Golden Lamp Awards 2006
The Fourth Annual Golden Lamp Awards rank the best and worst general audience media portrayals of nursing we've seen in 2006.
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The 2006 Golden Lamp Awards cover material released in the 13 months prior to the end of 2006. In the list below, television episodes are identified by original U.S. air dates. All dates are from 2006 unless otherwise noted.
This was a very strong, front-page article examining the state of nurse immigration to the United States, and the likely effects of a U.S. Senate bill that would have eliminated some current immigration restrictions for nurses.
These three strong columns describing labor negotiations at Temple University Hospital argued that nurses should get adequate staffing and limits on forced overtime, in order to improve patient safety and address key factors in the nursing shortage.
This extensive piece explored the vital work of Louisiana nurse Luwana Marts and the Nurse-Family Partnership, a cost-effective program in which nurses make pre-natal and post-natal home visits to improve the health of poor first-time mothers and their children.
This piece described the desperately short-staffed Iraqi nurses caring for patients in the midst of rampant sectarian violence and abuse from angry patients and families.
These pieces examined the dire conditions in poor African nations as nurses and other key health staff flee AIDS-stricken care settings for better opportunities in the developed world.
This article described an initiative by Edinburgh nurse Scott McLean to enable paramedics to treat heart attack victims with "clot-busting" thrombolytic drugs, recognizing a nurse for actually saving patients' hearts, not simply having a good heart himself.
This op-ed discussed what nurses actually do to improve patient outcomes, and described some of the challenges the profession now faces worldwide, including an unusually strong section on the effects of short-staffing.
This lengthy report showed that a severe shortage of school nurses threatens the health of children across the United States, especially in view of the increasingly serious health issues kids and nurses now confront at school.
This physician's piece praised nurse-midwife Mary Breckinridge's globally influential work in founding and leading the Frontier Nursing Service, which has provided life-saving care to poor mothers and children in rural areas since 1925.
The International Council of Nursing, International Nurses Day campaign: "Safe staffing saves lives," May 12;
Barbara Ficarra, Health in 30, WRCR radio show (Rockland County, NY), ongoing;
Raewyn Janota, "The unique gifts that nurses receive," Globe and Mail (Toronto), Dec. 21, 2005;
Gina Dennik-Champion, "Nurses back medical marijuana," Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Dec. 10, 2005;
Nancy Banfield Johnson, "Time to split truth from myth about nursing," The Ithaca Journal, May 5;
Ruth Tanyi, "Bad Sugar," television series on diabetes prevention, airing on KHIZ (Southern California), Oct. 2006 to Jan. 2007;
The Royal College of Nursing (Wales), policy "manifesto," as reported in "Wales boozing worries nurses," News Wales, Sept. 20.
This six-part dramatic series centered on the competent, fairly autonomous Helen Tremain, a committed rural health nurse struggling to care for poor Torres Strait islanders. Though there was some physician glorification and Tremain was not always the strongest patient advocate, she was shown to have knowledge, skill, and the respect of her patients.
This important book analyzes the causes and effects of the explosion in international nurse migration, including the personal stories of nurses who migrate from the developing to the developed world, and discussing the ethics of recruiting nurses from poor nations.
In these episodes, the irreverent sitcom made a special effort to recognize nurses' contributions: the former episode showed nurse Carla Espinosa helping interns learn key aspects of clinical practice and catching their errors, while in the latter Carla showed her encyclopedic knowledge of patient conditions and care plans.
This business column focused on a Colorado ICU nurse who was reportedly fired after she complained about dangerous conditions, and a bill then pending in the state legislature that would have created whistleblower protection for nurses.
This report on the Breathmobile, a nurse-staffed "asthma and allergy clinic on wheels" that visits city elementary schools, explained how the program keeps asthmatic kids in school and out of the emergency department.
This article highlighted the cost-effective care of a city occupational health nurse who provides wellness care including screenings, vaccinations, and preventative education, as well as handling most workers compensation visits.
