News on Nursing in the Media
July 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. Read more here or go straight to our instant letter now!
May 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...
February 11, 2010 -- Today the New York Times ran a good piece by Kevin Sack reporting that a West Texas jury had just acquitted nurse Anne Mitchell at the end of a four-day trial for allegedly misusing official information in reporting a physician colleague's unsafe practices to the state medical board. The article is mostly about events immediately surrounding the acquittal. But it does point out that many advocates have been concerned about the case's potential chilling effect on whistleblowers like Ms. Mitchell, and it even consults a national nursing leader, American Nurses Association president Rebecca Patton, who calls the verdict a win for patient safety. The piece might have made clearer that it's not just good policy for nurses to be free to report bad care, but also their professional obligation as patient advocates. The article makes it easy for readers to conclude that the case was brought for questionable reasons, explaining that the physician, the sheriff, and the prosecutor who brought the case had close business and/or personal ties in the small community. The piece might also have mentioned the larger context of nurse-physician relations; this is an extreme case, but of course it is common for physicians to have so much more social and economic power than their nurse colleagues that it can require a great deal of courage for nurses to effectively challenge poor care. And the report might have referred to the legislative status of nurse whistle-blowers in Texas, and proposals for reform. Still, on balance, we commend Mr. Sack and the Times for their helpful reporting on the case. more...
June 9, 2010 - Today the BBC News web site published an op-ed by the Truth About Nursing's executive director Sandy Summers and senior advisor Harry Jacobs Summers. The "Viewpoint" piece ran as an installment in the site's regular Scrubbing Up column, which features "provocative thoughts from experts in the worlds of health and medicine." Using examples from media ranging from Hollywood shows to a recent "naughty nurse" ad for an English bus company, the op-ed argues that media stereotypes of nurses as brainless bimbos and physician lackeys contribute to a global undervaluation of the profession. As a result, the piece notes, nurses face a critical lack of respect, including frequent abuse, and they often lack the staffing and other resources they need to save lives. See the op-ed...
July 2, 2010 -- Today Truth About Nursing executive director Sandy Summers gave a guest lecture in Pace University's Lienhard School of Nursing's class "Reinventing Nursing," taught by Marilyn Jaffe-Ruiz, RN, EdD. The class is using Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk, by Sandy and Harry Summers, as one of its texts. Using the Webex technology, we had a good 90-minute discussion about the media's portrayal of nursing and its effect on nursing practice. We also covered advocacy issues and discussed how nurses can empower themselves to have more productive relations with their nursing managers and physician colleagues. Contact the Truth if you are interested in this kind of guest lecture!
Free Truth Guest Lecture Offer -- Limited Time!
Right now we are offering guest lectures by Sandy Summers by conference call, Webex, or other electronic means at no cost to any class that is discussing nursing's media image and using Saving Lives as one of its texts. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a dynamic and engaging guest presentation. Thank you!
July 7, 2010 -- Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk now available in paperback, with a new foreword by bestselling nurse author Echo Heron! This edition is revised and expanded, discussing Nurse Jackie and the other new nurse shows in detail, and featuring updated information throughout. You can get an author-signed copy of the book when you become a member of the Truth or renew your membership for $30 (click here!). Please help support the Truth's effort to change how the world thinks about nursing today.
This affordably-priced paperback edition (under $12 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble) makes a great Nurses Day gift for colleagues, students, or even to help family and friends understand the value of what nurses do. All royalties for the award-winning book go directly to support non-profit nursing advocacy work. Thank you for your support!
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.
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The Truth About Nursing is an international non-profit organization based in Baltimore that seeks to help the public understand the central role nurses play in health care. The Truth promotes more accurate media portrayals of nurses and greater use of nurses as expert sources. The group is led by Sandy Summers, co-author of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All At Risk.
Thank you for supporting the Truth About Nursing's work!
Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Founder and Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
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