News on Nursing in the Media
February 13, 2007 -- Tonight's episode of Fox's "House" included something rare: the brief appearance of a nurse character (Wendy) who, though hardly interesting, was a bit more than just a mute servant. Of course, Wendy only enters the plot because she is the current girlfriend of House's underling physician Foreman, not because she has anything to contribute to important health care. That care, as always, is provided entirely by the physician characters. Foreman breaks up with Wendy by telling her he'll make "a few calls" and get her into an elite hospital-based nurse practitioner program in a distant city. This will likely suggest to most viewers that the most prestigious NP preparation is non-degree training in which entry can be had at the whim of physicians, rather than graduate degree programs at major universities with real admissions requirements. The rest of the episode, Matthew V. Lewis's "Insensitive," includes suggestions that nurses are sniping handmaidens or anonymous sexual diversions. And the episode invites its 26 million U.S. viewers to chuckle at that irreverent genius House's suggestion that if a physician friend would just stop annoying him, they could be "ranking nurses in order of do-ability." more...including 8 new film clips. And please join our letter-writing campaign!
May 13, 2007 - Today The New York Times ran a long piece by reporter Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., about the ongoing recovery of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine from a serious auto crash last month: "In Corzine's Recovery, Doctors Cite Grit and Luck." The piece is physician-centric. It includes many quotes from Cooper University Hospital physicians, but not one from a nurse. And it gives credit for things nurses do to physicians, to others, or to no one, through the "this happened"-type constructions the news media often uses to describe nursing work. Readers could be forgiven for thinking that physicians provide virtually all bedside care to critical patients who spend weeks in the hospital, monitoring and keeping them alive 24/7. Gov. Corzine spent 18 days in the Hospital, 11 in the ICU. Yet the only specific credit any nurse gets is for lip-reading his requests for medication and water while he was on the ventilator. We regret having to say "nurses did that!" over and over when the media presents the key care of a VIP as being provided entirely by physicians, as it usually does. But it is necessary if we want a world in which credit for health care outcomes, and the resources that go with that credit, are allocated based on professional merit and the facts. more...
January 21, 2007 -- Today The Los Angeles Times reprinted a good piece by The Chicago Tribune's E.A. Torriero about efforts to stop smoking on U.S. hospital property--especially smoking by nurses, the preventative health professionals who reportedly smoke at a rate more than five times higher than physicians. The piece is "No smoking: That means you too, Nurse: More hospitals are going smoke-free, but to many workers and patients, it's one less way to ease the tension." The piece might have explored the long-term effects of nurse smoking on the profession and patients, and it might have asked why it is that nurses smoke in such higher numbers than physicians. But on the whole it's a balanced, helpful look at a significant problem. more...
January 22, 2007 - Today The Scotsman ran Angus Howarth's "Robot nurses could be on the wards in three years, say scientists." The piece reports on a project by European Union-funded scientists, working at universities in the U.K. and Ireland, to develop machines to "perform basic tasks" at hospitals. These include cleaning up spills, guiding visitors around, and perhaps distributing medicines and taking temperatures. The piece isn't so different from many other recent press items that blithely suggest such robots are "nurses," though this one does pack an impressive array of anti-nurse imagery into a small space (e.g., "nursebots," "'mechanised 'angels'"). Unsurprisingly, the piece consults no real nurse; in fact, it's not clear from the piece if even the "engineers and software experts" working on the "IWARD" project have done that. more...
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Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
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