News on Nursing in the Media
June 26, 2008 -- Tonight marked the premiere episode of the six-part ABC News documentary "Hopkins," about the renowned Baltimore hospital. The series is the work of Terence Wrong, who did the comparable 2000 series "Hopkins 24/7." Both series are exercises in physician glorification, constantly reinforcing the false impression that only physicians matter in hospitals. Mr. Wrong's new series is more focused on the residents, and it is plainly patterned after ABC's popular drama "Grey's Anatomy," which it follows in the ABC Thursday schedule. In fact, as a documentary, "Hopkins" is "Grey's Anatomy"--more realistic dialogue, but the same obsession with physicians' work and personal lives, and as a result, the same narrow and distorted view of hospital care. No nurses were clearly identified in the premiere, though we think that one woman who briefly gave basic information to the wife of a vasectomy reversal patient was probably a nurse. The ABC "Hopkins" website's 22 "Doctor Profiles" actually include two pediatric transport nurses, along with 20 physicians and medical students. The video clip for one nurse is about her night out drinking wine with other nurses. But in the 1 ½ minute video clip for the other profiled nurse, several nurses actually get the chance to show some expertise in trying to resuscitate a patient--genuinely impressive. If these two clips air, they will comprise about 1/90 of the series. But wait, that's not all--previews for the second episode suggest that one resident will also explain why "dating nurses is very tricky"! more...
April 13, 2008 -- Tonight, ABC's "Desperate Housewives" gave us a hospital nurse as mousy, pathetic physician lackey who can be bribed into revealing sensitive patient information with free lunch at a French bistro, and who has time to leave the hospital mid-shift to eat that lunch. Yeah, we know--it's just Wisteria Lane. We're sure that the episode's 16 million U.S. viewers can all separate the serious (even pretentious) voiceover-related themes and ostensibly realistic drama from this contemptuous portrayal of a nurse. Viewers just know real nurses aren't like that, even though they've been fed similar disinformation since birth. The episode, "Sunday," was written by Alexandra Cunningham and Lori Kirkland Baker. more...see a film clip and write a letter!
July 24-25, 2008 -- We are media partners with Active Communications International, which is having an upcoming conference on Nursing Recruitment and Retention on July 24-25, in Chicago. It will be a two-day strategic event focusing on strategies for creating a superior work environment to successfully recruit and retain your nursing staff. For more details call Tom Johnson at 312-780-0700 ext. 215 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.acius.net.
Please consider the wide variety of things we can do to help resolve the nursing shortage, and meet the challenges of 21st Century health care, by increasing public understanding of nursing. Here are just a few:
Encourage others to get involved by:
Read From Silence to Voice, which is nursing's manual on how to speak out about the life-saving work that nurses do. It is important for the health of our profession that you tell everyone you know about the value of your work.
Doing a presentation on nursing's image? Get some film clips here.
Monitor the media and alert us to noteworthy portrayals of nursing. Set your DVR, TiVo or DVD recorder to record every time you watch television. If you see a nursing portrayal you'd like us to consider covering, let us know.
Start a health radio show, like HealthStyles with Diana Mason & Barbara Glickstein. Do health minutes and work to become a local health correspondent for television and radio news programs, like television commentator and author Pat Carroll.
Start a Nurse Shadowing Program for medical students and interns at your hospital or school. We must educate physicians as to the nature of nursing work so they can play a more positive role in creating nursing-related media, and so we can develop more collaborative relationships, which lead to better patient outcomes. See a sketch of a nurse shadowing program at Dartmouth.
Letter-writing campaigns--please write a letter for each of our campaigns.
Last but not least, please become a member of the Center. We need your financial support to make our work happen. Thank you!
The Center promotes better understanding of nursing, so nurses can do their work. But just like nurses, we need financial support to do our work. The long-term sustainability of the Center depends on it. If you appreciate our work, would you be able to chip in to help us continue? Our current situation requires that key staff donate many hundreds of hours to the Center every year, at great cost to themselves and their families. Please do your part to help us out. Thank you!
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.
So we urge you to make a donation to help us continue and expand our work. Just click here to learn about the great gifts you can receive for joining or renewing your Center membership, including our cool t-shirts and the Archie McPhee nurse action figure! It's quick and easy! And because the Center is a 501(c)(3) charity, your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.
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
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
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