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January, February and March 2010
News on Nursing in the Media



OCD and Spidey senseSam, Coop, Zoey and Jackie

March 29, 2010 -- Tonight's episode of Showtime's Nurse Jackie included a cautionary tale about how easily a clinician as aggressively gifted as Jackie can slip into arrogance and corner-cutting. No one will likely suffer physical damage as a result of Jackie's error here (unwittingly giving a distressed family a few hours of false re-assurance about whether their child has cystic fibrosis) and the episode also includes examples of the veteran nurse's physiological and psychosocial skills. Jackie takes responsibility for the error, and it actually makes the overall portrayal of her expertise more balanced and realistic; it's not just brilliant physicians who can fall into the ego trap. Unfortunately, the episode also includes a brief reinforcement of the previous episode's suggestion that hospital physicians have some kind of direct authority over nurses. This week, nurse manager Gloria Akalitus tells Jackie that physician Cooper has lodged a "formal complaint" against her for "insubordination and general bitchiness." Jackie dismisses the complaint with a string of expletives, and Akalitus doesn't seem to care about it. But the episode does not clearly refute the idea that a physician might legitimately complain about a nurse's insubordination. Nor does it refute the implication that nurses really do, in some sense, report to physicians. They don't, and suggestions that they do feed the handmaiden stereotype that has plagued nursing for decades. However, the episode still shows viewers that nurses are skilled clinicians with some autonomy who play a leading role in patient care. The episode, "Twitter," was written by Mark Hudis. more...


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Living in Emergency

Living in EmergencyMarch 24, 2010 -- Living in Emergency, which will be in U.S. theaters on April 17, tells the stories of four developed world physicians who have worked on Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) aid missions in Congo and Liberia. The documentary feature offers a somewhat confused but still fairly engaging look at MSF's work in these war-torn nations. Of course, the film is an advertisement for MSF, but it is admirably frank about tensions between foreign and local staff, the stress of confronting widespread suffering in dangerous areas, and the despair that critical resource shortages can cause. The film even offers some insights on foreign aid work. But it mostly ignores MSF's local staff, and completely ignores its nurses and logistics officers, all of whom play key roles in the Nobel Prize-winning group's work. Although nurses are the most numerous MSF health professionals, this film is almost entirely about physicians, who do virtually all of the talking and acting. Viewers learn what the physicians do, what they think, and how they feel. Other MSF staff may flit across the screen, unidentified, but they are portrayed as peripheral to the stories that matter: those of the casually heroic physicians who provide all meaningful care to these populations in great need. In the end, the distorted film's treatment of emergency aid mirrors that of MSF's name:  it's a physician thing. more...


Blade RunnerJackie and Kevin Peyton

March 22, 2010 -- Tonight Showtime aired the second season premiere of Nurse Jackie, the "dark comedy" about an expert New York City emergency department nurse who's not afraid to bust a few heads, and pop a few pills, to get the job done. The episode includes more examples of Jackie's clinical virtuosity. She advocates strongly to get a plastic surgery consult for a deaf woman who has had several fingers shot off, despite resistance from junior physician Cooper, who does not seem to get how important fingers are to a person who uses sign language. Then Jackie uses her incredible range of interpersonal skills to get the woman's insurance company to cover the expensive surgery, against all odds. The episode's portrayal of nursing autonomy is mixed. It shows the nasty nurse manager Gloria Akalitus exercising authority over the nursing staff. And Jackie, apparently acting as charge nurse, protects diabetic nurse Thor from Cooper's abuse, then privately counsels Thor to manage his symptoms better. Another scene has Cooper lodging a complaint against Jackie with Akalitus, arguing that he is "at the top of the food chain" and Jackie is "at the bottom." Cooper (who has a thing for Jackie) actually cries in the meeting, and Akalitus does not take the complaint seriously. But viewers may still assume that nurses generally must do what physicians say, it's just that Cooper is unusually callow, while Akalitus and Jackie are unusually feisty. Jackie still handles some things badly, and her seemingly pathological risk-taking continues. Now that the married nurse's former boyfriend and drug supplier, pharmacist Eddie, has been replaced by an automatic pill dispenser, she steals drugs from the machine (Eddie ODs in an effort to get Jackie to return his calls). The show seems more interested in addictive behavior than in nursing. But it still seems set for another compelling season of portraying nurses as skilled professionals who play the central role in patient care. This episode, "Comfort Food," was written by series creators Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem. more...


Mariah Carey campaign update:  A Vision of Love?

