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Nurse Practitioner Evil!

Lab Rats castAugust 5, 2013 -- Today's double episode of Disney XD's tween series Lab Rats included a brief but powerful attack on nurse practitioners. The live-action show, which is kind of a sci-fi / action sitcom, focuses on a trio of bionic teens who live incognito with their brilliant inventor father and, you know, fight evil. In this episode, the father's exiled brother and former business partner returns to take revenge and use the teens for nefarious ends. At one point, the father mocks his brother by noting that he has turned into "Dr. Evil...or should I say Nurse Practitioner Evil, since you flunked out of med school!" The brother admits that he was "dismissed" from school for "screaming too loud when I saw the needles." Of course, it's absurd to suggest that failing medical school qualifies you to be a nurse practitioner--despite not being able to handle needles, no less. But the insult will register clearly with the 9-14 year-old males who make up the show's main audience; they will likely absorb the basic message that NPs are losers who can't hack medical school. It's actually a mark of progress that NPs are now well-established enough in U.S. culture that the show creators assumed this audience would get the reference. But it's not surprising that the content of the reference is consistent with the wannabe physician stereotype and the baseless anti-NP messages sent by physician groups and too much of the mainstream media in recent years. In fact, a great deal of research shows that NPs provide care that is at least as good as physicians. NPs are nurses with graduate degrees in nursing who, as a class, have no desire to be physicians. But NPs can and do play a critical role in delivering high-quality, cost-effective care in these difficult times. more...see the film clips or go straight to our petition--please tell Disney and the show creators not to be evil!

 

A pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray

Penny doing the HeimlichOctober 3, 2013 -- Tonight's episode of Fox's Glee included an abysmal depiction of school nursing. In the Beatles-themed episode ("Tina in the Sky with Diamonds"), the McKinley High School principal apparently hired a college student named Penny--who had not yet even begun nursing school--to give vaccinations and other school nursing care. Penny described her work as part of “an internship” that would help her gain admission to nursing school later. Penny was dangerously incompetent; her "care" included mistakenly injecting urine instead of vaccine. And the episode implied that a real nurse would be better. But Penny was still repeatedly identified as “Nurse Penny," and the overall effect was to make a mockery of school nursing. Such media disinformation, even as a "joke," contributes to the undervaluation that has already led to rampant understaffing of school nurses and now takes the lives of students everywhere. Please urge those responsible to make amends!...read more or go straight to our letter-writing campaign!


 
You will be required to deal with bruising

Jon Stewart and 2 medicsOctober 24, 2012 -- Tonight on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, two former U.S. military medics appeared in a segment about re-integrating veterans into the civilian workforce. We honor the service of these veterans, who appear to have significant experience stabilizing wounded soldiers, following EMT Basic training. But Stewart's repeated insistence that the medics are vastly overqualified to be school nurses is a glaring example of the elite media's ignorance of nursing expertise. Stewart mocked school nurses as being all about "kickball" and "tummy aches," even though he explicitly noted that one school nurse position he found required a bachelor of science in nursing--we guess not all bachelor's degrees are created equal (Stewart's bachelor degree is in psychology). Sadly, the medics themselves seemed to agree that they were qualified to hold registered nurse jobs. But today's school nurses need years of university science training because they manage the health of many hundreds of students who attend with serious conditions including asthma, diabetes, and allergies. Students have died because no registered nurse was available. Jon Stewart and 2 medicsAnd school nurses play a key public health role, not only educating students about critical health issues like pregnancy and STDs, but also monitoring the student population for disease outbreaks. In 2009, school nurse Mary Pappas in New York City (where the Daily Show is recorded and Stewart's children attend school) set in motion the governmental response to the H1N1 flu outbreak, identifying and managing hundreds of her students' symptoms. She later gave compelling testimony at a federal government flu summit. Plus, she made a little girl's tummy feel all better!The segment's theme reminded us of a vague but troubling comment President Barack Obama made just two days earlier in the October 22 presidential debate that veteran medics who wanted to become nurses had to "start from scratch" so it would be good to "change those certifications." Of course, all students should have a chance to show they merit advanced placement in educational programs, but nursing requirements cannot be simply waved away for people with a few weeks of health training and some field experience, no matter how courageous and heroic. Please ask The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to make amends for the damage caused when it spread this disinformation to its 2.5 million viewers--maybe with a segment about the problems school nurses face caring for the kids of a nation whose elite sees their work as trivial. more . . . please join the letter-writing campaign and see the film clips!

 

Busch Gardens teaches kids about nurses

Busch Gardens naughty nurse dancersOctober 2011 -- For an extended period this month, the popular theme park Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, entertained visiting families with dancers dressed in naughty nurse Halloween outfits. Although this image is damaging in any context because it undermines real nurses' claims to respect and resources, it's especially unfortunate when directed at kids, who may have more trouble separating the common image from reality than adults do. Truth supporter Shawna Mudd, DNP, reports to us:

In the spirit of Halloween, the park had many events with a Halloween theme. How shocking was it that we went to lunch (yes in the middle of the day) to a Frankenstein themed show. Out came a number of women in "ghoulish" type costumes. It wasn't long before the costumes were flung off to reveal scantily clad women in the infamous "naughty nurse" costumes with visible bras and underwear, gyrating to the onlookers (and yes, there were many children in the audience). This continued through the entire show. My group felt as though we were at a strip club, not a family theme park. Later that evening, the same "nurses" were out in the park selling shots from their "syringes." more... and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

A Bad Case of Loving Nurses

Dallas Mavericks DancersFebruary 28, 2012 -- Tonight, as the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks played the New Jersey Nets, the Mavericks Dancers entertained the crowd and a large television audience at half-time by dressing in naughty nurse outfits and doing a sexually-oriented dance to the tune of Robert Palmer's "Bad Case of Loving You." Unfortunately, the tired but persistent naughty nurse stereotype in this dance undermines real nurses' claims to the resources and respect they need to save lives. We urge the Mavericks to avoid future use of naughty nurse imagery, and to make amends for the damage caused, perhaps with a donation to a Dallas area nursing school. more... or go straight to our letter-writing campaign!

 

"Seriously? Male nurse."

Gaby and Rehab nurseDecember 4, 2011 -- In tonight's episode of ABC's Desperate Housewives, major character Gaby tried to get past access restrictions at the rehabilitation facility where her husband was a resident by flirting with a male nurse, but she failed when the man simply pointed to his chest and said, "Male nurse"--meaning that he was of course gay and so not interested in Gaby. The nurse was articulate and sympathetic, but he did nothing a lay person could not do, and the first thing he did when Gaby approached was to complain that she was keeping him from reading The Help. That might have been an early hint about his sexual orientation, but it also suggests that nurses are just attendants who enforce minor rules and have time to sit around reading novels. Unfortunately, past episodes of Desperate Housewives have also reinforced nursing stereotypes. In an October 2007 show, Gaby donned naughty nurse attire as a cover to rub lotion on her husband, to covertly heal a case of the crabs she had given him. And in an April 2008 episode, the show presented a hospital nurse as a mousy, pathetic physician lackey who could be bribed into revealing sensitive patient information with free lunch at a French bistro, and who had time to leave the hospital mid-shift to eat that lunch. In tonight's episode, the show has told viewers that all men in nursing are gay, which undermines efforts to increase diversity in the profession. It almost seems like the show is on a mission to reinforce every major nursing stereotype, but if so it had better hurry up--this is its final year, and there are still some big ones that it has not yet exploited for a cheap laugh, notably the angel, the battleaxe, and the wannabe physician! We urge Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry and the other producers to make amends for the damage they've caused and to try to avoid nursing stereotypes in the future. This episode, "Putting It Together," was written by Sheila R. Lawrence. more...

 

That gargantuan heart all squishy with compassion thumping away!

ad logoMay 2011 -- For this year's Nurses Week celebration, the major U.S. managed health care group Kaiser Permanente put together a 60-second radio ad. The ad certainly offers a glowing portrait of nurses, but it's also one of the most extreme and relentless presentations of angel imagery that we have ever seen. The ad doesn't just extol nurses as "noble" and "selfless." It goes on and on about their "colossal" "capacity to care," their "superhuman" "sympathy," their "heart" of "compassion," their "love," and how the self-effacing caregivers endure their exhausting, disgusting jobs (with frequent exposure to various "bodily fluids") without complaint. There is a passing reference to being "tough," but the ad also embraces the use of "nurse" to mean "breastfeeding." The angel imagery here is so strong, and so undiluted by any hint that nurses are educated professionals who save lives, that the ad might even work to undermine the claims of Kaiser's 45,000 nurses to adequate resources, persuading them that their highest aspiration is to endure the unendurable. In any case, the ad seems likely to reinforce the damaging female angel image of nursing in the minds of nurses and lay people alike. Some nurses love the ad; we guess it's hard to see what's wrong with a series of gushing compliments, especially when they play into what society has long told nurses sets them apart. But as long as nurses are defined solely by their "gargantuan heart all squishy with compassion thumping away"--yes, the ad script really says that--nurses will not get the respect or resources they need to save lives. We urge Kaiser to aim higher. more...

 

Nurse 0D:  Sexy killer nurse movie Nurse 3D starts filming

Nurse 3D posterAugust 2011 -- In recent weeks various film media have reported that the actress Paz De La Huerta will star in Nurse 3D, a new horror film about a sexy but vengeful nurse who targets "dishonest" men for "severe" punishment. Despite suggestions by executives at the production company Lionsgate that this theme is novel and original, it is really just a variation on the classic naughty nurse stereotype that has become well-established in products including prior horror films and ads, such as the posters used to promote the 2006 release of Lionsgate's own Saw III--posters on which Nurse 3D seems to be based. Such imagery, which we call the "naughty-axe," unites the profession's naughty and battle-axe images into one unsavory package of sex and violence, and so it suggests that nursing is all about mindless feminine extremes, rather than life-saving work for skilled professionals of both genders. We hesitate to criticize media products that we have not seen, but it's hard to see how a film with this basic outline--and a promotional photo of a naked, blood-covered nurse De La Huerta--could avoid harming nursing. The film does not start production until next month, but the creators are clearly aiming to exploit the 3D format to bring viewers violence and sexuality, so it's difficult to see how the film could become less harmful to nursing unless the main character had a different job. Please join us in urging those responsible for Nurse 3D to minimize the nursing element, to show that the main character at least has some health skills, and to make amends for the damage their film will likely cause. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

Whitless

Whitney CummingsJuly 2011 -- NBC's fall prime time schedule includes a new half-hour sitcom called Whitney, starring comic Whitney Cummings, who has appeared on the E! late night show Chelsea Lately. Whitney seems to be based on Cummings's stand-up themes (a little like the classic Seinfeld). The new show focuses on the lead character's relationship with her boyfriend Alex, and one preview clip finds Whitney seducing Alex with a naughty nurse outfit. This seems to be working out well, until Alex falls while trying to get out of his pants, hits his head on a table, and loses consciousness. They end up in the emergency department, where a standoffish "real" nurse seems to take Whitney for a sex worker and bars her from going back with her injured boyfriend (who soon recovers anyway!). We could interpret the plotline as a rejection of the naughty nurse and even an implication that the image threatens public health. Whitney's outfit sets in motion events that hurt Alex and impair her ability to be with him, and the "real" nurse expresses contempt for Whitney. But we think the message that will stay with most viewers of this show is that the attractive Cummings really spends a pretty long time flirting and preening in her revealing "nurse" outfit. The "real" nurse doesn't display any expertise, and to the extent she shows authority, it's more as a petty hospital bureaucrat, barring a loved one from seeing a patient--a common example of the modern battleaxe stereotype. We urge NBC and the show creators to see if they can offer observations on modern romance without using witless nursing stereotypes. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