This article described the pioneering work of alcohol liaison nurse Gary Doherty at Mater Hospital, where Doherty offers "a lifeline to the drunk and the desperate in one of the most deprived areas of the province."
Underwood offered engaging looks at nursing contributions and nursing troubles: in the first piece, she described the current nursing shortage, stressing that "nursing is crucial to patient safety;" in the second, she highlighted the work of sexual assault forensic nurse Beryl Skog; and in the third piece, Underwood described the promise of the Transforming Care at the Bedside program which improves nursing care and reduces nursing turnover.
Although the Truth's focus is the general media, and the books below are aimed mainly at nurses, these works ably explore how nurses think about their work and present it to others, thus increasing public understanding of the profession.
This important book argues that nurses have not given the public an adequate account of their work, and the second edition offers even more strategies to help nurses tell the world what they do, in order to get the resources needed to resolve the nursing crisis.
This collection of essays suggests that the emotional "virtue script" that dominates nursing discourse has undermined nurses' ability to protect themselves and their patients from economic threats, and it urges nurses to emphasize their vital knowledge and skills.
This how-to manual explains how nurses can prevent and cure burnout, helping their patients by helping themselves look at the bigger picture. Readers learn to assert control over their own lives, instead of simply accepting whatever positions others place them in.
Wynn Las Vegas ended its use of "Nurse Follies" after a complaint by just one nurse. "Nurse Follies" seems to present the hospital as a kooky den of lust and greed, relying on nursing stereotypes like the naughty nurse and the battleaxe.
In the ad, a CVS pharmacist said he spent half a day teaching a patient's husband to administer her 20 different medications, and suggested that made the husband "a nurse." After our discussions, CVS modified the ad to omit the "nurse" comments.
An ALR press release had announced that the ALRT500 would be called an "Electronic Nurse." After one email from the Truth, ALR agreed to change the name to one that did not imply that its product could replace nurses with years of college-level science education.
Hydra's "Water made naughty" campaign, aimed at young adults, featured models dressed as naughty nurses in ads and at events promoting the drink. After a few contacts from the Truth, the company decided to discontinue its use of the stereotypical imagery.
Schick's ads for the razor featured an injured male skateboarder surrounded by naughty "nurses" giving him "more intensive care" in a mock research study setting. After contacts from the Truth, Schick agreed not to revive the campaign.
Coors Canada's extreme sports "Trauma Tour" had included "naughty nurses" in TV and other ads, and "naughty nurse" models had appeared at related bar promotions, as well as the actual sporting events. The company stopped using the images after efforts by the Truth, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (especially Laurie Spooner), and Coors USA.
This massively popular show, now seen around the world, continues to portray nurses as pathetic losers who are peripheral to important hospital care, while the smart, pretty physician characters who dominate it spend a lot of time on work nurses do in real life.
This hit show depicts brilliant physician characters providing all key bedside care, including care provided by nurses in real life. On the rare occasions when nurses do appear, they are mute, unskilled subordinates who seem to be summoned into existence literally out of nowhere by the physicians to do a simple physical task.
This huge cover story about health threats posed by hospitals presented an all-physician vision of care, based on expert comment by 12 physicians, that excluded nurses so completely that readers may have wondered if nursing had been virtually phased out.
ER is much better for nursing than other prime time dramas are, but these episodes were troubling: the former swerved into extreme battleaxe territory in showing the final exit of ED nurse manager Eve Peyton, while the latter presented a NICU where physicians did everything that mattered, while the nurses were inept flunkies.
In this popular film, a bright girl from a disadvantaged background aims for the National Spelling Bee. But her bitter mother had to settle for being a nurse instead of a physician after dropping out of college, suggesting that nurses are sad physician wannabes who lack college-level training or meaningful skill.
The world's most popular English-language daily newspaper ran two prominent "naughty nurse" lingerie pictorials--with the added twist that the models really were nurses or nursing students--to promote the calendar "100% Real Nurses 2007."
A short "gash cam" segment in which a real surgeon expertly removed stitches from Dave's hand featured two attractive models, dressed as "nurses" in short white dresses, standing by and giggling.
