News on Nursing in the Media
November 2, 2010 -- As we look forward from today's general election in the U.S., the 2012 Project wants to tell the Truth's members about the Project's non-profit, non-partisan campaign to encourage women in eight target fields - including nursing - to pursue public office in the United States. The Project aims to diversify U.S. policy-making bodies along gender and professional lines. The Project is affiliated with Rutgers, New Jersey's state university, and it is gaining national attention, with recent coverage on CNN American Morning and in the Washington Post. You can also learn more from the 2012 Project's website, www.the2012project.us. The Project has assembled a faculty of former elected women, who speak to the impact of serving in public office. The Project's faculty wants to present to women in nursing, including at conferences and meetings. Following presentations, the Project helps connect interested persons to political resources that will help them succeed. If an in-person presentation is not possible, the Project is glad to explore alternatives, including webinars. The Project may also be able to craft an online piece about the impact of nurses serving in public office. The Truth believes that nursing would benefit if more nurses--male and female--assumed positions of influence, because nurse decision-makers would be more likely to understand the importance and current needs of the profession. We urge supporters to consider how the Project might help them help nursing. more...
May 2010 -- The May 12 season finale of NBC's drama Mercy turned out to be the series finale, since the network canceled the show soon afterwards because of its low ratings. That's too bad, because in its 22 episodes, creator Liz Heldens's funny, well-acted show included many fine examples of nursing skill, patient advocacy, life-saving, and even some autonomy. The show's nursing portrayal did have flaws. Its generally constructive, peer-oriented approach to nurse-physician relations was at times undermined by suggestions that nurses report to physicians, and the show occasionally fell prey to other nursing stereotypes. The last two episodes of the series illustrate these mixed features. In the finale, lead character Veronica Flanagan saves the life of a boy trapped in a collapsed building, in part by amputating his arm with guidance she gets by cell phone from physician Chris Sands. In another plotline, nurse Chloe Payne correctly diagnoses a patient with airport malaria, despite resistance from physician Gillian Jelani. Both of those plotlines are showcases for nursing skill and advocacy. But both can also be read to suggest that nurses achieve to the extent they act like physicians; Gillian praises Chloe by noting that she was "thinking like a doctor." And that's nothing compared to one of the last scenes in the finale, which finds Chloe reacting to an apparent romantic rejection from cardiologist Joe Briggs by vowing to become a physician herself. Another plotline that conveys real skill and advocacy by nurses Angel Garcia and Sonia Jimenez in caring for a beating victim also suggests that physician Dan Harris directs nurse staffing. Why didn't enough people watch Mercy? Occasionally the show did feel flat, contrived, or silly, but that's also true of some successful shows. Mercy seemed to suffer from a difficult time slot, and the perception that it was the last in a glut of new shows about nurses (Nurse Jackie, HawthoRNe) and that nurses do not deserve so much attention. However, despite Mercy's flaws, the show's message that nurses play the central role in the skilled care of hospital patients and its strong portrayals of nursing expertise and advocacy place Mercy among the best television shows for nursing in Hollywood history. more...
April 20, 2010 -- Today the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a very good article by Stacey Burling about a new University of Pennsylvania study finding that the lives of hundreds of surgical patients could be saved if hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey followed the minimum nurse staffing ratios that have been required in California since 2004. The study also found that nurses in California, where staffing was better, liked their jobs more and felt less burned out. The study was led by prominent Penn nursing scholar Linda Aiken, who has published other ground-breaking studies over the years linking improved nurse staffing to lower patient mortality and reduced nurse burnout. The article provides context about the larger implications of the study on quality of care, nurse staffing legislation pending in various states, the ongoing nursing shortage, and even the then-current strike by nurses and others at Philadelphia's Temple University Hospital, a dispute in which nurse-to-patient ratios were a major issue. The piece includes helpful quotes from Professor Aiken and the nurses' union president Patricia Eakin, as well as ratio opponents, the Temple hospital's interim CEO Sandy Gomberg (a nurse!) and New Jersey Hospital Association representative Aline Holmes. Aiken describes the other research showing that better nurse staffing improves patient outcomes, and Eakin explains specifically how under-staffing prevents nurses from giving good care. We thank Ms. Burling and the Inquirer for this helpful report on topics that are vital to nursing practice. more...
April 15, 2010 -- Two very good recent press reports illustrate how nursing innovations are saving lives in hospitals today, but they also show how far society has to go in understanding the value of what nurses do. Today, the Phoenix television station ABC-15 posted a short but helpful item on its web site describing a cooling blanket developed by nurses at Banner Baywood Heart Hospital which has been very effective in helping to increase patient survival and brain function. The very short piece manages to include good quotes from Lauren Woffinden, the nurse manager who was instrumental in developing the induced hypothermia protocols, and another nurse who provides additional explanation. But don't get too excited. A patient whose wife was recently saved by the treatment gushes: "Of course I'm not a doctor. I have no idea how that works, but whatever it did it saved her mind, her brain. She knew everybody, it's a miracle." Yes, thank goodness those physicians understand this stuff! Meanwhile, on April 10, the Courier-Express (DuBois, PA) ran a good, longer report by Katie Weidenboerner about the Nurture Rest, a positioning pillow for NICU babies that nurse Nicole Kovalyak of DuBois Regional Medical Center invented to promote rest, comfort, and better breathing, and thus better outcomes. Some elements of Kovalyak's pillow mimic the position of an infant on a mother's chest, but others actually simulate the womb for babies who have left it too soon. The ever-evolving device has been patented and has been in use at the hospital for years. But Kovalyak reports that interest from manufacturers has been slight, and we wonder if one factor is the profession of the person behind the pillow. Nurses' health care achievements greatly exceed society's understanding of them. But press reports like these two are a great way to close that gap. more...
Truth About Nursing and Saving Lives media appearances
October 20, 2010 -- Today the prominent U.K. nursing publication The Nursing Times published the fifth in the series of online pieces by Truth executive director Sandy Summers and senior advisor Harry Jacobs Summers, "The image of nursing: The naughty nurse."
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!
November 2, 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 (about $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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