It's the cure, baby! Naughty nursing with Hooters

Nurse Ashleigh Hooters AdMarch 31, 2011 -- The popular restaurant chain Hooters recently declared March 17 "National Hooky Day," in honor of the start of the U.S. men's college basketball tournament. The company's website promotion features photos of naughty nurse "Ashleigh," who wants to send you a "Doctor's Note" so you can take the day off work to recover from "Basketball Fever" and enjoy a free appetizer. "Ashleigh" herself signs the note, but don't get too excited about her expertise; the only professional qualities on display here involve the model's body. By contrast, the little cartoon owl "physician" who appears in the ad is a male who appears full clothed, with a white coat and tie. However, Ashleigh does display an impressive ability to manage this "basketball fever" in the campaign's 30-second television commercial. In that one, the naughty nurse quickly diagnoses and treats basketball fever (with the free appetizer) for broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who then bellows:  "Hooters! It's the cure, baby!" This kind of imagery impedes nurses' efforts to persuade the public that nursing is a modern profession for educated women and men, rather than a sex joke that has been repeated thousands of times. Let's ask Hooters to stop contributing to a work environment that encourages real nurses to play hooky. Thanks, baby! See the commercial and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

Helpful and caring and the whole sponge bath thing

Nurse on HouseFebruary 22, 2011 -- Although the physician handmaiden remains the main Hollywood stereotype of nursing, the unskilled female sex object is still there. This week she appeared in two popular prime time television dramas airing on successive nights. In tonight's NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), a cheerful but apparently unskilled Nurse Debbie is the subject of two leering "ready for my sponge bath!"-type comments from a wounded detective. And last night’s House (Fox) presented a nameless female nurse as a physician sex object in a fantasy scene, and later, in a “real” code scene, as a panicked lay person who needed physician rescuing. In neither episode does the nurse dress provocatively. But neither nurse objects to the sexual comments either. Debbie is not even present for the remarks, and in the House fantasy scene--a fantasy constructed by House himself--the nurse actually looks a bit intrigued by two physicians' propositions. In both shows it is a different female who does object--on NCIS: LA a detective and on House a medical student. Maybe these strong, smart other women recognize that sexual abuse even of the least of their sisters--nurses--degrades all females. On the other hand, the heroic characters who are actually responsible for the imagery--Greg House and the NCIS detective--may be more interested in tweaking these female peers than anything else. In any case, the nurse characters display no real health care expertise. And the helpless House nurse responds to her crashing patient in classic House-nurse style, as the physicians rush in to save him: "I don't know what's wrong, he was stable for a while, and then all of a sudden--!." Joseph C. Wilson wrote the NCIS: LA episode ("Personal"), and Thomas L. Moran wrote the House episode ("Two Stories").. more... and see the film clips!

Admiring their credentials

Ben Keeton January 12, 2011 -- Tonight's series premiere of ABC's new Shonda Rhimes drama Off the Map introduced the standard complement of seven smart, attractive physician characters saving lives, as the hot senior ones train the hot junior ones. Set at a clinic "somewhere in South America" that seems to be staffed mainly by U.S. physicians, the show does display a little more awareness of global public health issues than Rhimes' other surgeon-centric products. And it occasionally includes pointed criticism of the cultural insensitivity and narrow vision of health care displayed by a couple newly arrived physicians. But clinic boss Ben Keeton (right) was also supposedly the youngest chief of surgery ever at UCLA before starting the clinic, and one of the new physicians gushes that he's "one of the greatest humanitarians of our time." Whatever nuggets the show may include about U.S. arrogance and caring for the poor, the main theme still seems to be U.S. physicians saving native people and tourists, especially in trauma settings. We're not quite sure how to take the premiere's title, "Saved By the Great White Hope." Maybe the show is being ironic, but the show does reflect the basic Rhimes world view that physicians are demi-gods. Every clinical scene features physicians alone providing all skilled care, including lots of care that nurses do in real life. There are no significant nurse characters, and in the premiere, we saw only two notable references to nursing, both damaging, and both involving recently arrived U.S. physician Mina Minard. In one scene, Minard demands epinephrine for a clinic patient who is having an asthma attack, and a local nurse in patterned scrubs fetches and hands it over. Minard grabs the drug, saves the patient, and receives all the credit. In the other scene, Minard complains to a fellow U.S. physician that the other physician is lucky to have a seriously ill patient to care for, because Minard just "handed out Band-Aids today…like a school nurse!" Minard starts to learn that the clinic's less exotic care has value, and she will likely grow in other ways. But we doubt anyone will question the assumption that nurses are low-skilled lackeys who play no important role in health care, whether at elite hospitals or remote clinics--whose foreign health professionals are, incidentally, more likely to be nurses than physicians, as is the case with Médecins Sans Frontières. The series premiere was written by series creator Jenna Bans. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

Open Up and Say...Naah!

Bret Michaels--PeopleMarch 7, 2011 -- The issue of People magazine dated December 27, 2010 includes Poison singer and reality TV star Bret Michaels as one of its "most intriguing" people of 2010, in a two-page layout dominated by a photo of Michaels surrounded by four naughty nurse models, a reference to his well-publicized recovery from a brain hemorrhage and other health problems. In Justin Stephens' photo, the models' outfits are not extreme by naughty nurse standards--very short white "nurse dresses" and high heels, caps 'n' cleavage. But their poses and facial expressions, along with the ways they are touching Michaels and brandishing basic health equipment, clearly present an image of generic seduction. This is not the first time the enterprising Mr. Michaels has used naughty nurse imagery in connection with publicity of his health problems. In a blog post following his emergency appendectomy in April 2010, he said that he had "hot nurses" taking care of him, referring to the "nurse fantasy" that "every man has." Maybe naughty nurse imagery helps Mr. Michaels meet some hair metal cliché quota and reduce the sense of illness-related vulnerability that might be bad for a celebrity whose image is built on strength and sexual attractiveness. But whatever it's fair to expect of Mr. Michaels, we can certainly expect People magazine--which "reaches more adult readers (more than 45 million as of fall 2009) with each issue than any consumer magazine ever"--to resist such an obvious reinforcement of the brainless naughty nurse image that has long undermined real nurses' claims to respect and resources. We contacted the CEO of Time Inc., and later, People editor Larry Hackett called us in response. He apologized and promised that People will use no other degrading images of nurses while he is there. People also published Truth director Sandy Summers's letter explaining why such images are harmful in the Mailbag section of today's issue. We commend the magazine for being responsive to our concerns about the image of nurses. We have given People some ideas about real nurses whose life-saving work it may wish to highlight. If you have any suggestions about such nurses, please send them to us, and we will collect them and present them to People. Thank you! more...

 

Thinking right, thinking bright!

Dr. OzNovember 4, 2010 -- Today the popular daytime television program The Dr. Oz Show offered viewers an amazingly concentrated package of harmful nursing stereotypes, all wrapped up in a short segment about Angel Williams, who lost 200 pounds by dancing. We're all for any safe and effective weight loss strategy. But Williams dressed in a regressive short white nurse's dress, said she was going to "get sexy" and unbuttoned the top of the dress as she prepared to lead Oz in some dancing, and told Oz that she and a group of similarly attired dancers would be "your nurses, we're gonna keep America moving for you." No doubt the show thought it would be fun to present these women as Oz's sexy nurse backup dancers--doesn't every celebrity physician have those? Especially surgeons like Dr. Oz! Unfortunately, this short segment managed to reinforce a slew of stereotypes:  the naughty nurse, the low-skilled physician handmaiden, and the idea that nursing is for females living in a past era. And far from looking uncomfortable about these nursing elements, Oz himself twice referred to the dancers as Williams's "fellow nurses." After Williams told Oz what the "nurses" would do "for" him, Oz responded, "I love it." We don't. Please tell Dr. Oz that nurses are skilled, autonomous health professionals--despite the Oprah protégé's multimedia health empire and his position on the Columbia Medical School faculty, it's not clear that he knows. more...

 

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...

 

Hell's Kitchen

nurses protestingApril 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!

 

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...

 

Take Action!

That joke isn't funny anymore

Oooh matronMarch 16, 2010 -- Today the Daily Mail (UK) ran an unsigned item about a West Midlands bus company that was using a large naughty nurse ad, with the clever tag line "Ooooh matron!," to promote its route to the hospital. Nursing representatives and National Health Service officials asked the Diamond Bus Company to pull the ad, arguing that it trivialized and sexualized the profession, making it more difficult for real nurses to do their work. But the company refused, noting that it needed to create a "bright and positive brand" and that the ad had been "vetted" by a "group of nurses" who agreed it was "funny." However, something can be "funny" and at the same time promote a harmful stereotype. These aren't just jokes about some random profession; they're about a disempowered profession that has been the subject of the same bimbo stereotype for decades. The image really does undermine the profession's standing among career seekers and others, as recent research in the UK has shown. Please help those in the corporate world understand that the image of nursing matters as much as the need for a "bright and positive brand," and that in any case there are ways to promote services without the naughty nurse. more...

 

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!

 

Mariah Carey campaign update:  A Vision of Love?

Mariah CareyMarch 14, 2010 -- Recently the Truth's campaign to persuade Mariah Carey to reconsider her use of naughty nurse imagery in the video for "Up Out My Face" has received coverage in the Hartford Courant, the Baltimore Sun, the India Times, the Calgary Herald, ADVANCE for Nurses, Scrubs Magazine, HCPro, the Dallas Morning News, and other news sources. Unfortunately, there has still been no response from Ms. Carey herself. However, the pop star's "lambs" (fans) have learned of the campaign and responded in force. They have argued that the video is just a harmless fantasy, that nurses' business is solely caring for patients at the bedside, that the Truth is just seeking "publicity" (which evidently differs from raising awareness), and that we have no right to criticize Carey's work, because she is successful, powerful, talented, and beyond our limited understanding. However, research shows that even fantasies and "jokes" can have a real effect on how people think and act, especially when repeated countless times in all media worldwide over a period of decades, as the naughty nurse has been. By relentlessly associating the profession of nursing with female sexuality, the naughty nurse makes it harder for real nurses to get the respect and resources they need to save lives, and discourages many advanced students from choosing the profession, as recent research shows. more... or go straight to our letter-writing campaign or post your own comment to respond to those of Carey's fans. Thank you!

 

Right away, Doctor!

OR nurse on phoneNovember 2010 -- Three episodes of ABC's Grey's Anatomy airing this month include plotlines that illustrate the show's occasionally sympathetic but mostly contemptuous portrayal of nursing. The November 18 episode includes a limited but fairly good portrayal of a nurse--as a patient's mother. This nurse is knowledgeable and a strong advocate for her critically ill son. Surprisingly, the skilled surgical resident Meredith Grey treats the nurse's views with respect. Popular hospital shows seem willing to present nurses as family members who know and do more than the average person, as in a comparable April 2008 episode of Fox's House in which a patient's wife (a nurse) resuscitated him. But perhaps having expert nurses act as clinical colleagues of the physician characters on a regular basis would be a threat to the natural order. The most popular shows, like Grey's, generally limit nurse characters to holding and fetching objects and saying "yes, doctor!" Meanwhile, the dominant physician characters spend a lot of time doing nursing work. In the November 18 Grey's episode, cupcakes for the nurse who couldn't keep her knees togetherMeredith and fellow resident Alex Karev appear to be the only hospital workers who provide any significant care to the nurse's son--no practicing nurse appears. The episodes airing November 4 and 11 likewise showcase physician nursing, as residents Cristina Yang and Jackson Avery provide skilled monitoring of patients. The obvious effect is that physicians get credit for the work of nurses. And the November 4 episode includes another of the show's occasional naughty nurse insults. In that episode, attending Mark Sloane says that his friend Callie deserves better than "off-brand crap" cupcakes for her bon voyage party because it's not just a "baby shower for some nurse who couldn't keep her knees together." Grey's Anatomy's fleeting efforts to present nurses as sentient beings are admirable, but they are overwhelmed by the show's relentless indications that nurses are low-skilled physician helpers. more...and see the film clips!