The popular U.S. horror movie Saw III was promoted with a nationwide Halloween Blood Drive publicized with sexy/scary "naughty nurse" posters, degrading the very professionals most likely to use the blood collected to save lives.
This comic, published in about 700 newspapers, showed an EMT giving a stretcher-bound patient a choice: "Mercy Hospital" was "20 minutes closer," but the nurses at "Saratoga Hospital" were "really hot." This "joke" suggests that the important thing about nurses is their physical appearance.
Early episodes of this new hit show presented hospice nursing--the former work of power-absorbing lead character Peter Petrelli--as a dead-end job for dreamy, unduly self-sacrificing losers, rather than a professional career that requires years of college-level education.
These awards go to nurses and physicians who have presented the public with contemptuous, distorted visions of nursing.
- American Medical Association and Rebecca Patchin, comments in various major newspapers, throughout 2006.
AMA board member Dr. Rebecca Patchin exploited her status as a "former nurse" to bolster misleading attacks on nurse practitioner training and care in various major publications, as part of AMA efforts to limit the rapid expansion of the "quick clinics" NPs staff in retail stores.
- Two pieces by Vickie Milazzo: "Why Are Nurses Leaving Clinical Nursing? Not Because of ER!", American Chronicle, Aug. 21; "This I Believe: Stepping Out of Fear," National Public Radio, Sept. 4.�
Nurse Milazzo's pieces promoting her business training legal nurse consultants linked bedside nursing with failure. The former piece suggested that working conditions are so bad that nurses would be leaving regardless of what the media did, but it offered no real solutions--except to become a legal nurse consultant. In the latter piece, Milazzo told how she escaped the bedside, and suggested that bedside nursing is wrong for anyone who wants to "succeed" in life.
- Two op-eds by one or more anonymous U.K. physicians: "Why nurses are no angels," The Independent and the Belfast Telegraph, June 20; "Are nurses angels? I don't think so," Daily Mail, July 18.
These paternalistic pieces urged the National Health Service to stop assigning nurses new management and clinical roles, a practice that has supposedly helped produce a generation of uppity nurses who are stupid, uncaring, lazy, and too eager to dump everything on physicians. Instead, the pieces argue, nurses should focus on the basic caring and hygiene tasks the physicians think define nursing.
- Mattel, for its "Nurse Quacktitioner" doll, Dec. 2005. �
The world's leading toy maker released a small collectible doll called the "Nurse Quacktitioner," which suggested that nurse practitioners (NPs) are "quacks," or untrained persons who pretend to be physicians. Mattel said it had no idea that this doll would be taken as an attack on NPs, whose main professional stereotype has been that they are, uh, untrained persons who pretend to be physicians. Mattel refused to recall the dolls from retailers, even though Wal-Mart agreed to sell them back to Mattel.
- IGT, "Nurse Follies," video slot machine, Jan.
The world's leading supplier of casino gaming machines refused to take any steps to mitigate the harm caused by its "Nurse Follies" slot machines. This game seems to present the hospital as a kooky den of lust and greed, relying on nursing stereotypes including the naughty nurse and the battleaxe.
These awards recognize those whose contempt for nursing--at a time when the profession is in crisis--is notably self-defeating.
- The Heart Attack Grill, Tempe, AZ, ongoing.
This restaurant employs waitresses in naughty nurse lingerie to serve "double-bypass" burgers and other cholesterol treats. The owner has refused to consider removing the nurse element from the "naughty" uniforms. But such stereotypes are factors in the undervaluation of nursing that feeds the shortage--maybe we should say overfeeds the shortage--and threatens lives worldwide.
- Silvio Berlusconi, public comments on recent hospitalization, Dec.
The Italian opposition leader and former prime minister, at the Cleveland Clinic for placement of a pacemaker, reportedly thanked his nurses for keeping him alive as follows: "Italian nurses are better-looking...These [U.S.] ones scare me a bit. Don't even think about leaving me alone at night with one of them." These comments clearly suggest that nurses are about hotness only.