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News on Nursing in the Media

May 31, 2017 edition

HEADLINES

Founder of nursing is not your robot assistant

Nuance's electronic scheduler gets own name wrong

Puzzler

People crossword says RNs are "E.R. assistants"

Ashley MillerThe hometown hero

Reports highlight advocacy by versatile Kentucky NP

Both sides now

PBS highlights Civil War nursing on Mercy Street

The art of doing nothing, well

New York Times highlights value of nurse midwife care

All due respect

Another 24 episodes of misinformation about what nurses do

Publications:

Think about the future

New international text Nurses and Nursing leads off with chapter by Truth leaders

Press Coverage:

Diabetes Council interviews Truth director about diabetes care

Sandy Summers urges focus on healthy foods and nursing advocacy

What if there were a book that could transform and empower your nursing colleagues and friends?

Give a Nurses Week gift to friends, colleagues, or yourself!

Book Sandy Summers today for your event!

Let Sandy help your nurses and students fully embrace their autonomy to better protect patients! Watch a speech of Sandy giving the graduation speech at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She speaks widely to a variety of international nursing groups. Click here to see details and book her today!

We rely on your help to move forward on our mission. Thank you!

NEWS SUMMARIES

 

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Founder of nursing is not your robot assistant

Nuance's electronic scheduler gets own name wrong

May 27, 2017 - Today we learned of Nuance's new electronic scheduler, designed specifically to help physicians, which the company has thoughtfully named "Florence," after the modern nursing founder and public health pioneer Florence Nightingale. What an honor! After all, Nightingale was well known for meekly recording everything physicians said! Or wait--was she well known for aggressive advocacy on behalf of soldiers and the wider public, sometimes in the face of fierce opposition from physicians? That's it! But take a look at how Nuance sees her. In response, we sent a number of tweets to Jonathon Dreyer, senior healthcare marketing professional at Nuance Health, to explain why Nuance's product name is damaging, to educate him about the nature of nursing, and to request that he and Nuance apologize and make amends to nursing. Our messages to him are below. We know that it is the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the US, but if you join us in sending your thoughts their way, at @JonathonDreyer and @NuanceHealth, we may be able to get a response soon. And please use the hashtag #mHealth to make sure like-minded people get our message that nurses are nobody's scheduler or handmaiden. Thank you! read more...

 

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Puzzler

sexiest man alive crossword puzzlePeople crossword says RNs are "E.R. assistants"

March 14, 2017 – The clue for 29 Down in People magazine's crossword "puzzler" this week was "E.R. assistants (abbr.)," seeking a 3-letter answer. Can you guess it? Yes, it is "RNs." In fact, though, nurses are autonomous professionals who use their advanced skills to save lives and improve patient outcomes. They do not "assist" physicians, but instead manage their own distinct health science profession, based on university educations provided by nursing scholars. This crossword appeared almost exactly 10 years after the New York Times puzzle sought the answer "RNs" with the clue "I.C.U. helpers," in its February 27, 2007 edition. "Assistants" seems slightly less bad than "helpers," so maybe that is progress! In any case, research shows that the entertainment media has a real effect on health care views and actions. People's circulation is about 3.4 million, with an estimated readership of more than 40 million people. And although the puzzle is mostly about celebrity culture, we are confident the magazine wants its readers to regard the information in it as accurate. Sadly, the most common entertainment media image of nurses is that they are "assistants" to physicians. Please urge People magazine and the crossword's creator Patrick Merrell to apologize in a future issue and to make amends by offering clues that reflect the true nature of nursing—like "E.R. experts" or "patient advocates." read more...