Living in Emergency

Living in EmergencyMarch 24, 2010 -- Living in Emergency, which will be in U.S. theaters on April 17, tells the stories of four developed world physicians who have worked on Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) aid missions in Congo and Liberia. The documentary feature offers a somewhat confused but still fairly engaging look at MSF's work in these war-torn nations. Of course, the film is an advertisement for MSF, but it is admirably frank about tensions between foreign and local staff, the stress of confronting widespread suffering in dangerous areas, and the despair that critical resource shortages can cause. The film even offers some insights on foreign aid work. But it mostly ignores MSF's local staff, and completely ignores its nurses and logistics officers, all of whom play key roles in the Nobel Prize-winning group's work. Although nurses are the most numerous MSF health professionals, this film is almost entirely about physicians, who do virtually all of the talking and acting. Viewers learn what the physicians do, what they think, and how they feel. Other MSF staff may flit across the screen, unidentified, but they are portrayed as peripheral to the stories that matter: those of the casually heroic physicians who provide all meaningful care to these populations in great need. In the end, the distorted film's treatment of emergency aid mirrors that of MSF's name:  it's a physician thing. more...

 

Not so hatke

Think HatkeOctober 2009 -- Starting last year, Virgin Mobile India has apparently been broadcasting a "naughty nurse" television ad as part of its "Think hatke" (Think differently) campaign. In the ad, a supposedly immobilized young hospital patient tricks a hot, compliant young nurse in a very short white dress. The patient has a friend call his cell phone, then asks the nurse to find the ringing phone and help him answer; that requires having her reach around in his pockets, that is, in his genital area. Of course, there is also the irony of a "think different" campaign whose central idea is actually swiped from Apple's legendary campaign of the 1980's. The Virgin Mobile ad does not represent anything "different" from the naughty nurse advertising that CEO Richard Branson and Virgin Mobile Canada indulged in several years ago, or from the ubiquitous naughty nurse imagery that has infected the globe for decades, undermining nurses' claims to adequate resources during the global nursing crisis. As for the "thinking" part, we'll leave it to you to compare the ideas of the people who appeared in Apple's original campaign--for example, Mohandas Gandhi--with the idea of tricking a nurse into sticking her hand down your pants for a few seconds. We urge Virgin Mobile to think different. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

"Naughty Nurse Delivers Nice Profits for RestoreMax"

RestoreMax nurseDecember 11, 2009 -- A Florida company called MensMax recently issued a press release boasting that its new "naughty nurse" online ad was boosting sales of "RestoreMax," which the company says is "the first ever penis skin care cream." The company said that its YouTube posting of the "sexy nurse" video had already gotten more than 150,000 hits. In the release, Michael Dugan, president of Redu, Inc. (which seems to own MensMax and markets other skin care products), said that he had tried the "serious" marketing approach using "doctors and health care professionals." But he said the "naughty nurse" is "funny" and "delivers exactly the same message...in a way men can enjoy and relax with." The press release also reported that the company was creating a naughty nurse ad "that can be cleared on regular television." Great. In the online video, the attractive young "nurse" claims to be a "professional," and she is certainly articulate in explaining the product's virtues to a gowned male patient--she's doing patient education! But her very short white dress, her leering, flirtatious manner, her enthusiastic application of the product to the male patient, and her suggestion that the patient can "get some" by taking her to dinner leave a little something to be desired. Naughty nurse imagery like this may generate profits, but it also reinforces a damaging stereotype of nurses as sexually available (if not sexually aggressive), and it undermines real nurses' claims to adequate resources for clinical practice and education. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

Lung Cancer Alliance quietly removes Dr. Lung Love video after Truth's campaign covered in Modern Healthcare

Dr. Lung Love, Lori FentonAmbroseNovember 30, 2009 -- Today the Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) removed its Dr. Lung Love rap music video--which promotes lung cancer awareness with naughty, subservient "nurses"--from the group's lunglove.com website. LCA has also removed any significant reference to the video on the main LCA web site. LCA's actions came in the wake of a substantial article on the Truth's campaign about the video in the November 23 issue of Modern Healthcare, the influential magazine for health care executives ("Outliers: Sure, we've heard of bad raps...but this is ridiculous"). We thank Modern Healthcare and you for your 111 letters (42 of them original!), which were indispensable in getting this result. While LCA has failed to remove the video from YouTube and or seek its removal from websites that have cross-posted it, the group has at least made a step in the right direction. Thanks again! See the Truth's original campaign and the second wave of our campaign.

 

Update on Cali Nurse campaign!

Cali Nurse logoJuly 9, 2010 -- We have just had a productive conversation with Eli Holzman, the Executive Vice President of Studio Lambert, the production company that is planning to produce Cali Nurse. Mr. Holzman and his show colleagues received 78 emails (33 original--thank you!) from nurses and others concerned about the show in the two days since we launched our letter-writing campaign. He expressed concern about the stereotypes that plague nurses and vowed to try to avoid them in the show. He said that Cali Nurse is at least a year away from production, but that as work on it proceeds in the coming months, he will keep in mind all of the input he has received from us. He is also interested in reading our book Saving Lives, which explains these stereotypes, and we will send copies to his production team. (Thanks to those who have donated copies of the book so that we can send them to the media!) We also offered to provide advice to the show as it goes forward. Of course it is too soon to say what the ultimate result of all this will be, but we thank you so much for taking the time and effort to speak out about the potential pitfalls of the show. Your voices made the difference!

 

Going Back to Cali Nurse

Cali Nurse logoJuly 2010 -- Recently MysticArt Pictures issued a casting call for a new "sexy docu-series" called Cali Nurse, to be produced by the prominent production company Studio Lambert. The show is seeking real nurses and nursing students, but the casting material makes clear that it is going to focus on damaging stereotypes. The show wants "gorgeous" young females (ages 21-30 only) who will experience "comedy, romance, and fun" and are all about "big hearts" and "dates with McDreamy." We didn't notice anything in the casting call about being bright, articulate, tough, or skilled, qualities that real nurses need to improve patient outcomes, though the casting call did suggest that the show would "capture the lives of those learning to save lives." The producers seem to be aiming at a reality show version of Nightingales, the bimbotic show from the late 1980's. We could urge the show to pursue a more responsible vision of nursing, though it's pretty hard to imagine a project with this genesis doing no harm to nursing unless it stopped being about nurses completely. Maybe the producers could focus instead on one of the many categories of professionals who have not been plagued for decades by the idea that they are either sexy twits looking to seduce physicians, or else angels with big hearts and small brains. Cali Doc would be too easy; we're thinking Cali Judge, Cali Scientist, or even Cali TV Producer! More realistically, please join us in urging Studio Lambert to at least minimize how much it tells the public that nurses are brainless bimbos and/or angels. more...

 

Whoopi listens

Whoopi GoldbergNovember 2009 -- In May, Whoopi Goldberg made a few comments in an Apple store interview that suggested nurses were just "helpers" and that medicine was the health profession today's girls should aspire to join, as the main character in Goldberg's own children's book series does. Goldberg was also the co-creator of the Lifetime series Strong Medicine (2000-2006), which portrayed nurses as handmaidens to heroic female physicians (with the partial exception of the nurse-midwife character Peter Riggs). So we launched a letter-writing campaign to let Whoopi know that nurses are skilled, autonomous professionals who save lives and improve patient outcomes. Over 100 of you sent email letters, and many of those were original. We printed them all out and sent hard copies to Whoopi to make sure they got her attention. Soon after she called us, concerned that all these nurses were upset with her. And unlike many media figures, Whoopi not only responded but took the time to listen to our thoughts about the undervaluation of nursing. We talked for about 15 minutes about how we might work together to convey the truth about nursing to a wider audience, and we understand she has discussed it further with a close business associate. We will soon follow up with some specific ideas. We believe Whoopi has considered our issues seriously and that she will, at a minimum, try not to create damaging media about nursing in the future. So thank you for helping to change the mind of this very influential person. Your letters made the difference. Please click here to change more of the 6.8 billion minds out there with our other campaigns. And thanks again!

 

Did you just call me a nurse?

naggingOctober 21, 2009 -- Are the nurse characters on Mercy and the other new Hollywood nurse shows just self-righteous nags who have forgotten their proper place, which is certainly not to challenge physicians who are trying to do their supremely important work? Shouldn't nurses' highest aspiration be to attend medical school, or at least to marry someone who has? Some elite media critics seem to think so. Ginia Bellafante's contemptuous September 23, 2009 New York Times review suggested that Mercy's nurse characters were pathetic bridge-and-tunnel women who had fallen pretty far from ER nurses, who got to marry George Clooney and maybe even join their "superiors" by attending medical school! And today, Heather Havrilesky's roundup of new shows in Salon was practically seething about Mercy; apparently, it's a "mercilessly self-righteous" vision of nurses "wagging their fingers" at "cartoonishly self-concerned" physicians. In other words, these nurses may think they're fighting for patients, but they're really more like tiresome sitcom wives, nagging and wagging. There are reasons to fault Mercy as a drama, but it and the other nurse shows have gone out of their way to include positive counterexamples of physician conduct (the lead physician in each is smart, able, and attractive) and to show that the nurse leads are deeply flawed and sometimes wrong. It seems like some critics can't handle the idea that there really are smart, educated nurses who do (and must) challenge the care plans of physicians who are not so McDreamy in their professional roles. We can't recall such media critics attacking the far more extreme and unrealistic heroic-physician / servant-nurse narrative that has dominated the last 100 or so other hospital shows. Bellafante acknowledges that shows like House suggest only physicians matter, but apparently there's something unseemly about an "angry little soap" like Mercy trying to counter that vision. Some critics seem to identify more with physicians--the master class that smart, ambitious women like the critics themselves can now join--than they do with nurses, the sad yestergirls who still do subordinate "women's work." Sadly, the dismissive attitudes of female media figures speak volumes not only about the hard road faced by shows like Mercy, but also about why nursing itself remains undervalued and underfunded. Few may consider shows like Mercy subversive, but they do contradict some powerful "feminist" assumptions. Maybe the shows hit too close to home:   How dare they suggest that nurses are like me? more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

Post-Its and other priorities

Hank LawsonJuly 9, 2009 -- In the June 4, 2009 premiere of USA Network's new hit summer drama Royal Pains, the brilliant and heroic physician character Hank Lawson was fired and blackballed by a New York City hospital for treating all patients equally. Afterwards, Hank lamented that he could not even find a job as a school nurse! (See the Quicktime clips at broadband or dialup speed.) The message for the episode's 5.6 million viewers was that there could not be a more trivial and unskilled job for a health worker than that of school nurses, who presumably spend their days placing band-aids on scraped knees. But in fact Hank could not get a job as a school nurse because he has not spent years in nursing school, has no nursing license, and knows little about nursing. While the contempt in this episode continues to infect the mass media, it's no surprise that real school nurses struggle for the resources they need to save lives and improve student health. Ryan Blackburn's May 8, 2009 story in the Athens Banner-Herald (GA) explained that school nurses manage chronic health issues like allergies, diabetes, and seizures so students can continue learning. Anemona Hartocollis's April 28 New York Times article described the work of New York City school nurse Mary Pappas. She became "a sort of folk hero to nurses" for setting in motion the governmental response to the October swine flu outbreak, identifying and managing hundreds of students' symptoms in a way that might even impress Hank Lawson out in the Hamptons! And today the Associated Press ran an excellent item by Lauran Neergaard about Pappas's "riveting" performance at the Obama Administration's swine flu summit. school nurseThere the nurse explained how she handled the huge triage challenge in October, and her plans for the coming flu season, offering this pointed advice to the government: "Every school needs a nurse." Kris Sherman's March 8 article in the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) offered a tragic example of what happened in that same October at a local school with no nurse:   A fifth-grader died from a massive asthma attack, even though she was taken to a school health room where materials were reserved specifically to save her life. No one with significant health training was there to use them. These recent press pieces paint a picture of a vital professional specialty worthy of more than the undervaluation that has strained its members beyond the breaking point--and that continues to take our children's lives. We urge everyone to help change that situation. Join the National Association of School Nurses in the effort to pass the student to school ratio improvement act and ask your organization to join their list of supporters. more...and take action to support school nurses!