Mariah CareyMarch 14, 2010 -- Recently the Truth's campaign to persuade Mariah Carey to reconsider her use of naughty nurse imagery in the video for "Up Out My Face" has received coverage in the Hartford Courant, the Baltimore Sun, the India Times, the Calgary Herald, ADVANCE for Nurses, Scrubs Magazine, HCPro, the Dallas Morning News, and other news sources. Unfortunately, there has still been no response from Ms. Carey herself. However, the pop star's "lambs" (fans) have learned of the campaign and responded in force. They have argued that the video is just a harmless fantasy, that nurses' business is solely caring for patients at the bedside, that the Truth is just seeking "publicity" (which evidently differs from raising awareness), and that we have no right to criticize Carey's work, because she is successful, powerful, talented, and beyond our limited understanding. However, research shows that even fantasies and "jokes" can have a real effect on how people think and act, especially when repeated countless times in all media worldwide over a period of decades, as the naughty nurse has been. By relentlessly associating the profession of nursing with female sexuality, the naughty nurse makes it harder for real nurses to get the respect and resources they need to save lives, and discourages many advanced students from choosing the profession, as recent research shows. more... or go straight to our letter-writing campaign or post your own comment to respond to those of Carey's fans. Thank you!


That joke isn't funny anymore

Oooh matronMarch 16, 2010 -- Today the Daily Mail (UK) ran an unsigned item about a West Midlands bus company that was using a large naughty nurse ad, with the clever tag line "Ooooh matron!," to promote its route to the hospital. Nursing representatives and National Health Service officials asked the Diamond Bus Company to pull the ad, arguing that it trivialized and sexualized the profession, making it more difficult for real nurses to do their work. But the company refused, noting that it needed to create a "bright and positive brand" and that the ad had been "vetted" by a "group of nurses" who agreed it was "funny." However, something can be "funny" and at the same time promote a harmful stereotype. These aren't just jokes about some random profession; they're about a disempowered profession that has been the subject of the same bimbo stereotype for decades. The image really does undermine the profession's standing among career seekers and others, as recent research in the UK has shown. Please help those in the corporate world understand that the image of nursing matters as much as the need for a "bright and positive brand," and that in any case there are ways to promote services without the naughty nurse. more...


Disabling the off switch:  Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe on hospital errorsDisabling the off switch

March 16, 2010 -- Recent reports in The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe discuss efforts to address potentially lethal hospital errors, with each piece using as its main example a case in which nurses did not spot a problem until it was too late and a patient died. It is very helpful for the public to hear that nursing (just like medicine) is so important to patient care that such problems can mean the difference between life and death. And we commend the journalists responsible for both of these pieces, which provide serious, thoughtful discussion of some important issues, including systemic factors beyond the nurses' control. But neither piece consults nurses to the extent it should, considering that the problems addressed are primarily nursing ones, and the effect is to undervalue nursing expertise and possibly to suggest that nurses report to physicians in providing the relevant care. Liz Kowalczyk's February 21 Globe report describes events surrounding the tragic death of a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) patient whose heart monitor alarm had been left off. The reporter includes a few helpful quotes from MGH's chief nurse, but none from national nurse experts or direct care nurses who deal with such monitors constantly, instead relying on physician safety experts and engineers involved in improving the safety of such technologies. And Laura Landro's piece in today's Journal discusses efforts to treat the health workers involved in errors fairly, focusing on the well-known case of Wisconsin nurse Julie Thao, who mistakenly gave a pregnant patient a fatal dose of a painkiller and actually faced criminal charges, but who has since worked to improve hospital safety. The story includes a little indirect commentary from Thao, but all the expert quotes are from physicians and other non-nurse safety experts, rather than the nurses who know more directly how and why such medication errors can occur. Perhaps as a result of inadequate input from nurses, neither piece mentions the extent to which nurse-related errors are due to inadequate staffing or other factors in the practice environment, which nursing scholars have shown remains a threat to U.S. patient safety. Nor does either piece discuss nurses' relatively low level of power, which discourages nurses from speaking up about problems, an issue on which Johns Hopkins physician Peter Pronovost has rightly focused in his efforts to improve safety. more...


