News on nursing in the media
Fall 2015 TV preview!
October 2015 -- The new U.S. prime time television season includes many health-related shows, but almost all follow the physician-centric model. CBS's new Code Black (premiering Sept. 30) focuses on an overwhelmed Los Angeles emergency department (ED). The show has one senior nurse character--who brags that he plays "Mama" to physician residents--along with seven major physician characters. NBC will offer a new entry in producer Dick Wolf's "Chicago" franchise, Chicago Med (Nov. 17), which also portrays a busy urban ED. The action-packed show has one seemingly competent nurse character and at least three authoritative physician characters. There are a couple new troubled-physician-genius shows. Fox's Rosewood (Sept. 23) follows a charismatic Miami "private pathologist" who teams with a local police detective to solve crimes. Like TNT's Rizzoli and Isles, this seems to be an odd-couple buddy show with no nurse characters. NBC's Heartbreaker (mid-season) is about a world-class female heart surgeon who must battle people, especially men, who are slow to recognize how awesome she is. There seem to be four major physician characters and one nurse. And ABC's new sitcom Dr. Ken (Oct. 2) is all about Ken Park, a cranky "HMO clinic" physician who is "brilliant" but has no bedside manner. Nurse character Clark reportedly serves as Park's "faithful nurse, confidante and partner-in-crime" and one of his "support staff." Among returning shows, the biggest news is the end this past spring of Showtime's Nurse Jackie, arguably the best showcase for nursing expertise in U.S. prime time history. At least the BBC's powerful Call the Midwife will return in early 2016 for its fifth season, with London nurse-midwives providing expert, autonomous community health care in the 1960s. Outlander (Starz) will return next year with the adventures of nurse Claire Randall among the rebels of 18th-century Scotland, but unfortunately, indications are that Claire will now be a physician, so medicine will likely get credit for her skilled exploits from here on. Also returning, Cinemax's The Knick (Oct. 16) revolves around a pioneering surgeon in the bad old days of early 20th-century New York City; the one nurse character has so far been notable mainly for her co-dependent crush on the drug-addicted surgeon. Back in the present day, we face the return of ABC's endless Grey's Anatomy (Sept. 24) (sexy, brilliant surgeons; handmaiden nurses) and the Hulu sitcom The Mindy Project (Sept. 15) (quirky but skilled OB-GYN physicians; stooge nurses). NBC's The Night Shift (2016) will be back with heroic ED physicians and competent but subordinate nurses, mainly a hunky African-American man who does at least display some skill. And HBO's Getting On (late 2015 / early 2016) will return for a final season of comically sad health workers, mainly nurses, flailing at a backwater geriatric care facility. But there is always hope. Please join us in encouraging better portrayals! more... or see detailed information about each show:
Code Black (CBS)
Chicago Med (NBC)
Dr. Ken (ABC)
Call the Midwife (BBC)
Getting On (HBO)
Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
The Mindy Project (Hulu)
The Night Shift (NBC)
The Knick (Cinemax)
With all these shows, we cannot possibly monitor them all on our own. Please watch one or more of the shows and let us know if you see a good or bad portrayal at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please join our letter-writing campaigns to speak out to show creators. There are a mountain of ideas about how you can help transform the way people think about nursing on our Take Action page. We are sure at least one of the activities there will be a good fit for you. If we all work on our little piece of the puzzle, we can build a society that respects nursing in line with its true worth, helping to strengthen the profession so we can deliver a higher quality and quantity of patient care. Thank you!
New Jersey State Nurses Convention
Atlantic City, New Jersey
October 14, 2015
Sandy will be the keynote speaker, giving four distinct presentations on nursing and the media. For details contact: Jubie Paner
November 19, 2015
Sandy will speak in several settings about nursing and the media. For more information contact: Jayme Sue Nelson
American Association of Colleges of Nursing,
Nursing Advancement Professionals Annual Conference
March 17, 2016, morning
contact: Jenny Carrick
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...
Create some street art with Truth posters! It's better than Banksy!
March 2015 -- The Truth has some new posters! They mix positive photo images of nurses with common stereotypes, along with short explanations, to help people reconsider their views of nurses. Consider deploying these posters in your clinical setting, on your college campus, around your city or town, or anywhere you think they might create cognitive dissonance. You might even take and post photos of the posters in these settings. For instance, consider placing the monkey poster near something with a biology or science theme, the battle-axe near some conflict-related location, and the naughty nurse near some appropriate venue, like a bar that advertises "penny shots for naughty nurses" (an actual promotion at a Pittsburgh bar in 2008, according to a correspondent).
Donate $30 to the Truth now, and we will send you a copy of our leaders' newly released book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk. The first edition of Saving Lives won an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award and an award from the international nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau. The book was written for nurses, the media, and members of the public around the world. Many nursing professors use it as a text to discuss nursing in society. The authors donate all royalties to the Truth About Nursing. Order today--paperback or digital--and we will send a copy out to you!
Support the Truth by inviting Sandy Summers to empower your nurses!
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!
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