Ms. Goldberg needs some helpers

Nurse JackieJune 16, 2009 -- Today the Examiner web sites posted a transcript of a recent interview in which The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg explained the professional aspirations of Brenda, the lead character in the "Sugar Plum Ballerinas" children's books she has written. Goldberg assures us that Brenda's desire to be a physician is not unusual today, because girls now have not "been told what they couldn't do," unlike girls of her generation, who "all heard, 'You have to be a nurse first. You have to be a helper. You can't be a doctor. Be a helper.'" Goldberg says nothing to cause us to doubt that she shares the contempt for nursing that is inherent in these statements. She is plainly thrilled that girls today are not forced into what she sees as the assistive work of nursing. And although Goldberg rightly suggests that this shift in attitudes is due partly to mass media like NBC's popular ER, the Lifetime drama Strong Medicine that Goldberg herself helped to create and lead from 2000-2006 pushed the idea even more strongly. That show focused on two female physician characters, but it never presented female nurses as anything more than anonymous physician subordinates. That is not feminism. In fact, nursing is a distinct health science whose autonomous practitioners use their years of college education to save lives. Of course it's great that girls now have diverse career choices. But uninformed comments like those of Goldberg and some other celebrity opinion-makers reinforce harmful stereotypes. They push able career seekers of both genders away from nursing and undermine the profession's standing among those who allocate scarce health care resources, contributing to the global nursing shortage. We urge everyone to "help" Ms. Goldberg understand nursing better. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

"Hospital attendant"

Will Shortz crossword puzzleApril 27, 2009 -- Today's New York Times Crossword puzzle sought the answer "nurse" with the clue "hospital attendant." But nurses are skilled, autonomous professionals who use their years of college-level education to save lives and improve patient outcomes. They are not "attendants," a word which is generally used to mean an assistant or service worker with relatively little formal education in the relevant field. The clue recalls the Times Crossword's even more inaccurate February 2007 nurse clue "ICU helper." Of course, some will note that it's "just a crossword puzzle." But all mass media has some effect on how people think and act. And the fact that the premiere crossword in the world repeatedly features such clues illustrates the range of media that contributes to the deadly undervaluation of nursing, and of course, also shows how difficult it is to correct such stereotyping. This puzzle was created by Joe Krozel, and the current Times puzzle editor, as in 2007, is Will Shortz. more... and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

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!

 

Throw them out there

APFebruary 15, 2009 -- Today many press outlets ran a very good Associated Press story by Rasha Madkour about nascent efforts to keep new nurses at the bedside through nurse residency programs. The San Diego Union-Tribune headlined the piece "Amid nurse shortage, hospitals focus on retention." But the article really focuses on the particular problem of helping new nurses adjust to the intense demands of practice through formal, hospital-based training programs. The report gives a good basic sense of some of the major types of residency programs and how they can reduce the remarkably high 20% attrition rate for new nurses in the U.S. The article might have included more detail about features of the longer nurse residencies--which are still just one year--and more context regarding the far more extensive physician residencies, including the billions of dollars in federal government support those receive. We thank Madkour and the AP for this very helpful report on an important but often overlooked factor in the nursing shortage. 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!

 

A Short History of Dr. Feelgood

March 16, 2009 -- Today the veteran metal band Motley Crue got coverage in the rock press by arriving for a New York City press conference to announce its summer 2009 Crue Fest 2 Tour in a classic Cadillac ambulance with two women dressed in naughty nurse outfits. The ambulance and nurses underlined a central theme of the tour, which is that the band will play its popular 1989 album Dr. Feelgood all the way through at every show. But it's still a predictably lame reinforcement of the naughty nurse stereotype, which despite being a "joke" degrades nursing in the public consciousness and undermines nurses' claims to adequate respect and resources during a critical nursing shortage. Why predictable? Because the band has not been able to resist the naughty nurse in recent publicity efforts, including as a 2007 promotional theme for frontman Vince Neil's West Palm Beach club "Dr. Feelgood's," as well as in drummer Tommie Lee's appearance as "Dr. Feelgood" in Keith Anderson's 2005 "XXL" video. It's not clear if the naughty nurses will be along for Crue Fest 2. But since the band is stressing that its shows are a way to help fans cope with the lousy economy, maybe it would consider applying that laudable concern for public wellbeing to the nursing crisis, and leave the bimbo nurse part out. more... and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

"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...

 

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...

 

Orders

November 8, 2007 -- The episodes of NBC's "ER" broadcast tonight and a week ago send typically mixed messages about nursing autonomy and expertise. On the one hand, the episodes include some helpful suggestions of nursing skill. These include lone major nurse character Sam Taggart's (right) quick thinking to prevent a combative patient's suicide, and in a pediatric trauma scene, a rare indication that some nurses are more skilled than others. Sadly, other scenes suggest that nurses report to physicians, that physicians manage nurses' work at triage, and that physicians have to persuade nurses to allow a natural death for terminal patients. And there is the usual focus (even by the nurse characters) on physicians' professional hierarchy and advancement, while the nursing analogs are utterly ignored. The November 1 episode was "The Test" by Lisa Zwerling, MD (9.1 million viewers), and tonight's episode was David Zabel's "Blackout" (8.4 million viewers). more...

 

"Scrubs," lift us up where we belong

February 1, 2007 -- Tonight NBC's "Scrubs" told millions of viewers that nurses are handmaidens with low-skilled jobs, that physicians supervise nurses and can become nurse managers at will, that nursing is for women so men who do it should be mocked, and that physicians take the lead in skilled patient monitoring, though nurses actually do that. The episode does suggest vaguely that "head nurse" Carla Espinosa is needed. And nurse Laverne Roberts, who has often been presented as a lazy, disagreeable stereotype, takes a more active and realistic role here. But on the whole, Mike Schwartz's "His Story IV" is one of the worst "Scrubs" episodes ever for nursing. more...

 

Infirmières Sans Frontières

December 3, 2006 -- Recently, the Nobel Prize-winning Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) launched a U.S. tour of an exhibit highlighting the global aid group's vital work in conflict zones. "A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City" features MSF aid workers guiding visitors through a model of actual relief facilities. The exhibit explains the challenges MSF faces in providing care, nutrition, and decent living conditions. This is a perfect time to thank the group for its admirable work--and to note that its continuing use of the name "Doctors Without Borders" sends an inaccurate message about who is doing that work. We understand nurses are the most numerous health professionals among MSF workers, and they play a central role in the group's efforts. Yet when journalist Suzanne Gordon suggested to a physician MSF leader that the group consider adopting a name that did not slight its nurses, the leader said that she hoped MSF would never be so "stupid" as to do so. The Center has tried to discuss the matter with MSF for two months, but we have gotten no real response. The group's name seems to reflect the undervaluation of nursing that is undermining health worldwide, particularly in the developing nations MSF tries to help. We doubt that MSF would suffer by phasing in a similar name, like "Soins Sans Frontières" ("Health Care Without Borders"). We urge MSF to give its own nurses the credit they deserve--and that nurses everywhere need to help their patients. more...

 

Worth Dying For

October 2006 -- We hear that a fine new establishment in Tempe, Arizona, one Heart Attack Grill, has been the subject of complaints by those battleaxes at the Arizona State Board of Nursing. And it's all because the Grill uses scantily dressed "naughty nurse" wait staff to sell burgers and beer! Last month, the real nurses (or "Terrorists & FemiNazis," as the Grill describes them) even got the Arizona attorney general's office to ask the Grill to stop suggesting that its employees are real nurses, in alleged violation of the state's protected title statute. The Center is outraged at this assault on the free speech rights of scrubs-clad Grill owner "Dr. Jon" Basso. But we will explore what those scary Arizona nurses might be getting at, when they aren't busy killing millions of Jews or crashing jets into buildings. The nurses might be upset because the Grill is exploiting nursing's long-standing position as the most sexually-fantasized-about job on the planet. That reinforces stereotypes that discourage practicing and potential nurses (especially men), foster sexual violence in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect that weakens nurses' claims to adequate resources. Those stereotypes exacerbate the global nursing shortage, a public health crisis that is killing thousands of people. It would even be killing those whose poor diets help lead to heart attacks, if the link between food and cardiac conditions were not just another silly lie in a world in which, as the Grill says, "insane political correctness stands as a barrier between the average man and his pursuit of happiness." more...

 

But when I became a physician, I put away nursing things

September 27, 2006 -- The Houston Chronicle's business section featured an article on July 8 by Brett Brune headlined "In-store clinics not a cure-all, doctors warn." The piece describes the American Medical Association's continued efforts to denigrate nurse practitioners and limit the rapid expansion of the "quick clinics" they staff in retail stores. Of course, this is nothing new. The Center has long sought to engage the physician lobbying group on its anti-NP campaign, which ignores extensive research demonstrating the high quality of NP care, and thus appears to be based more on fear of competition than a concern for safety. But the AMA has found a new point person to make its pitch: AMA board member Dr. Rebecca Patchin. Patchin exploits her status as a "former nurse" to bolster misleading attacks on NP training and care that appear in many recent press pieces, including a June 12 Chicago Tribune piece and an April 28 Bloomberg News piece. The AMA's strategy resembles that of an organization that, faced with a strong discrimination claim, chooses someone from the claimant's group to lead its defense. The Chronicle piece balances the baseless criticism of Patchin and a Texas physician only with reaction from the RediClinic CEO, whose brief quote does nothing to defend the quality of NP care. There is no hint that NPs provide comprehensive primary care outside of the quick clinics. And no NP is consulted for the piece, suggesting that physicians are the only health experts with anything useful to say about NP care. more...

 

See just the success stories

 

"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...

 

Living with his mistake

May 2007 -- A new public service announcement features New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine urging television viewers to use seat belts, a simple measure that might have prevented him from nearly dying in a serious car crash in April. We applaud this public health effort, except for the fact that Corzine's ad attributes his survival to "a remarkable team of doctors," "a series of miracles," and a "ventilator" in the ICU where he spent eight days. Corzine totally ignores the Cooper University Hospital nurses who likely provided most of the skilled care that saved his life. His ad both reflects and reinforces the physician-centric media coverage his hospital stay received. We urge Gov. Corzine to set the record straight. more...

