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News on Nursing in the Media

 

Not a doctor, but...

April 29, 2009 -- ABC's Private Practice, whose season ends tomorrow, April 30, may be the only broadcast network show with a major nurse character to return next season. In the February 5 episode (Mike Ostrowski's "Acceptance," 13 million U.S. viewers), lone nurse character Dell Parker, who is studying to be a midwife, shows some tentative clinical aptitude and knowledge to go with his boyish eagerness. Under the close supervision of OB/GYN Addison Montgomery, Dell ably performs a vacuum-assisted delivery. Later he haltingly guides the baby's parents toward breastfeeding. Dell also performs an assured solo ultrasound of pregnant psychiatrist Violet Turner, calming her panic attack and eliciting her agreement to his own suggestion that, though he's "not a doctor," he will likely become a "pretty good midwife." The show still condescends to Dell, who is also the office manager/receptionist at the LA clinic where the show is set. In the March 26 episode (Craig Turk's "Do the Right Thing," 10.1 million U.S. viewers), Dell starts hooking up with young women by pretending to be a physician. This earns quietly amused derision from the elite physician characters. Of course, neither registered nurses nor physicians are qualified to do the job of the other group. But aspiring advanced practice nurses, who may be wrongly perceived as "wannabe" physicians, would be unlikely to reinforce that impression, which would suggest a lack of respect for nursing and themselves. Needless to say, Private Practice remains physician-centric, with its many physician characters often doing key care tasks that nurses generally do in real life. Still, on balance, the early 2009 episodes seem to represent a small step forward in the show's portrayal of nursing. more... see film clips of the show and please join our letter-writing campaign!

 

Are you a "doctor doctor" or a "doctor nurse"? The confusion is killing me!

April 2009 -- Recent news items illustrate important aspects of the nurse practitioner experience today. A February 22 report on National Public Radio's All Things Considered provided a basic look at the doctorate of nursing practice degree, and even allowed articulate nurses to explain its value. However, parts of Sally Herships's piece appeared to accept unsupported physician claims that calling nurses "doctor" would cause confusion or harm patients, despite the absurdity of the supposed linguistic crisis. Meanwhile, veteran NP and DNP student Diane Caruso published a March 14 op-ed in the Winston-Salem Journal (NC) urging the public to support health care financing reform, in order to enable the 45 million uninsured U.S. residents to obtain care. Caruso refuted some basic arguments of those who oppose reform, but the most powerful element in her column was the story of a disabled patient who has fallen in the cracks of the current financing system. We commend Caruso and the "doctor nurses" included in the NPR piece for their advocacy. more...

 

Talk amongst yourselves

April 29, 2009 -- The Truth About Nursing's discussion board has just gone live. Please feel free to discuss the news items we post, media you have seen on nursing, calls to action, or other topics. As Linda Richman from Coffee Talk would say, "Discuss." click here to start posting...

 

Can you help support The Truth About Nursing?

We know this is a difficult time for many of us, but starting a new organization from scratch takes a lot of resources. We need your help so we can pursue this mission together. We would be very grateful if you could make a donation--even if it is $5, $10 or $25. Any amount would be so helpful. Please click here to donate. Thank you!

 

Let Sandy Summers empower your group at its next event!

Media images of health care--like the ones on ABC's popular "Grey's Anatomy"--have an important effect on the nursing profession. Many nurses and nursing students feel frustrated when influential media products undervalue nurses. But how can we change what the media tells the public about nursing? Sandy Summers has led high-profile efforts to promote more accurate and robust depictions of nursing since 2001. She has shared her insights in dynamic presentations to groups across North America. She empowers nurses and teaches them how to shape their image into one that reflects the profession's true value. When nurses get the respect they deserve, they will attract more resources for nursing practice, education, and research, so we can resolve the nursing shortage. Sign Sandy up for your next conference, nurses' week celebration, or gala event! Click here for more details.

 

Saving Lives -- Educating society about the value of nursing

Our new book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk uses striking examples and an irreverent style to explore nursing stereotypes from TV shows to the news media. We hope every nurse will read it and consider the role the media plays in nursing today--and how we can improve the profession's public image. But the book also explains nursing in compelling terms to the public and decision-makers. We want as many non-nurses as possible to read it. Here are some ideas to spread the word about nursing and the media:

  1. You can educate the public by posting flyers online, on community bulletin boards, or in other places. You can educate nurses about their profession's media image by posting copies of flyers on bulletin boards and breakrooms at their workplace or school. Click here to help us distribute the flyers.
     
  2. Consider using the book in your classroom to teach students about professional development. The book stimulates discussion on a variety of relevant issues, including the development of different views of the profession, the role of gender, and relations with physicians. And it is vital that the next generation learn how to interact with the media and present a more professional image. Saving Lives is a very affordable textbook. For 10 or more copies, please contact Malgorzata Drozniak at Kaplan Publishing at Malgorzata.Drozniak@kaplan.com or 212-618-2469 for very good bulk discounts.
     
  3. Do you have friends or family members who would benefit from an engaging look at nursing today--one that draws on a range of popular culture items to make its points? Get them a copy of Saving Lives--they will learn the value of nursing by reading the book. You can get a copy from us and even request a certain inscription, or get a copy from your favorite bookseller or Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
     
  4. Help us send copies of Saving Lives to influential members of the media and key political decision-makers. If you donate $40 to The Truth About Nursing, we will send you a signed copy of Saving Lives and send an additional copy to a media creator or an influential decision-maker. You can let us choose the decision-maker from our list, or you can identify a decision-maker of your own. We'll send it for you. Click here to order!
     
  5. Please write customer reviews of Saving Lives at the Barnes & Noble or Amazon websites, or the website of your favorite bookseller. The more positive reactions Saving Lives receives, the better we will be able to spread its messages about the importance of nursing. Thank you!
     
  6. Consider giving this year's nursing graduates a copy of Saving Lives--we can even sign them for you. Contact us for details.
     
  7. Please distribute our press release to your local media. Ask them to interview us or write an article about the book.
     
  8. Please forward this news alert to anyone who might be interested and ask them to get involved with our mission to remake how society thinks about nursing.  

 

Help people think about nursing!

We have created two provocative new flyers, and if you like them, please help us distribute them as widely as possible. The "Not What They Say I Am" flyer sends a message that many media depictions of nurses are not accurate and that nurses object to them, in part because they undermine nurses' claims to adequate resources. This is a key message of the Truth About Nursing, and one explored in detail in our new book Saving Lives. The ironic "Hooray for Hollywood" flyer sends the message that, in our view, there has been little for nurses to cheer about in recent Hollywood depictions of their work. Popular TV shows like "House" and "Grey's Anatomy" have repeatedly offered inaccurate and damaging images of nursing, and we hope the flyer will cause those who see it to reconsider those images. The small print on the flyers directs people to our book and The Truth's website to learn more. see the full posters and links for downloading and or request flyers be sent to you...

 

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The Truth About Nursing is a Maryland non-profit corporation. We will soon apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) charitable organization status. If we receive 501(c)(3) status, then donations we receive (minus the fair market value of the book or any other member gift) will be tax-deductible as allowed by law.

To make a donation of a different amount or to receive different member gifts, please see our regular donation page.

Thank you for supporting the Truth About Nursing's work!

Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1099
fax 1-410-510-1790
ssummers@truthaboutnursing.org

 

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