shut down a new Florida restaurant called Heart Stoppers, which the Grill claims has swiped its intellectual property by featuring similar anti-health themes. Both restaurants include waitresses dressed as naughty nurses, reinforcing a tired stereotype of female sexuality that undermines real nurses' claims to adequate respect and resources. These culinary landmarks also seem to share the view that encouraging people to eat lots of fatty food and become obese makes the restaurant owners the revolutionary equivalent of the nation's Founders. Which ever way the court rules in this important case, we applaud Grill owner "Dr." Jon Basso for his tenacious efforts to close down other restaurants with similar themes, which we hope will at least limit the damage caused by the type of anti-nurse marketing that he has done since 2006. And let's not forget the Delray Beach "nursing director" who explained her Heart Stoppers visit this way to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "I heard they all dressed up as nurses and I wanted to check them out. At my hospital, they never let us wear fishnets." Fight the power! Please write to the owners of both the Heart Attack Grill and Heart Stoppers--one of whom, Iggy Lena, is a real-life paramedic--and tell them that there must be some way to make money without portraying nurses as bimbos. more... and please take action by sending one of our instant letters!

 

Take Action!

Nympho Nurse #3

Nicole "baby nurse" Accidentally on Purpose nurseApril 7, 2010 -- Perhaps the CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose isn't the first place you'd expect to see a complex blend of nursing issues. But tonight's episode is about the decision of the main character, the pregnant Billie, to hire an attractive "baby nurse" (nanny or infant care provider) named Nicole without consulting Zack, the baby's young father. Characters twice refer to Nicole simply as a "nurse." At first she seems nice, skilled, and professional, but she turns out to be a manipulative nymphomaniac, seducing two of Zack's friends for a three-some practically on sight, while she's supposed to be baby-proofing. The show repeatedly focuses on her breasts. Exploiting the naughty nurse stereotype? A little. Then there's the episode's use of the term "baby nurse," a dangerous distortion that implies that such infant care providers actually are nurses, when few if any have the years of college-level health science training real nurses do. In addition to misleading new parents about what their "baby nurses" know, the term suggests that real nurses have as few health skills as the infant care providers do. The show also tells us that Nicole has a "nursing degree from Cal," as if it thinks "baby nurses" really are nurses. This "baby nurse" mess, along with the naughty angle, outweighs any potential benefit from Nicole's apparent knowledge about basic infant care, and the fleeting suggestion that real nurses may have university degrees. But the episode goes further. At one point, Zack's friends fantasize about the hot Nicole squeezing the breast milk out of Billie's breasts. And we get a brief scene showing how that might work, sexualizing real nurses' focus on breastfeeding and subtly reinforcing the enduring practice of considering breastfeeding a type of "nursing," which associates a modern science profession with unskilled female care giving--though the show does not refer to breastfeeding itself as "nursing." Actually, the show really missed an opportunity by not having Nicole offer to "nurse" the infant herself. Maybe that "degree" was in wet nursing! The episode, "Face Off," was written by Kevin Bonani and Jenn Lloyd. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

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