 

And the first shall be first

April 26, 2007 -- Today Regis Philbin returned to the "LIVE with Regis and Kelly" TV show following his cardiac bypass surgery at New York's Weill Cornell Medical Center. Just before Regis left in mid-March, co-host Kelly Ripa had repeatedly joked that she would act as his "sponge bath nurse" in a "little nursey costume," presenting an obvious "naughty nurse" image that infuriated nurses in the United States and Canada. The show has still not responded directly to the more than 700 nurses who have written to object, or acknowledged the damage Ripa's remarks did. But today's show did include a small apparent effort to make amends that, at least in its basic form, seemed to follow the advice of the Center and many nurses. The show brought five of Regis's nurses on and offered them generic expressions of gratitude, including Ripa's comment that the "doctors can't do it without" them--actually a damaging suggestion that the nurses' role is merely assistive. The seven-minute segment was utterly dominated by three physicians, particularly the two surgeons. The physicians did all the talking. They were praised as "brilliant" (by Regis) and among the best in the world (by guest David Letterman). Ripa even joked that Regis was scared to stand next to one surgeon because he was "God." The nurses did not have the chance to say even one word. So the segment powerfully reinforced the idea that nurses are noble but low-skilled physician handmaidens, a stereotype that is even more damaging than the naughty nurse, because it is so persuasive and prevalent. Sadly, the segment's effort to thank the nurses was so flawed that we believe nursing would have been better off without it. more...

 

For college grads

April 22, 2007 - The April 15 issue of PARADE magazine included a careers feature that listed "registered nurses" as one of "The Hottest Jobs (No College Degree Required)," rather than in the category of hot jobs "For College Grads." PARADE is included in many U.S. Sunday newspapers, and it has a readership of some 80 million people. The magazine's description of nurse training was very misleading. The great majority of nurses have at least an associate's degree from a college (which typically takes three full years to earn). About half of nurses now have at least a bachelor's degree. And the few hospital-based diploma programs that remain require three years of college-level training. The PARADE item brought a swift response from nurses on the magazine's web site, and from nursing leaders including Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, president of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), and Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP, who seeks to establish an Office of the National Nurse. As a result, by April 19 the PARADE site included an expression of regret that nurses had been included on the list, along with a note that most do have college degrees. Nursing was also removed from the online version of the hot job list. Unfortunately, it appears that there will be no correction in PARADE itself, and we assume relatively few of the people who saw the original item will see the web site clarification. We fear such items will continue to appear and mislead the public as long as there are several paths to nursing entry, and perhaps as long as entry does not require at least a bachelor's degree. But this story does at least show that vigorous advocacy can help nurses address the undervaluation that feeds many of the profession's current problems. more...

 

Mourning Edition

March 1, 2007 - NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep has recently made statements in on-air interviews with disaster health experts that assume only physicians matter, presumably because they provide all important health care. On February 22, Morning Edition ran an interview with a former U.S. Coast Guard officer who argued that the nation was not well prepared to provide health care in the event of a disaster. When this expert said that a community had to ask whether it could handle hundreds of thousands of casualties, "all requiring triage and other kinds of life and death care," Inskeep (below) asked if that meant asking whether such a place had "hundreds of vacant beds ... hundreds of idle doctors?" Today, when the "chief of medical affairs" at a New Orleans hospital noted that a lack of "health care providers" was hampering efforts to restore area hospitals to full capacity, Inskeep wondered whether even hospitals like his that had remained open "don't have enough doctors available." In both stories, the experts sooner or later worked nurses into the conversation. In fact, while physician care is of course very important, most of the critical care in such emergencies (such as skilled triage) is provided by nurses. And it is the severe shortage of nurses that would likely present the most urgent health care human resources problem during a mass casualty event. more...

 

4. Crossword helper (3 letters)

February 27, 2007 - Yesterday, The New York Times Crossword Puzzle included the following as the fourth of its "Down" clues: "I.C.U. helpers." We thought: "Hmm. That's not an accurate or sensitive way to describe the skilled physicians who work with the elite nurses who play the central role in keeping critical patients alive. This is the premiere crossword puzzle in the world!" Imagine our shock when we discovered (and today's published solution confirmed) that the "correct" answer was in fact "RNS." OK, we're joking. Of course we knew instantly that the answer involved nurses, and that the Times puzzle's place in the cultural landscape was irrelevant, since ignorance of nursing's true value is endemic in all segments of global society. The puzzle was created by Peter A. Collins, and edited by puzzle superstar Will Shortz. Incidentally, the answer to the clue heading this analysis is "NYT." more...

 

The Nursemaid Who Wouldn't Disappear

February 25, 2007 - An item on the front page of the "Jobs" section in today's Washington Post reflected the media's continuing practice of using "nurse" as a shorthand for any female who provides paid care to children. Vickie Elmer's piece repeatedly refers to the Maryland infant caregiver it profiles as a "baby nurse," even though the provider has virtually no health care training. Obviously, as Post representatives pointed out to us, there is a historic association between infant caregiving and the word "nurse," as in "nursemaid." And many caregivers persist in marketing themselves as"baby nurses." We're familiar with the view that if lots of people have done something for a long time, it must be right. But to use "nurse" this way today sends a damaging message about professional nursing at a time of crisis. And it poses risks for those who may rely on the mistaken belief that such caregivers actually are trained nurses, as recent press accounts have made clear. We commend DC nurse Mary Brewster for letting the Post know that it can do better, and we encourage others to give the Post their views. more...

 

"Italian nurses are better-looking...These [U.S.] ones scare me a bit. Don't even think about leaving me alone at night with one of them."

December 22, 2006 -- These are the reported comments of Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Opposition leader, former Prime Minister (2001-2006), and billionaire media tycoon, on December 22, 2006, analyzing the care he was receiving at the Cleveland Clinic while receiving a pacemaker. We know what you're thinking: what a nice way for Mr. Berlusconi (right) to say "thank you" to the skilled U.S. nurses who'd been keeping him alive, and to demonstrate his diplomatic skills. But our problem is not so much with the former Prime Minister's views on whether one group of nurses is more attractive than another. And we realize that Mr. Berlusconi's latter comments are an attempt at humor. But we are troubled by a world in which those at the very pinnacle of the governmental, corporate, and media sectors--e.g., Mr. Berlusconi--would even suggest that the measure of a nurse is her physical appearance. His comment about being left alone at night suggests that he may also believe that it is a nurse's job to provide sex to patients. Or maybe he just thinks U.S. nurses are such monsters that they might attack him, rather than simply making the expected nursing sex unpleasant. Whichever it is, it seems that Mr. Berlusconi does not understand that nurses are not models or sex workers. Instead, they are health professionals with years of college-level science training whose job it is to keep patients alive 24/7. Had the esteemed Cleveland Clinic obliged Mr. Berlusconi by keeping all the nurses away from him at night, he could well have died. Of course, if his attitudes prevail, he and everyone else may soon find out what it's like to get no skilled nursing care.

 

Coor Slight

December 2006 -- After five months of effort, we have persuaded Colorado brewer Coors to stop using "naughty nurse" imagery in its "Coors Light Trauma Tour." We thank the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario, especially member Laurie Spooner, for important help in this effort. The Trauma Tour has been an ongoing marketing campaign of Coors Canada. It has included television and other advertising, sponsorship of extreme sports events, and events at clubs and bars. The nursing component has featured models dressed in "naughty nurse" outfits, and some publicity has actually used the term "naughty nurse." It seems that the "nurses" would not only help the young male target demographic through risky sports, but also cause some "trauma" of their own by interacting closely with the guys. Because the "naughty nurse" stereotype reinforces the undervaluation and gender segregation of nursing, which in turn fuels the real "trauma" of the nursing shortage, we urged Coors to rethink the use of such "nurses" in its marketing. The company's U.S. headquarters was very responsive to our concerns, stressing that Coors had vowed to stop using such imagery after our successful campaign about its naughty nurse Zima commercial that aired in 2002. Ultimately, the company's Canadian division was persuaded to stop using naughty nurse imagery in the Trauma Tour. more...

 

"People always joke about nurses looking saucy so it's fun to be the real thing."

November 29, 2006 -- Over the last two days, the U.K. tabloid the Sun has run a prominent "naughty nurse" pictorial. The Sun is the most popular English-language daily in the world, with an estimated 7.8 million readers. The theme of its lingerie pictorial is that the models really are nurses. Unlike the paper's regular Page 3 feature, this one stops short of nudity. The light soft-porn text is credited to Lucy Hagan. The pictorial promotes sales of a calendar called "100% Real Nurses 2007." Two of the models in the Sun are said to be "plastic surgery nurses," and we also see a "student nurse," a "dental nurse," and a "nurse" who works at a "vet's surgery." The feature is a gleeful mess of naughty nurse stereotyping, along with a few angel references. In small separate photos, it also shows the models in real-looking nurse uniforms, as if to dispel any doubts that they really are nurses. But many of the photos show the "nurses" stripping out of racy versions of nurse uniforms, apparently in actual health care facilities. What we can't figure out is why a recent survey found that nursing was the most sexually-fantasized-about job in the U.K. Anyway, we urge the Sun to consider whether it might somehow entertain readers without reinforcing a stereotype of workplace sexual availability that inhibits nurses' ability to get the resources they need to resolve the global nursing crisis. Read more

 

Touching the world

May 10, 2006 -- Since last year, Johnson & Johnson has been running new 30-second U.S. television ads with the laudable goal of promoting nursing careers. These sentimental ads are part of the company's massive "Campaign for Nursing's Future" begun several years ago. Their theme is "the importance of a nurse's touch." In them we see caring young nurses helping patients ranging from a newborn to an older man. The spots are certainly well-produced. And they do include a few elements that suggest the nurses have some skill. But sadly, the ads rely mainly on the same kind of unhelpful angel and maternal imagery that infected the Campaign's original "Dare to Care" ads. And that era's four-minute Recruitment Video, complete with the gooey theme song, is still circulating. Of course "caring" is an important part of nursing. But everyone knows that, and we believe that only greater understanding that nurses actually save lives and improve patient outcomes will attract the resources nursing needs in the long term. For a great alternative ad, consider the wacky, infectious rap recruiting video from 2004 by Craig Barton and the ED staff (below) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Fortunately, J&J has done more than disseminate troubling ads and videos. They have also financed a helpful nursing web site (which we helped to create) and raised funds for faculty fellowships and student scholarships. The company has also sponsored the longer 2004 recruiting video "Nurse Scientists: Committed to the Public Trust," apparently made for the Friends of the National Institute for Nursing Research. This helpful 11-minute video features nursing academics discussing their research in key areas like cancer, HIV, geriatrics, and domestic violence. It's not exactly going to enthrall the Total Request Live audience. But it tells the public that nurses can be scholars, and it may help address the faculty shortage that is hampering efforts to reduce the overall crisis. See and join our campaign...

 

Blood Simple

October 27, 2006 - Today, just before Halloween, Lion's Gate and Twisted Pictures are releasing "Saw III," the third installment in a low-budget but very successful horror movie franchise. Like the two prior films, "Saw III" will be promoted through a real Halloween Blood Drive ("This Halloween, Give 'Til It Hurts"). To that end, Lion's Gate has distributed eye-catching blood drive posters. Unfortunately, the posters feature sexy/scary "naughty nurse" imagery. We commend the film companies for the blood drives, which the film's web site claims collected enough in 2004 and 2005 to save thousands of lives. But we urge the companies to stop promoting that effort with images that degrade the very professionals who use the blood collected to save those lives. Read more and send our instant letter!