 

The hometown hero

Reports highlight advocacy by versatile Kentucky NP

May 2017 – Recent media items have profiled a rising figure in Kentucky nursing. In November 2014, Glamour magazine ran a substantial feature entitled "Hometown Heroes: 50 Phenomenal Women of the Year Who Are Making a Difference." Emily L. Foley's piece briefly described one woman from each U.S. state. For Kentucky, it was Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner Ashley Miller, who had entered a PhD program to research better ways to educate her patients about reproductive health. (She has since received her PhD.) The profile also noted that Miller recently ran for state representative to try to effect related policy changes. Although she did not prevail, she was determined to continue advocating for her community; that was why she "chose nursing and to engage in research and public policy [in the first place]." The short piece made some great basic points: that nurses can be leaders in advocacy, policy, and research, and that their holistic care model has a focus on patient education. And a pre-election MSNBC report by Irin Carmon, which aired on November 2, 2014 in a segment hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry, highlighted some challenges Miller faced in her run for office, in which she ultimately received 46.7% of the vote. That piece, "Young candidate facing racist, sexist attacks," also explained that Miller grew up in Louisville as the "daughter of then-crack addicts" who were sometimes short on food. Even so, the report noted, Miller had the support of her grandmother and she managed to excel at basketball and beauty pageants. At that time, her nursing involved trying to help girls "in whom she [sees] herself." And she had hoped to draw on her study of evidence-based practice in nursing to enact some "evidence-based legislation." A quick look at Miller's current website gives a sense of her versatility and ambition. The site describes her as a "business owner + nurse + scientist + athlete + health professional + political figure + motivational speaker + international model + beauty queen." (Her surname is now Anderson, as she has married former NBA player Derek Anderson.) We thank Glamour magazine and Emily Foley for these items. read more here...

 

Both sides now

PBS highlights Civil War nursing on Mercy Street

Mary PhinneyFebruary 2016 -- PBS's Mercy Street is a U.S. Civil War drama about the staff at a Union military hospital in Virginia that treats the wounded from both sides. The show's central character is abolitionist nurse Mary Phinney, who is inexperienced but smart, resourceful, and forceful in fighting for patients. A minor theme in the first season, which finished this month, was the roots of modern nursing in the U.S. Characters included the fierce Union Army nursing superintendent Dorothea Dix (briefly) and a former colleague of Florence Nightingale named Anne Reading, who appears here as the jealous, petty Anne Hastings. These nurses emphasize order, hygiene, comfort, and wound care. But the nurses struggle to cope with the carnage they confront, as well as some surgeons who try to bully them or don't want them there at all. Phinney is based on a real historical figure who wrote about her experiences, and to some extent on Louisa May Alcott (right). Louisa May AlcottPhinney is appointed as head nurse of the hospital despite being new to the work. And she is tentative at first. But she eventually does some creative patient advocacy, for example in working around the corrupt hospital steward to get her patients better food and later in allowing a dying soldier the illusion that his wife back home has remained faithful. One of Phinney's main tasks in the first season is providing aggressive rehab care to the gifted but morphine-addicted surgeon Jed Foster. By the end of the season, these two have become strong clinical allies. It's true that the technical health knowledge here seems to reside mainly with the surgeons who call most of the shots. And the show spends most of its time on wartime intrigue outside the clinical setting. So it's not clear how much it will increase public understanding of modern nurses. Still, it offers a fairly serious look at nursing during this period. We thank creators Lisa Wolfinger and David Zabel. read more...

 

All due respect

Another 24 episodes of misinformation about what nurses do

May 2014 – The tenth season of ABC's Grey's Anatomy followed the show's by-now-familiar model, clinically speaking:  Surgeons gave all important hospital care and nurses were generally limited to background roles, fetching things and absorbing commands, occasionally with an obsequious "yes, doctor!" In an April 2014 episode, surgeon Meredith Grey directed a nurse to go and remind Meredith's husband Derek, also a surgeon, to pick up their kids. The nurse happily complied. There are still no nurse characters to complement the show's surgeon stars, who now number more than a dozen. Not surprisingly, the show's physician nursing continued, with physician characters regularly handling things that nurses do in real life, including all patient interactions. In a couple plotlines, working nurses did briefly emerge from the background. In both cases, their main role seemed to be to present obstacles to the bright but arrogant resident Shane Ross. In one short scene, a nurse from the show's early years named Tyler reappeared, now supposedly "in charge" of the CCU. That part was all right. But he was just as disagreeable, smug, and unconcerned about patients as ever; basically, a battle-axe. In that plotline, the bright young surgeons also had to provide nursing care, and since that seemed to amount to changing diapers, was it ever disgusting and a waste of their precious time! Oh wait, a knowledgeable, autonomous, and decent nurse character did appear in one episode—but as we have seen before on shows like this, she was a patient's family member. We guess having the surgeons collaborate clinically with a nurse like that might be too disruptive of the Grey's world view. On the whole, the season was another 24 episodes of misinformation about what nurses do. read more...

