News on Nursing in the Media
April 14, 2013 -- With the fifth season of Showtime's Nurse Jackie set to begin tonight, it's time to review the last season, which aired in spring 2012 and once again highlighted the central role nurses play in patient care. Most of the season focused on Jackie's recovery from her drug addiction and other personal issues. But when there were clinical scenes, the show continued to present Jackie, at least, as essentially a peer of the physicians. She was a clinical leader providing creative technical and psychosocial care. And in the last two episodes of the season, she actually took over the emergency department in the midst of a staffing crisis, running it expertly until the malevolent hospital CEO Mike Cruz fired her. The show also featured more credible, compelling interactions among nurses, and between nurses and physicians, showing that nurses are sentient three-dimensional beings. All of that is rare in Hollywood. Jackie's quirky mentee Zoey Barkow continued to show potential as a future version of Jackie--at several points Zoey showed the kind of clinical courage and initiative that Jackie does. There is still no really strong male nurse character, though nurses Thor and Sam do seem to have settled into their roles as competent, funny Jackie acolytes. On the downside, the show continued to struggle to portray nursing autonomy. There were several more suggestions that physicians control nurse staffing, and, after Cruz demoted nurse-manager Gloria Akalitus to staff nurse, the show proceeded without any apparent nurse managers at all. Still, on the whole, Nurse Jackie remains probably the best show for nursing in U.S. primetime television history. The executive producers of the show are Linda Wallem, Liz Brixius, Richie Jackson, and Caryn Mandabach. more...
October 14, 2012 -- Today the Indian Express (New Delhi) website ran a good story about a recent study by sociologist Sreelekha Nair (right) of the Centre for Women's Development Studies focusing on the troubling situation of India's nurses. The study reportedly found that nurses continue to confront appalling working conditions including understaffing, especially in the private sector; abuse from employers, colleagues, and patients' families; very low pay and workplace restrictions that seem to approach servitude; and widespread undervaluation, including low work and social status, even though, as the report itself notes, they save lives. The Indian Express story, headlined "Indian nurses still an exploited lot: Study," originated with the Thiruvananth-apuram press agency. The article quotes extensively from the study and relies on additional comment from the study author, as well as Indian Nursing Council member P. K. Thampi. The piece links the status of nursing to the fact that the profession remains predominantly female. The report notes briefly that some nurses do find opportunities and even "adventures" by taking their skills overseas, though it does not explore how that migration affects India. The piece might have sought more input from nurses themselves, particularly those working in the clinical setting, and it might have gotten some reaction to the study from government and hospital officials. But the article provides valuable information about the state of nursing in India today, and we thank those responsible. more...
Truth executive director Sandy Summers will deliver the keynote speech at the 27th Annual Wisconsin Nurses Association Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Forum Pharmacology & Clinical Update, to be held at the Monona Terrace and Convention Center in Madison. Sandy will speak on the morning of Friday, May 3, 2013. See you there!
Our book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk is available again! If you donate now, we will send you a copy. Saving Lives continues to influence nurses, the media, and members of the public around the world. You can also get the paperback from Amazon. Saving Lives is also available in digital form through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes. Saving Lives has won an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award and an award from the international nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau. Many nursing professors use the book as a text to discuss nursing in society. You can get a free copy--hard copy or digital--with every $30 donation to the Truth About Nursing!
Tell colleagues and patients the truth! Our "I Am Your Registered Nurse" poster presents nurses as autonomous professionals on whom patients can rely. The poster explains that nurses are modern science professionals who protect and advocate for patients and empowers nurses to meet those challenges. Designed for the bedside, the poster comforts patients by educating them about the care environment and assuring them that nurses are there to fend for them.
Or consider the Truth's "Can Short Dresses Cause Short Staffing?" poster. This one takes humorous aim at the naughty nurse image that continues to haunt advertisements and other media, especially those aimed at males. The poster connects the naughty nurse image with the broader undervaluation that leads to gross underfunding of nursing education, research, and practice, ultimately threatening patients.
For every dollar that you donate, we'll send you up to 4 posters to hang at your school or workplace. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us how many you'd like and where to send them. 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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