News on Nursing in the Media
May 2012 -- On February 1, the Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO-TV ran a short but good item by Peter Busch about veteran local nurse Amanda Trujillo, who said she had been fired by Banner Del Webb Hospital and had a complaint filed against her with the state board of nursing because she had educated a patient about the risks of an upcoming surgery and scheduled a consult about hospice. A hospital spokesman reportedly said that "the doctor, ultimately, is the focal point that directs care for patients" and that "company policy" forbids nurses to order a case management consult. The report does not mention other accounts suggesting that these events were set in motion because the patient's surgeon was displeased that the patient had decided against the surgery. Trujillo's case has itself become a "focal point" for nurses concerned about policies that discourage them from doing what they are trained to do, namely educate and advocate for patients and help them make informed decisions about their care--and about the failure of some in authority to support nurses who stand up for patients. As of this writing, more than a year after Trujillo spoke to her patient in April 2011, it appears that the Arizona Board of Nursing has yet to decide on her case. A "Notice of Charges" with a curiously wide-ranging list of apparent allegations against Trujillo, going back to 2009 and including her work with other employers, appeared online in March. The Notice purports to be signed by the Board's director but it is undated, and it is unclear if the document is genuine or represents the Board's position. At the same time, Trujillo's case has become a national rallying point for nurses concerned about nursing disempowerment, with some questioning the accuracy of the apparent allegations against her and the alleged relation of the Board to Banner Del Webb, and others questioning the accuracy of Trujillo's account or hesitating to prejudge the matter while the Board is apparently still considering it and many facts remain unclear. In any case, we thank KPHO and Peter Busch for this report. more...
October 13, 2011 -- Episodes in the seventh and eighth seasons of ABC's Grey's Anatomy include the forceful "Nurse Eli," the sort-of boyfriend of star surgeon Miranda Bailey and perhaps the best nurse character the show has ever had. Yet even this extended plot arc ultimately decayed into a reinforcement of the idea that nurses are physician subordinates unworthy of being treated as equals, professionally or personally. Eli appeared in eight episodes aired over a 10-month period, ending tonight. On a few occasions he played a more robust patient care role than any other Grey's nurse has, displaying some health care skill and some spirited patient advocacy, standing up to physicians several times. But Eli was more of an intuitive traditional healer than a modern science professional. Physicians still provided virtually all important care in his episodes, and Eli eventually seemed to concede that the senior physicians were in charge. Some of his advocacy was absurdly shrill (nursing advocacy seen from a physician perspective, perhaps). And if "Nurse Eli" ever got a surname, we didn't catch it. Before long, Eli became little more than a hunky romantic / sexual interest for Bailey. Ultimately she ended the "it's complicated"-type relationship with Eli and, although the show allowed him some dignity in that process, it also implied that there was no real future for the two of them because Eli was just a nurse. Over the years, we have been somewhat torn about what to seek from Grey's. In theory, we would like the show to introduce nurse characters to reduce its wildly unbalanced vision of health care, in which physicians do everything that matters. Yet when the show does include a nurse, and even when it shows some empathy for the nurse, the plotline still ends up being overwhelmed by the producers' biases--and arguably does more damage than if the show had simply continued to pretend that nurses don't do anything but say "yes, doctor." So it was with Eli. more...and see our many film clips...
May 11, 2012 -- Today NurseZone posted a long piece by Debra Wood about the second symposium on nursing in the media held at the UCLA School of Nursing. The piece quoted nursing leaders who appeared at the event, including symposium creator and UCLA professor MarySue Heilemann and Hunter College professor and longtime radio host Diana Mason, as well as Truth About Nursing director Sandy Summers, who spoke at the 2011 symposium. Summers emphasized the importance of changing perceptions of nursing at every level, including in everyday personal interactions. see the article...
May 2012 -- This month the American Journal of Nursing included a substantial article about a recent study on patient attitudes toward health care providers with body modifications. News Director Gail Pfeifer's "Attitudes Toward Piercings and Tattoos" gave a thoughtful and balanced account of the issues, relying on extensive quotes from Truth About Nursing director Sandy Summers about the nursing image and how to balance good care with health worker individuality. see the article...
May 20, 2012 -- Check out the Truth's new movie "Nursing: Isn't That Sweet?!" It's all about what happens when nurse Wendy encounters her old high school classmate Jim at a restaurant, many years later--after the two have taken their lives in very different directions! Can Wendy and Jim make a new connection? Or will things get a little ugly? Made using xtranormal software just in time for Halloween, the short video explores some chilling stereotypes that still infect public understanding of nursing. And for a different take on nursing stereotypes, check out the Truth's classic 2005 report "Nursing: Who Knew?" about a groundbreaking study in which leading researchers discover nurses' real contributions for the first time! See the video!
Many nursing professors rely on the extensive and varied materials on the Truth's website to help their students engage with critical issues nurses will face in the future, from their public image to key aspects of nursing education, practice, and advocacy. Since 2001, we have explored and analyzed how the global media and society in general has seen the nursing profession. Join your colleagues and use this material to help plan your curriculum! See the full list...
May 20, 2012 -- The electronic version of the paperback edition of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk now sells for $7 from Kindle! The B&N Nook and Apple iBook are also available for $10. The hardback and paperback editions of Saving Lives are currently sold out as we are in a transition to a new publisher. All royalties for the multiple award-winning book go directly to support our nursing advocacy work. Thank you!
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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