Drawing the linenurse

March 12, 2010 –Today the New York Daily News ran an item based on a Reuters piece reporting that a Dutch nurses union had launched a national campaign to remind patients that sexual services were actually not part of nurses' professional duties. Apparently, a young female nurse had recently complained that a disabled man had demanded that she provide sex as part of his care, then threatened to have her fired when she refused. And what might have given this Dutch patient the idea that sex was part of nursing? Well, we might point to that enduring global naughty nurse stereotype, but it also seems that the complaining nurse saw "some of her peers performing sexual acts with the patient." The short Daily News item by Ethan Sacks is a fair statement of the basic issues, though the accompanying photo (right)--of a hot model dressed in a regressive nurse's dress with cap, staring provocatively and directing a stethoscope at the camera--doesn't exactly counter the idea that nurses are mainly sexual objects. And the report might also have noted that sexual harassment is a major problem for nurses worldwide and a significant factor in nursing burnout. We thank those responsible for the basic report. more...


"Dear Hollywood:  We, the nurses of the world, have something to say to you."

March 12, 2010 -- Today Medscape ran a long, powerful article by Laura Stokowski headlined "A Letter to Hollywood: Nurses Are Not Handmaidens." The article features very good explanations of the common myths about nursing that Hollywood promotes, as well as information about what nurses really do to help patients. The piece also includes detailed discussion of the Truth's work, particularly our media awards for 2009 and for the past decade, and extensive quotes from Truth executive director Sandy Summers. We thank Ms. Stokowski for this impressive and helpful article. see the article...


Inventing nursing

Peter PronovostMarch 8, 2010 -- Today The New York Times ran an excerpt from Claudia Dreifus's interview with Johns Hopkins physician Peter Pronovost, who has been acclaimed for his promotion of checklists, hand washing, and other ways to improve hospital safety. Pronovost deserves credit for these efforts and for his calls to empower nurses, since they can play a key role in reducing errors. Unfortunately, in this interview he observes that physicians undervalue the "experiential" perspective that nurses and families have--as if nurses were like lay people we should listen to just because they spend more time with patients, rather than health professionals who use advanced skills and education to catch deadly errors. And Pronovost gets sole credit here, as he often does, for an advocacy focus that nurses have been pursuing for many decades, an apparent reflection of the media's tendency not to notice nursing perspectives until a more respected professional embraces them. Then the ideas are presented as the brilliant health innovations of the embracer, and nurses as merely the workers who implement the ideas. This bias appears in media ranging from news coverage of the Nurse Family Partnership, in which the idea of nurses making home health visits is often credited to a psychologist who founded one admirable program for at-risk mothers, to a recent episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy that portrayed physician characters as the ones who initiated and even provided skin-to-skin care for a sick newborn. Ironically, by reinforcing the sense that nurses are low-skilled physician subordinates, such media often undermines nurses' claims to the resources they need to do the very work that is being celebrated. Of course, nurses themselves are not blameless. Pronovost reports that some nurses initially reacted to his ideas by telling him that it wasn't their job to monitor what physicians were doing to patients. And the Times interview underlines something very sad:  Why has a physician become the leader of a movement to make changes that are so central to nursing's own care model? Don't nurses have what it takes? Or is it that no one would listen to them? more...

February 2010 News on Nursing in the Media

A terrible wisdom

Injured HaitianFebruary 2010 -- Press reports about the January 12 earthquake in Haiti continued to appear in the months that followed, describing the effects and the continuing health risks as health workers and patients struggled to cope with a devastated health infrastructure. We saw one fairly good New York Times article, described below, but most of these reports followed the standard physician-centric disaster reporting model we already described in analyzing samples of CNN's work. The reports gave the sense that physicians did everything important in the wake of the tragedy and that only physicians' health care views matter. An excellent example is Deborah's Sontag's February 12 piece in The New York Times, "Doctors Haunted by Patients They Couldn't Save," which explores the psychological effects on U.S. physicians who undertook short aid missions to Haiti following the quake. The report is dominated by four physicians and fails almost totally to consider the roles or views of the nurses and others who worked alongside these physicians. The piece notes in passing that one nurse helped a physician with one patient. And there are a couple quotes from a paramedic about the status of a 12-year-old patient, but she's only there to help the reporter update a pediatrician who treated the boy when she was in Haiti. One week before Sontag's piece, Ian Urbina filed a very different Times report about the impact on health workers, "Haiti Hospital's Fight Against TB Falls to One Man." That article tells the story of Pierre-Louis Monfort, a nurse at Haiti's only tuberculosis hospital. After the structure had collapsed and everyone else had died or fled, Monfort was trying to carry on the work of the facility's 50 nurses and 20 physicians by himself. The Times piece conveys some of what Monfort was doing for patients, and the psychic effects on him. The piece also consults "experts," both physicians, who discuss the disaster looming if TB spreads unchecked in a nation where the rate was already very high. Anyway, we commend Urbina and the Times for highlighting the experience of one tough, resourceful nurse in Haiti. more...

