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House of Games

April 4, 2007 -- Today Salon posted a well-written essay by Sallie Tisdale, a nurse and a noted writer, called "The Beautiful Hospital." The piece was an impressionistic take on the failure of prime time Hollywood television shows, especially Fox's "House," to convey what really goes on in hospitals. Tisdale makes some excellent points in a powerful way. She describes "House"'s physician-glorification, and its tendency to suggest that physicians do everything by themselves, when in fact physicians are often peripheral to the work that nurses and others do in caring for hospital patients. Unfortunately, Tisdale's discursive piece gives no real sense of why such shows might be this way, whether it affects public health, and if it does, what might be done about it. Nor is the piece's credibility enhanced by some unfortunate distortions and errors in its discussion of the shows. Even so, we thank Tisdale and Salon for bringing some helpful points to the attention of their readers. more...

 

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"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. read more, see the film clips and join our letter-writing campiagn!

 

Good Sugar

November 6, 2006 -- Today the San Bernadino County Sun ran a good article about nurse practitioner Ruth Tanyi, who has produced and directed a new television series about diabetes. Juliane Ngan's "Nurse take diabetes fight to TV" reports that Tanyi's "Bad Sugar" series aims to educate. With Tanyi as host, speaking with diabetes experts and patients, the show takes a holistic look at the epidemic. It explains how we can avoid or at least control the disease by focusing on lifestyle, including diet, rest, and exercise. The Center gave Tanyi a 2006 Golden Lamp Award for "Bad Sugar," which was to air on KHIZ-TV over 11 weeks from late 2006 through early 2007. more...

 

"Warning: Nurses at work"

November 14, 2006 - Today The Daily Mail (UK) ran a very long piece about apparent problems in the National Health Service's expanding network of "high-tech health centres," which are reportedly "run by nurse practitioners" (NPs). Kathleen Kent's article raises troubling issues about the quality of care at one center in London. But the piece is very unbalanced, relying on anecdotes from two former clinic physicians for the great majority of its account, and consulting none of the nurses whose care is actually at issue. The piece includes a limited response from a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) spokesperson, who admits that the "national picture" for the scope of NP practice is "a bit of a mess," and that only about half of those who use the title "nurse practitioner" in the U.K. have actually met the RCN's training standards for that title. The NHS and the private company running the center in question offer short, limited statements that all is well. The piece fails to mention any research about the quality of NP care, so it does not inform readers that the care of qualified NPs has been found to be at least as good as that of physicians. The piece alerts readers to what may be some real problems in care--no one should practice beyond his or her competence, and the RCN's statements are troubling--but it also confirms the stereotype of NPs as incompetent, cut-rate physician substitutes. more...

 

The Rookie

November 5, 2006 -- Today The Boston Globe ran a very good piece about George Geary, who spent 18 years as the "successful CEO" of Milton Hospital before resigning--and then attending nursing school. Rich Fahey's article "Man of patients" explores Geary's unusual journey, which at the time of the article finds the former CEO working as a staff nurse on the night shift in the critical care unit of Caritas Carney Hospital. The piece naturally conveys a fair amount of wonder that anyone would pursue this career path. But for the most part it resists easy assumptions about the relative merits of the two jobs. It makes clear that even a hospital CEO who is not a nurse must return to school to become a nurse. And it gives readers some sense of how much the jobs of CEO and direct care nurse have in common, particularly the need for good critical thinking and interpersonal skills. We thank Fahey and the Boston Globe for this article. more...


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The Center's global media monitoring, analysis and advocacy is a huge challenge. It takes extensive research, writing, communication, and Internet efforts. We must pay for office equipment, supplies, transportation, Internet products, insurance, postage and telephone costs. Our office is donated by our staff. And our staff can undertake only a small part of the work that needs to be done to improve nursing's image.

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Thank you for all of your support over the past year. You are the reason we've had a real impact on public understanding of nursing worldwide. Together, we can strengthen nursing, and give patients the kind of health care they deserve in 2007 and beyond!

Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1100
fax 1-410-510-1790
ssummers@truthaboutnursing.org

 

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