 

X Games

October 15, 2006 - A recent print ad campaign for Schick's Quattro Titanium razor featured an injured male skateboarder in a research facility bed. He was surrounded by white-coated researchers--and three naughty "nurses" giving him what the ad accurately calls "more intensive care." Schick, which sponsors the X Games, placed the ad in recent issues of Sports Illustrated. The company also distributed the ad at college bookstores, perhaps as an inspiration to nursing students. John Wergeles, Schick's Group Business Director for Men's Systems, assured us that Schick did not mean to insult nurses. He said the campaign was ending, but promised that Schick would not revive it in the future, which might otherwise occur. Mr. Wergeles also said he would consult us about any future ads that involved "nurses." We thank Schick for its responsiveness to nurses' concerns. read the full review...

 

Water made less naughty

September 2006 -- Recently, Constellation Brands, Inc. employed naughty nurse images to help sell its Hydra Vodka Water beverage, which is marketed to young adults. One print ad in the "Water made naughty" campaign featured a "naughty nurse" underwater, wearing a very short dress and putting on a surgical glove, while glancing seductively at the camera. Models dressed as naughty nurses also seem to have been a feature at events promoting the drink. The Center called Constellation Brands to discuss our concern that such imagery discourages practicing and potential nurses, while undermining nursing's claims to adequate resources in the midst of a global shortage. Michael Martin, Vice President of Corporate Communications, immediately agreed to work to discontinue use of the imagery. It has been pulled from the Hydra website and will no longer be placed in print ads. more...

 

Debugging the "Electronic Nurse"

September 20, 2006 -- Today we convinced ALR Technologies, Inc. to change the informal name of its new ALRT500 (right) from "Electronic Nurse" to a name that does not suggest that the machine can replace a human nurse. The ALRT500 is a home health management device that aids in treatment compliance and monitoring of those with chronic disease. However, it does not make professional judgments and take skilled clinical actions based on years of college-level science education, as nurses do. After the Center sent an email outlining our concerns, we got a call from Wendy Prabhu, President of Mercom Capital Group, ALR's investment relations firm. Ms. Prabhu said that ALR had no intention of offending nurses, and she promised that ALR would change the "Electronic Nurse" name out of respect for them. She noted that the company works with nurses every day and values their work tremendously. She assured us that ALR President Stan Cruitt feels the same way. We commend ALR Technologies and Mercom Capital Group for being remarkably responsive to nurses' concerns about their product, and for taking steps to address the situation. more...

 

Keith Anderson's: "XXL"

Bigger is better. "XXL" is country/rock poster boy Keith Anderson's not-so-tongue-in-cheek ode to the Big and Tall, and their ability to get all the hot babes. By an odd coincidence, Anderson himself is reportedly a large ex-athlete, a former college football player and bodybuilder who might have played major league baseball if not for an injury. The song, which Anderson wrote with Bob DiPiero, is a swaggering but fairly bland bit of sleek, radio-ready country/rock, like much of the rest of Anderson's well-named debut album. The first verse describes the singer's birth, where it "[t]ook two nurses to hold me and one nurse to slap me," and the physician informed his exhausted mother that the baby was "off the charts." If it was just this charming creation myth, we could let it go. But unfortunately, there's also the video. That features the famously well-endowed Motley Crue drummer and sex film guy Tommy Lee as the leering "doctor" (any more questions about what "XXL" really means?). Tommy's lab coat says "Dr. Feelgood," and in the delivering room he is on intimate terms with three "naughty nurses," who are spilling out of their tiny dresses as they pose and pout. So, "Dr. Feelgood" is hooking up with several half-dressed babes while they all deliver the "XXL" speaker and care for him and mom. The Freudian weirdness and the ugly association of OB care with sex make the video an even more cynical than usual exploitation of the naughty nurse stereotype. more...

 

Wanna Bee

June 7, 2006 -- "Akeelah and the Bee" follows the Hollywood formula of a gifted but troubled competitor confronting destiny. The ingratiating film tells the story of an 11-year-old girl from a struggling Los Angeles school who aims for the National Spelling Bee, despite a social environment that presents huge obstacles. Akeelah's widowed mother Tanya, for instance, is barely keeping it together raising the family by herself. Fair enough, except that the film tells us that the bitter Tanya had to settle for being a nurse instead of a physician after dropping out of college. In other words, nurses are sad physician wannabes who lack college-level training. In this respect, "Akeelah" pushes a vision of African-American professional achievement that is as elitist, shallow, and inaccurate as that of its sophomoric cousin, the prime time soap "Grey's Anatomy." When applied to nursing, that vision damages public health. more...

 

Careless advice columnist threatens profession

June 2, 2006 -- Today the legendary syndicated advice column Dear Abby (now written by Jeanne Phillips (far right)) ran a piece headlined "Careless nurse threatens marriage." The main item is a letter from "Mike in Tucson" complaining about a nurse in a hospital recovery room who reportedly told a patient's wife that patients emerging from anesthesia cannot lie. The patient's wife then asked her groggy husband if he had ever cheated on her, and when he said he had, she ran from the room. Mike wonders if he "should let the doctor know about his nurse's unwise remark." Abby responds "[a]bsolutely," and proceeds to opine that people coming out of anesthesia have no idea what they're talking about, so the "doctor needs to counsel his nurse for her poor judgment." Just how poor the nurse's judgment was would seem to require knowledge and analysis of a number of facts that we don't get here. But what's not so complex are the damaging assumptions Abby makes, namely that the nurse belongs to a physician and that it would be the physician's role to "counsel" her. Of course, hospital nurses report to other nurses, not physicians, and nursing managers and clinical leaders would be the ones to undertake any counseling needed. Just an advice column? Dear Abby's daily readership is estimated at 100 million people. read more and send Dear Abby a letter...

 

Nurse Follies...well, we can't improve on that for a headline

January 2006 -- The Center has learned that a video reel slots game called "Nurse Follies" has been placed in casinos throughout the United States. The game appears to present the hospital as a kooky den of lust and greed, relying on several nursing stereotypes, including the young naughty nurse, the older battleaxe, and the financial enforcer. Such images, while endlessly amusing, are the last thing the nursing profession needs during a critical shortage that is claiming lives worldwide. "Nurse Follies" is sold by IGT (International Game Technology), a Nevada-based Fortune 500 company that claims to be the world's leading gaming machine maker, with 80% of the U.S. market and more than half a million machines in place worldwide. We were first alerted to the slot machines appearing at the Wynn Las Vegas casino. But when we called to register our concern, we learned that Wynn had just finished reconfiguring its Nurse Follies machines to exclude any reference to nurses because of a prior letter from just one nurse. However, manufacturer IGT insists the machines are good for nursing, and is unwilling to do anything to eliminate Nurse Follies from Las Vegas or any other gaming resort. more...

 

Mattel on the "Nurse Quacktitioner": Problem? What problem? Oh--and did we mention the new Nurse Barbie?

January 11, 2006 -- Mattel has now received letters from over 2,000 nurses and supporters, and the Center has held discussions with Vice President of Corporate Communications Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, about the Furryville "Nurse Quacktitioner" doll. Sadly, the company still refuses to remove or buy back any dolls. Mattel has suggested that nurses aren't really that upset about the doll because some unspecified number have actually told the company they like it, and because it thinks all the negative letters it has received are form letters. (In fact, we know the company has received and seen the hard copies we sent of 400+ different original letters). The company stresses that it had no malicious intent in creating the doll, and that the name of the duck doll includes the word "quack" because ducks quack, a point that had eluded us completely. Mattel still does not seem to understand that the doll exploits a pernicious stereotype of nurse practitioners, and that it has infuriated thousands of nurses, many of whom control or influence the purchasing decisions of countless family members, friends, patients, and students. Please: (1) call Mattel as often as you wish, using this contact information, and explain that you are really are upset about the doll, and that you will urge everyone you know to boycott all Mattel products until the company pulls or agrees to buy back all remaining dolls and issues a genuine apology; (2) if you have written an original letter, send a copy directly to Ms. Bongiovanni; (3) if you have not written an original letter, send one to Ms. Bongiovanni, even if it is only one sentence; (4) in all communications, urge Mattel to consult the Center and other nursing organizations in creating the forthcoming Nurse Barbie. Thank you very much! more...

 

The Gash Cam

December 19, 2005 -- Tonight, CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman" included a short segment in which a hand surgeon removed several stitches from Dave's hand, which he had injured in a household mishap. Standing by were two giggling, attractive "nurses" in short white dresses and white caps. Letterman gave credit to nurses following his heart bypass a few years ago. But this segment was another tired suggestion that nurses are brainless bimbos, which is especially reprehensible at a time of critical shortage. more...

 

Not sure if you'd rather hit nurses or have sex with them? Do both!

December 1, 2005 -- Recent reports on computer gaming web sites say that two popular wrestling games now being released in new versions--Rumble Roses XX (Xbox, Playstation 2) and WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 (Playstation 2)--feature an icky mix of violent and sexy "nurse" images. Competing gamers in barely dressed female "nurse" modes can slap, kick and grapple, toss each other on a bouncy bed, rip each other's clothes off and spank each other, and, you know, use the body parts of their victims to create a malevolent cyborg wrestler that will help them rule the world. Yeah, baby. These "nurse" characters are not helpless handmaidens, to say the least. But we do have a problem with the games' mixing of two other key nursing stereotypes, namely the naughty nurse and the battleaxe, in a toxic stew of crypto-sexual assault. We urge Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (Playstation 2) and game developers Konami and Yuke's to move away from this kind of mindless stereotyping, which degrades a profession in the midst of a global shortage. Click here to read more and join our letter writing campaign!

 

Tip No. 76: For even quicker attention, drive your Hummer straight into the ER. Then offer the triage nurse a chocolate if he'll let you see the physician before all those little pedestrians!

November 2005 -- This month's Good Housekeeping includes 75 "surprising" health tips from "doctors" nationwide. Though nurses excel at such practical advice, not one tip comes from a nurse. That's not "surprising," but we were a bit puzzled by the contempt for nurses we saw in several tips. Michael Roizen, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, advises readers to "get better [hospital] care" by "supplying the staff with treats." "Dr. X," whose ED tips are presumably considered so hot that his or her identity must be shielded, tells patients to lie to the triage nurse about when symptoms began in order to be seen faster, but to "tell the doctor exactly when symptoms began." In addition to being offensive, uninformed, and likely to backfire, this advice shows real indifference to public health. The tips were "reported" by Janet Bailey, Janice Graham and Leslie Pepper. Good Housekeeping has a reported circulation of five million and a readership of 22 million. more...

 

Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day

July 25, 2005 -- In response to a Center for Nursing Advocacy campaign begun in late 2004, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has changed the name of its annual "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day" campaign to "Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day." Nurses had argued that, since over 100,000 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses provide high quality primary care to the very minority populations the campaign targets, a name change to reflect that would enhance the campaign's effect on those populations, and at the same time address the image problem that is a key factor in the nursing shortage. The Center salutes HHS--especially Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Garth Graham, MD, MPH, and the Office of Minority Health--for its responsiveness, flexibility, and concern for public health. Take a Loved One for a Check Up Day is September 20, 2005. more...

 

TAGGED: Gillette pulls lusty-nurse fever ad

October 3, 2005 -- Today, in response to a Center campaign, the Gillette Company said that it will pull a "naughty nurse" television ad for TAG Body Spray, though it may take a week for the ad to leave the air. More than 600 Center supporters wrote to Gillette executives to protest the ad (at right), which featured a provocatively dressed "nurse" who developed "highly contagious lusty-nurse fever" and climbed into bed with a male patient wearing the product. We are pleased that the ad will be removed, and we thank Gillette for responding to nurses' concerns. However, we understand that the company has made no plans to repair the damage done by the ad perpetuating this damaging stereotype. So we ask supporters to thank Gillette, but also to urge the Fortune 500 company to take concrete steps to make amends to the nursing profession. more...