Help Nurses Help Haiti

May 30, 2010 -- In late June, a group of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing faculty and students including Truth board member Kelly Bower Joffe will go to Haiti to provide nursing care to children and pregnant women. They'll partner with the Haitian Health Foundation, which has worked in Jeremie, Haiti, since the 1980's. Since the January earthquake, Jeremie has received more than 100,000 displaced persons from Port-au-Prince. The Hopkins group will provide care including screenings, vaccinations, monitoring child growth, pre- and post-natal care, and health education. They are now raising funds for supplies, vitamin supplements, educational materials, translators, and the cost of travel to remote villages. Please help with a tax-deductible contribution (by check or online) to the Hopkins nursing school's Haiti Community Health Nursing project. Thank you for helping the people of Haiti through nursing! more...

Nurse helping Haitian girl
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Bad blood

punching, and quoteFebruary 25, 2010 -- Recent news reports reveal that many nurses around the world confront high levels of abuse from patients and colleagues. On February 4, the OneIndia web site posted an unsigned item from ANI, the South Asian news agency, about an Australian study published in the U.K.-based Journal of Clinical Nursing that found not only that most nurses had been physically assaulted at work, but that many nurses considered violence to be "just part of the job." That short piece does a good job of conveying the magnitude of the problem and of highlighting nursing research, though it might have dug a little deeper about why nurses may view abuse that way, and it might have clarified that lead study author "Dr. Rose Chapman" is a nurse with a PhD, not a physician. Today, the News Chief (Winter Haven, FL) ran a longer Scripps Howard News Service report by Lee Bowman discussing recent studies suggesting that conflict among nurses and physicians is "rampant." The piece provides valuable information about the nature of such conflict and the growing awareness that it undermines patient care. But the report also implies that all concerned are more or less equally responsible, making no real effort to explore the power disparity between the two professions, which professions are more likely to suffer which forms of abuse, or whether aggression among nurses might be rooted in nursing's disempowered status. So readers are likely to come away thinking nurses and physicians confront a similar situation with regard to workplace abuse, an idea that is false and unhelpful, as problems are hard to solve if some of the root causes are ignored. Still, we thank those responsible for both of these important articles. more...


Mariah Carey and Nicki MinajTake Action!

Mariah Carey: "Up Out My Face"

February 2010 -- Mariah Carey's new video, "Up Out My Face," relies heavily on the naughty nurse stereotype. Imagery fusing the profession of nursing with female sexuality has been common worldwide for decades. So even though it's "just a joke!", such imagery undermines nurses' claims to respect and resources, and discourages many promising students from joining the profession, as recent research shows. Carey has always been a musician with an amazing instrument, but she has also been known for a particular way of promoting her work, as described in detail in a 2004 Sonic Youth song about her. That song appeared on the band's Sonic Nurse album, and given Carey's approach to her career, maybe it was inevitable that Carey herself would someday turn to nursing--naughty nursing. "Up Out My Face" is competent but unremarkable hip-hop product from the 2009 album Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. The song itself has no nursing imagery, but in the uninspired video for the song's remix with rapper Nicki Minaj, Carey and her co-director (and husband) Nick Cannon put the naughty nurse right up in our faces. Carey and Minaj appear in skimpy "nurse" outfits, complete with caps, white stockings, and high heels. The song, which will appear on Carey's 2010 remix album Angels Advocate, is actually a kiss-off to a former lover, so it would seem to reverse the standard naughty nurse theme of sexual availability. But the point seems to be to show the ex-lover (and us) just what he will be missing because Mariah and Nicki have moved on. These outfits are an obvious way to do that, but there are countless others. So maybe Mimi could emancipate herself from the naughty nurse stereotype. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!