 

The art of doing nothing, well

New York Times highlights value of nurse midwife care

December 14, 2014 – Two strong pieces in the New York Times have recently drawn attention to the high quality, cost effective care that nurse midwives provide—and that they could provide much more of, with better support and resources. In a May 7, 2014 "Fixes" item, In Delivery Rooms, Reducing Births of Convenience, Tina Rosenberg explores at length why San Francisco General, despite being a public hospital, may be the safest place in California to have a baby because of its low rate of Caesarian sections (C-sections). Rosenberg identifies several key factors, mainly the use of salaried shift physicians, but she also cites the hospital's reliance on autonomous, non-interventionist nurse midwives as well as the overall "clout" of nurses there. Today, the Times ran an editorial with the provocative headline, "Are Midwives Safer Than Doctors?" Based on a recent clinical assessment from the United Kingdom, the answer is yes, at least for low risk pregnancies. The editorial notes that the evidence shows midwives achieve better outcomes than physicians for such patients in all situations except first time births at home, at least in part because midwives are far less likely to use risky interventions such as C-sections, forceps deliveries, and spinal anesthesia. The editorial argues that certified nurse midwives should be given more autonomy and resources to expand their practices, and it urges support for pending federal legislation that would take steps toward that goal. Together, these two pieces make a good case for the long-overdue expansion of nurse midwifery practice in the United States, where fewer than 10% of births are now attended by midwives. We thank those responsible for these items. read more...

Publications:

Think about the future

New international text Nurses and Nursing leads off with chapter by Truth leaders

April 2017 - The exciting new textbook Nurses and Nursing: The Person and the Profession includes a chapter on nursing's image by Truth leaders Sandy Summers and Harry Jacobs Summers. Edited by Pádraig Ó Lúanaigh, RN, EdD, the thought-provoking new textbook from Routledge "draws on international contributors with a range of backgrounds to explore, engage with and challenge readers in understanding the many aspects and elements that inform and influence contemporary nursing practice." Our chapter is "Nursing's public image: Toward a professional future." We thank Dr. Lúanaigh for the opportunity to be a part of this important new project. Please consider this book for your classes in professionalism, nursing and society, and nursing leadership. Click here to request a free copy for review now! See more about the book here...

Press Coverage:

Diabetes Council interviews Truth director about diabetes care

Sandy Summers urges focus on healthy foods and nursing advocacy

March 29, 2017 - Today the Diabetes Council website posted "31 Nurses & Experts Answer 3 Important Diabetes T1 and T2 Questions." Among the nurses & experts Jasmine Burns consulted was Truth About Nursing executive director Sandy Summers. She answered questions about whether diabetes is on the rise, concerns of newly diagnosed Type 2 patients, and the role of specialist nurses in diabetes prevention and management. We thank Ms. Burns and the Diabetes Council. see the interview...

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Saving Lives is the transformative book acclaimed by nurses, nursing leaders, scholars, and the media. It can help your friends, colleagues, and students be the strong nurses our profession needs to protect patients from errors, injuries, and disease. See praise for Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk by leaders in nursing and the media as well as the awards it has earned, including three Book of the Year awards from the American Journal of Nursing and an award from Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing. The updated second edition from Oxford University Press is now available! All donations and royalties go directly to support The Truth About Nursing, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Thank you for your support!

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Patients deserve better protection. Let Sandy help your nurses and students fully embrace their autonomy to strengthen nursing care, reduce errors and improve care! Sandy just got back from speaking in Washington DC, Houston, New York, Iowa, and Vancouver, and gave the graduation speech at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She speaks widely to a variety of international nursing groups. Click here to see details and book her today!

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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.


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