 

Telling doctors what they ought to try

July 18, 2005 -- As a result of a Center campaign started July 8, over 500 nurses, physicians and others from Canada, the United States and beyond have written to protest the "Nurses' Song" sung by some University of Alberta medical students at their recent "MedShow," an irreverent annual event. Lyrics called nurses "whores" and "bitches" whose "incompetence" and persistence in "telling doctors what they ought to try" threatened to "make our patients die." On July 14, the Edmonton Journal ran a fairly detailed piece on the Center's campaign. In response to the campaign, university officials again expressed regret about the show, and stated that the students responsible do not really hold the views stated in the lyrics. In addition, the University's Medical Students Association has issued a commendable apology to nurses. The University and many students have argued that given the self-mocking context and the extreme nature of the stereotypes involved, the students felt the song would be understood as a "parody," not an endorsement, of the views expressed. But because the context was ambiguous and the lyrics are a mix of toxic views that many physicians and members of the public actually do hold, the Center finds it more plausible that the song was intended as a comic "roast," as other medical students have argued. Even if intended as a parody, the song's reckless presentation of views that are driving the global nursing shortage in a "comic" context suggests a dangerous lack of understanding of nursing. The Center continues to urge the university to discipline the individual students responsible, and to establish a permanent program to ensure that future medical students understand the vital role nurses play and how physicians can avoid contributing to the nursing crisis and poor patient care. See our full analysis here and please join our letter-writing campaign.

 

Center persuades Wal-Mart to change "brain surgeon" ad

April 2, 2005 -- Wal-Mart recently agreed to change a print advertisement for its scrubs, placed in some March 2005 nursing journals, that suggested that nurses are intellectually inferior to surgeons. The ad featured a nurse dressed in scrubs standing behind a patient's leg cast. Writing on the cast read: "It doesn't take a brain surgeon to recognize a good deal on scrubs." Even if you aren't a brain surgeon, we're sure you can see that this ad implies that nurses, despite their limits, can at least recognize a bargain when they see one. more...

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Tickle: Is the best thing about nursing "meeting hot doctors?" Ha ha! Just joking!

Tickle logoFebruary 8, 2005 -- Tickle, the "leading interpersonal media company" now owned by Monster, is offering a 15-question online test called "Who's Your Inner Nurse?" The test, a sly vehicle to direct nurses and others into the site's employment services, invites us to choose from a series of stereotypes that, despite being lighthearted, reflect ignorance of the real nature and value of nursing. Some of the potential answers are presumably "jokes," like "meeting hot doctors" as an option for "the best thing about nursing." Others reinforce stereotypes through positive choices, such as the one inviting respondents to report that patients find them gentle, cheerful, dependable, or selfless (as opposed to skilled, innovative, or hard-working). And some questions simply invite people to think of nursing as trivial, such as the one that gives test takers the chance to specify that they wouldn't "make [their] rounds without" their "[s]tickers and lollipops." None of the questions reflects awareness that nurses are highly skilled professionals with years of college-level training who save and materially improve lives daily. After discussions with the Center, Tickle grudgingly agreed to remove the "Inner Nurse" test, but declined to substitute the revised test the Center helpfully provided. On the upside, the company did not issue a statement assuring us that it never meant to offend nurses, because they're so cute, kind and selfless. more...

 

HHS agrees to explore new name for "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day"

Health Gap logoFebruary 3, 2005 -- Today the Center received a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services' Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Garth Graham, MD, MPH, promising to "work diligently in exploring" a new name for the annual "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day" campaign. The letter, which followed a conference call between Dr. Graham and the Center, came in response to nurses' concerns that the current name failed to reflect the vital primary care contributions of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. In his letter, Dr. Graham paid tribute to those contributions, and noted that he had directed the relevant government working groups to seek a new name that "we can all be proud of for the betterment of the populations we serve." Of course, this is not a guarantee that the name will change to something we favor, but given the challenges involved in influencing federal government conduct, we view this letter as a constructive response and a very positive development. We thank Dr. Graham and HHS for their flexibility and commitment to public health. more...

 

Money, yes. Smart...

Paul Lorenc photoFebruary 2005 -- This month's issue of Smart Money ("The Wall Street Journal Magazine of Personal Business") includes an item by Erika Rasmusson Janes called "10 Things Your Plastic Surgeon Won't Tell You," which includes practical tips for getting aesthetic plastic surgery. Item number 4, which addresses anesthesia and appears to rely principally on "Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon" Z. Paul Lorenc (pictured here), denigrates the work of nurse-anesthetists. It effectively tells readers they should use anesthesiologists, without explicitly saying so. However, a large body of peer-reviewed research shows that the nation's masters-prepared certified nurse anesthetists provide care that is equal to or better than that of anesthesiologists. The magazine's publication of scientifically unfounded assertions without any response from a nurse anesthetist is irresponsible. Over 50 people sent letters to Smart Money on this campaign. more...

 

The monkey business

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

 

JibJab uses "naughty nurse" images to mock Clinton--and idea of national health care plan! Dude!

JibJab health care photoJanuary 29, 2004 -- Internet video kings JibJab are currently marketing an extensive array of merchandise under the label "National Healthcare" featuring an image of President Clinton as a hospital patient with his arms around two provocatively dressed "naughty nurses" as he grabs their breasts. The cutting-edge message of the products is that Clinton likes to have sex with women who are not his wife. But this is not just a questionable reference to the former president's recent quadruple bypass surgery, his late mother's profession, or even the idea of a national health care system. It also perpetuates the "naughty nurse" stereotype that has long held nursing back, at a time of critical shortage, with the same young audience the profession needs to resolve the crisis that is threatening lives worldwide. Click here to read more and send our instant letter!

 

Bras 'n Stereotypes 'n Things

Bras n' Things naughty nurse lingerieJanuary 5, 2005 -- Australian nurses have succeeded in ending advertising for a "naughty nurse" outfit sold by major retailer Bras 'n Things. However, the product remains for sale in the lingerie chain's 150+ stores in Australia and New Zealand, even though the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has reportedly called for a boycott of the stores unless the outfit is "dropped." The unsigned January 4 piece "Poster makes nurses ill" in the Herald Sun tells the basic story prior to the pulling of the ads, and gets the nurses' point across, though it also includes some condescending description of them. The Center salutes Australian nurses, especially the Australian Nursing Federation, for this campaign. We urge Bras 'n Things to retire the naughty nurse item. About 40 people sent letters to Bras 'n Things. As far as we know, they have pulled their advertisements of the item, but are still selling the lingerie. more...

 

Dr. Phil expresses appreciation for nurses and their image problems on the air, still struggles with apology and stereotypes

Dr. Phil photoDecember 20, 2004 -- Today Dr. Phil made an on-air statement about his Nov. 18 comment that he has seen many "cute little nurses" who are out to "seduce and marry" physicians "because that's their ticket out of having to work as a nurse." We salute Dr. Phil for expressing appreciation for nurses, including praise for their training, hard work, and judgment, and especially for his recognition of the importance of the nursing image problem. We note that he did not acknowledge the full import of his earlier comments or the reaction from thousands of nurses, nor make the apology those nurses had requested. We are also concerned that a few of his comments today--notably his remark that monitoring machines can't replace the "loving, nurturing care" of nurses--could reinforce maternal and angel stereotypes. Even so, we are encouraged by his effort, which is unusual for a popular Hollywood figure, and we look forward to the show he has promised to devote to an examination of the nursing media image problem in the near future. more...

 

The aesthetic and the anaesthetic

November 2004 -- This month's issue of Vogue includes an excerpt from the Center's letter in response to the inaccurate assertion, attributed to a Hollywood plastic surgeon in the June issue, that the use of nurse anesthetists is "unsafe." While Vogue could go farther to make amends for publishing this comment without any support or balancing quote, the Center commends the magazine for publishing part of our description of the vital contributions of nurse anesthetists. more...

 

The Hottie with the Lamp

Nurse Naughty photoNovember 19, 2004 -- You might think that the "naughty nurse" thing might finally be playing itself out in our collective erotic unconscious. But judging from the variety of "naughty nurse" apparel still being sold by lingerie retailers, that is not the case. One notable example is "Three Wishes Lingerie," whose online selection includes outfits labeled "Naughty Nurse," "Nurse Naughty," "Night Shift Nurse," and our favorite, "Head Nurse." Linking such apparel so closely to the profession--to even the fantasy idea that working nurses are sexually available to physicians and patients--reinforces long-standing stereotypes. Those stereotypes continue to discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual violence in the workplace and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect, all of which works against the profession in a time of crisis. Over 50 people sent letters to "3 Wishes." Their response was to create a far more noxious "nurse" lingerie item. more...

 

Shock jocks, billboards, porn stars, and nurses

Mancow photoOctober 26, 2004 -- Popular syndicated radio shock jock Mancow Muller is currently appearing on Chicago area billboards in satirical photos mimicking rock album covers, including that of blink-182's "Enema of the State," in which porn star Janine appears as a somewhat threatening "naughty nurse." Following multiple discussions with the Center, the Chicago radio station at which Mancow is based, Q101, agreed to phase out the Mancow/Janine billboards over the next two-three weeks and run others from the existing series for the remaining six months of its ad campaign. more...

 

Massage Parlor Pulls Down Naughty Nurse Billboards

October 10, 2004 -- In response to a single phone call from the Center, a Dallas massage parlor that had displayed two seductive nurse billboards on a popular freeway agreed to remove them. We applaud the Swedish Institute for Physical Health for its rapid response in removing the damaging nursing images (too fast for us to even snap a photo!) and for working with us to help improve nursing's image. more...

 

Jeopardy update--Senior Producer responds

September 29, 2004 -- In response to the Center's campaign asking Jeopardy! to apologize to the nursing profession for implying that Nurse Practitioners do nothing more than tend to minor ailments, the show's Senior Producer/Head Writer responded promptly in a constructive letter to Truth executive director Sandy Summers. Jeopardy! is an unusually influential show which has been syndicated for 20 years and is seen by an estimated 12 million viewers daily. We applaud the show for acknowledging our concerns and initiating a plan to remedy the damage done. more...

 

Christina Aguilara Skechers photoSkechers pulls Christina Aguilera "nurse" ad after receiving more than 3,000 letters from nursing supporters

August 17, 2004 -- In response to widespread protests sparked by the Center's campaign over the last two weeks, Skechers will discontinue the Christina Aguilera "naughty nurse" ad that had begun to run in markets worldwide, according to a statement released by Jennifer Clay, a public relations official at Skechers' Los Angeles headquarters. In a letter sent to the Center, Skechers stated that it has "discontinued [its] international media buys." more...

 

Something in the bottled water? Another prominent Hollywood plastic surgeon tells major media that nurse anesthetists are unsafe

July 13, 2004 -- Hot on the heels of the June 2004 Vogue's quotation of a Santa Monica plastic surgeon as saying that the use of nurse anesthetists is unsafe, Dr. Robert Kotler of Beverly Hills bluntly stated on the July 13 "Deborah Norville Tonight" show (MSNBC) that plastic surgery consumers should not use nurse anesthetists. In fact, research has shown that care of nurse anesthetists is at least as good as that of anesthesiologists. MSNBC's broadcast of Dr. Kotler's scientifically unfounded assertions without any response from a nurse anesthetist is irresponsible. more...

 

Pennzoil pulls its nurse ad in response to outpouring of letters from nurses

Pennzoil nurse adJuly 15, 2004 -- In response to many nurses seeking an end to Pennzoil's ads featuring a nurse, Pennzoil has announced that it will pull all remaining advertisements possible that were slated to appear in a number of US magazines over the coming months. The ad, featured at right, feeds into regressive angelic and arguably "naughty nurse" stereotypes that are harmful to the profession. more...

 

Jessica Rabbit letters rain down on Disney--pin sale ends--ask them to make amends

May 27, 2004 -- At least 300 nurses wrote to protest Disney's sultry Jessica Rabbit nurse pins, which were created to honor nurses during nurses' week 2004 and 2003. Within 48 hours of starting our campaign, Disney agreed to "remove the pin from sale." The 2004 pin had been available for purchase in Disney World shops and beyond since nurses' week in early May 2004. The Center applauds this prompt action, and thanks all of the campaign participants whose letters made it happen. We are also urging Disney to make amends, and we need your help. more...

 

Physicians Formula nurse adNurses flood Physicians Formula with letters protesting "nurse" ad; company immediately agrees to stop running it

April 26, 2004 -- At least 50 nurses wrote to protest Physicians Formula's cosmetics ad featuring a "naughty nurse" image within the first 24 hours of the Center's campaign against the ad (and more have written since). In response, the company promised to stop running the ad, which had appeared in recent issues of major magazines including the May issue of "Shape." The Center applauds this prompt action, and thanks all the campaign participants whose letters made it happen. We are also urging the company to make amends, and we need your help. more...

 

NYU physician suggests the Charles Cullen killings were the result of widespread materialism and lack of compassion in nurse training and hiring. No, really.

April 30, 2004 -- In an op-ed piece published today in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Nursing compassion to health," NYU forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner argues that nurse Charles Cullen's patient killings were the result of the modern emphasis on "material" benefits in the training and hiring of hospital workers. To prevent such events in the future, health care facilities should "focus on hiring those with the most compassionate personalities." Leaving aside the spectacle of a physician who heads The Forensic Panel ("America's foremost forensic consulting institution") lecturing nurses about greed and compassion, Dr. Welner's piece shows little understanding of the life-saving professional skills required of modern nurses, or the effects of nurse short-staffing, inadequate resources, and systemic problems in end-of-life care on adverse results in clinical settings. more...

 

Will & Grace: the nurse as twit, loser and porn actress

April 22, 2004 -- Tonight's episode of NBC's "Will & Grace," entitled "Speechless" and written by Sally Bradford, focuses on the flighty Jack character's graduation from "nursing school." The episode's unholy mix of stereotypes adds up to a vision of nursing education as a fly-by-night joke leading to a second-rate job for white women and gay men who can't hack it in the entertainment industry. more...

 

Tell "Scrubs" that nursing is not all about shutting up and following physician "orders" as they portrayed it to be

November 20, 2003 -- Tonight's episode of NBC's "Scrubs," which purports to teach nurse Carla Espinosa that nursing is all about doing what physicians tell you, is one of the most virulently anti-nurse prime time television episodes the Center has ever seen. more...

 

Tell "Judging Amy" that physicians don't hire, fire or recommend nurses

November 11, 2003 -- Tonight's episode of the CBS drama "Judging Amy" contained inaccurate and damaging suggestions that nurses are subordinate to physicians. more...

 

See the Fabric and Workshop Museum's nursing uniform exhibit

October 2003 -- A new exhibition at Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop and Museum, "RN: The Past, Present and Future of the Nurses' Uniform," offers a valuable historic overview, a glimpse of an ambitious project to design an "ideal" nurses' uniform, and intriguing projections of what nurses' uniforms might look like in the future. more...

 

Help Pink stop "missundaztanding" nurses

October 26, 2003 -- "Missundaztood" dresses Pink's young misfit thing in safe rock and hip-hop styles, and the self-declared un-Britney emerges with a fairly engaging album for bubblegum pop graduates. Unfortunately, the record includes a prominent and troubling reference to nurses. more...

 

Tell "As the World Turns" to apologize for depiction of nurse as a sex object

October 24, 2003 -- Some found the private nurse character Glenda appearing on the October 21-23 episodes of CBS's 47-year-old "As the World Turns" to be a stereotypical "naughty nurse" who sported sexually aggressive attire and attitude--to say nothing of the fact that, according to the show's web site, Glenda was soon fired for showing up at work drunk. more...

 

Object to denigration of Advance Practice Nurses by Woman's Day

October 7, 2003 -- The issue of Woman's Day dated today includes a fairly good article by Richard Laliberte about the nursing shortage. But it undercuts the article to some extent with a baseless derogatory comment about nurse practitioners in a nearby sidebar by Winnie Yu. more...

 

Thank Reader's Digest for their two positive articles on nursing

October 2003 -- This month's issue of Reader's Digest , following up on the September story on the nursing shortage, features an anonymous ICU nurse's powerful account of one short-staffed shift in which the nurse does complex, life-saving work despite facing an array of improper demands and abuse caused by the short-staffing itself. more...

 

Stop change in Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rules

Stop change in Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rules
Sept 10, 2003 -- The US Senate today voted to block the White House sponsored overtime pay cut measure which could mean an end to overtime pay for nurses. more...

 

Nurses call on Pacific Cigar Company to change name and nursing uniforms worn by staff at "The Nurse", an upscale cigar shop in Bangkok, Thailand

Nurse Naughty photoJuly 23, 2003 -- The Nurses' Association of Thailand is asking for your help in a campaign to persuade Pacific Cigar to stop using "nurses" to sell their cigars and wine. Pacific Cigar (Thailand) is a subsidiary of Pacific Cigar Co., which reportedly controls 75 per cent of the Cuban cigar market in the Asia Pacific region. In December 2002, Pacific Cigar relocated one of their cigar and wine stores from Hong Kong to Thailand. This store was and is called "The Nurse," and its sales staff apparently dress in nursing uniforms. It is not clear to the Center why the shop has this nursing theme. more...

 

Complete survey and help design new nursing uniform

July 4, 2003 -- The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is asking nurses to complete a 5-minute survey it is co-sponsoring to help fashion designers create a new uniform for today's nurses. more...

 

Thank National Geographic producers and encourage them to make more television portraying nurses.

July 2, 2003 -- Tonight's one hour episode of the National Geographic channel's "Doctors Without Borders: Life in the Field," a cable television series about the well-known international health care non-governmental organization (NGO), focused primarily on the work of nurses in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Uzbekistan. more...

 

Register your objection to Christie Blatchford's offensive article on nurses

June 26, 2003 -- Christie Blatchford's column "Militant angels of mercy" in the June 7 issue of Canada's National Post, mounts a bizarre attack on the modern nursing profession, as she yearns for the good old days when nurses were "kind" and "loved, if not always respected." more...

 

E-mail "The View" to protest their offensive portrayal of nurses

June 16, 2003 -- Tonight's prime time episode of ABC's "The View," which consisted of a "His and Her Body Test" designed to impart basic health information, included an attack on nursing, with co-host Meredith Vieira appearing disguised as an "ugly nurse"--as Vieira herself put it in previews--for comic interactions with passersby in a New York mall, including one segment in which Vieira cared for a woman's "shin splints" by drawing a happy face on her leg. more...

 

Success! See the story about this past campaign
Email or telephone Clairol to protest shampoo commercials

A Clairol shampoo commercial has angered nurses with its depiction of a female nurse who leaves her patient unmonitored to go wash her hair in his bathroom, proceeding to dance around his room, waving her hair in ecstasy. more...

 

Thank CNN Headline News for featuring a nurse as a health expert

May 27, 2003 -- Pat Carroll, RN, MS, CEN, appeared in two different health spots on CNN Headline News on May 21, 2003 and over the May 24-26 holiday weekend, giving practical advice on antibiotic resistance and the safe use of antihistamines. more...

 

E-mail President Bush to protest his omission of nurses as "first responders" and ask him and his staff to join you at work to learn more about nursing

April 30, 2003 -- President Bush's March 19 speech at the start of the war in Iraq included physicians but omitted nurses from a list of "first responders" to terrorism. more...

 

Email Boston television reporter and ask her to follow nurses for three days to make amends for disrespecting nurses

March 4, 2003 – A gossip column in the February 12 Boston Herald entitled "Smock-clad Sara Edwards nurses her role on 'ER'" included comments by a local television reporter that showed disrespect for nurses. more...

 

Thank journalist from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for learning about and profiling nurses in front page articles

February 25, 2003 – After spending three days following nurses, journalist Joel Dresang wrote two well-done articles on nursing that appeared on consecutive days on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. more...

 

Encourage makers of "Scrubs" to keep Rick Schroeder on as a permanent character and continue his positive depiction of a nurse

February 21, 2003 -- The February 20 "Scrubs" episode again featured Rick Schroeder's portrayal of Paul Flowers, the confident, witty and sensitive nurse character currently dating physician Elliot Reed (Sarah Chalke). more...

 

Baltimore Sun article devalues the role of Nurse Practitioners

January 4, 2003 -- A Baltimore Sun article about a Nurse Practitioner-run clinic is entitled "A doctor's office rolls out" and describes the primary care patient of the NP as a person who "could use a physician's touch." Furthermore, author Reginald Fields implies that nurses lack expertise because they consult physicians. more...

 

Redbook magazine: "Don't let yourself be brushed off onto a Nurse Practitioner"

November 2002 -- In a Redbook magazine article entitled "Advice Docs Give Their Own Families," a physician author warns his family members: "Don't let yourself be brushed off onto a Nurse Practitioner." See our Director's letter to Redbook's Editor, Nursing Spectrum's reaction to Redbook's article, and ANA president Barbara Blakeney's response to the article.

 

The Center for Nursing Advocacy sends September 2002 letter to "ER" producers

September 10, 2002 -- The Center for Nursing Advocacy sends a letter discussing the treatment of nursing in the latter half of the 2001-2002 season to the makers of "ER." Comments and suggestions on how to make the television show more nurse-friendly are included in the letter.

 

See our "ER" action page. Read our "ER" review.

 

HHS devalues role of Nurse Practitioners with their "Take a Loved One to the Doctor" campaign

May 11, 2002 -- The US Department of Health and Human Services ignores the contributions of Nurse Practitioners in its "Take a Loved One to the Doctor" Campaign, which aims to close the gap in health disparities among ethnic groups. more...

 

Nursing Vision helps persuade American Nurses Association to provide Internet access to the Code of Ethics for Nurses

June 10, 2002 -- Four months after receiving a letter from the Nursing Vision and professors from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, the American Nurses Association placed the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements on the Internet. This Code explains what nurses do, and it is useful to nurses and laypersons alike. Our contact at the ANA acknowledged that the Nursing Vision's letter had helped persuade the ANA to make the critical document accessible to all.

 

Nursing Vision makes seven suggestions to "ER" in December 2001 letter

December 6, 2001 -- The Nursing Vision sends a letter following up on its November 2001 conference call with one of the producers and the medical advisor of "ER." The Center made seven specific suggestions; on how "ER" can improve its portrayal of nursing.

 

Nursing Vision and the ENA discuss portrayal of nursing with makers of "ER"

November 21, 2001 -- Members of the Nursing Vision, three presidents from the Emergency Nurses Association and professors from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing have a one-hour conference call with an "ER" producer and the show's medical advisor. The discussion centered on how "ER" could improve its portrayal of nursing, especially in view of the extent to which negative media portrayals of nurses affect the nursing shortage. The call was arranged in response to a letter we sent on October 10, 2001 (Emergency Nurses Day) to Executive Producer John Wells.

 

Nursing Vision requests conference call with "ER"

October 10, 2001 -- Emergency Nurses Day -- In concern over how the negative portrayal of nurses is affecting the nursing shortage, The Nursing Vision sends a letter to "ER"'s Executive Producer John Wells asking that we set up a conference call to discuss some of our concerns about how the nursing profession is portrayed on "ER."

 

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