The good doctors in Haiti

Sanjay Gupta in haloFebruary 2010 -- Countless news reports have described efforts to provide emergency health care to survivors of the tragic January 12 earthquake in Haiti. The vast majority of the reports have focused only on the work of physicians, and consulted only physicians for comment, ignoring nurses' expertise and central role in responding to such mass casualty events. Some reports suggested that few nurses had arrived on the devastated island in the early days after the quake, and that many initial foreign aid teams were mostly physicians, which itself suggests a tragic undervaluation of nursing, given the many thousands of nurses worldwide who volunteered to go. In any case, many nurses were already working for NGOs like Médecins Sans Frontières and Partners in Health (which had 600 nurses on the ground in Haiti when the quake struck, along with about 100 physicians). And surely hundreds of nurses were aboard the USNS Comfort when it arrived on January 20 with a crew of more than 1,000. Yet even reports on those efforts generally focused only on physicians. CNN commendably devoted many resources to the story, but it was also a notable source of physician-centric distortions. Consider a couple pieces built on the cable network's reporting whose physician-centrism cannot be linked to any absence of nurses on the ground. A January 13 CNN report by Madison Park explored the grave effects of the quake in a nation whose health system was already fragile, relying solely on physician experts, and implying that only physicians were involved in directing responses to the crisis. And Rahul K. Parikh, M.D.'s January 18 piece on the Salon web site was a love letter to CNN "medical correspondent" Sanjay Gupta, M.D., who had apparently single-handedly saved the lives of some badly injured Haitians by caring for them overnight after a group of U.N. workers were ordered to evacuate. Oh, some unnamed Belgian U.N. nurse did "accompany" Gupta, and Parikh allowed in passing that she had the "chutzpah" to disobey the evacuation order. But that did not stop Parikh from telling readers over and over that the heroic Gupta alone was responsible for the patients' survival. On the whole, the U.S. media's reporting on the quake offered a relentless vision of post-disaster health care in which nurses play no significant role. more...


Help for Haiti: Learn What You Can Do

Teams of seven

Haiti volunteer ideaWe urge hospitals to consider allowing nurses to take paid leave to volunteer to help those in need after the earthquake in Haiti. And here's another idea about how nurses can afford to volunteer. Consider forming teams of seven nurses each at your institution. If six nurses work an extra 12-hour shift every other week and donate that income to a seventh nurse, the seventh nurse can afford to volunteer in Haiti and the institution should come out even in terms of staffing. Ask human resources personnel at your institution to consider these and other ways to help Haiti. more... and please donate cash, frequent flyer miles or volunteer. Thank you!


Remain in Light

juryFebruary 11, 2010 -- Today the New York Times ran a good piece by Kevin Sack reporting that a West Texas jury had just acquitted nurse Anne Mitchell at the end of a four-day trial for allegedly misusing official information in reporting a physician colleague's unsafe practices to the state medical board. The article is mostly about events immediately surrounding the acquittal. But it does point out that many advocates have been concerned about the case's potential chilling effect on whistleblowers like Ms. Mitchell, and it even consults a national nursing leader, American Nurses Association president Rebecca Patton, who calls the verdict a win for patient safety. The piece might have made clearer that it's not just good policy for nurses to be free to report bad care, but also their professional obligation as patient advocates. The article makes it easy for readers to conclude that the case was brought for questionable reasons, explaining that the physician, the sheriff, and the prosecutor who brought the case had close business and/or personal ties in the small community. The piece might also have mentioned the larger context of nurse-physician relations; this is an extreme case, but of course it is common for physicians to have so much more social and economic power than their nurse colleagues that it can require a great deal of courage for nurses to effectively challenge poor care. And the report might have referred to the legislative status of nurse whistle-blowers in Texas, and proposals for reform. Still, on balance, we commend Mr. Sack and the Times for their helpful reporting on the case. more...

January 2010 News on Nursing in the Media

Care and duty

Medics in AfghanistanJanuary 31, 2010 -- Today the BBC News site posted a good report by Jackie Bird, of the television show Reporting Scotland, about the last training exercise held for a large team of Scottish medics before they leave to take over a field hospital in war-torn Afghanistan. Bird's report features extended comment by three of these reserve Army medics, and two are nurses:  Col. David McArthur, who will be the commander of the Camp Bastion hospital in Helmand Province, and Capt. Margot McCrone, a theater (OR) nurse who has never been deployed before. The report also gives considerable space to a surgeon, Graham Sunderland. Bird's description of the intense 48-hour simulation exercise gives readers a pretty good sense of what the team is facing--and the fact that they are doing so as a team, not a group of physicians with perhaps a few nameless helpers, which is how health missions to unstable parts of the world are often presented in the mass media. The report does seem to fall into the common misconception that nursing occurs only at the bedside, describing Col. McArthur as a "former nurse turned charity boss," as if he could not be a health leader and a nurse at the same time. And the piece is short on details of what the nurses actually do for the kind of critically injured patients they will see. But the report does a good job conveying that nurses are articulate professionals who play a vital role in this kind of care, and even that they can play a leadership role. We thank those responsible. more...


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It hurts

Dell ParkerJanuary 21, 2010 -- In a minor plotline in tonight's Private Practice (ABC), nurse midwife Dell Parker actually shows some autonomy and knowledge in coaching an expectant single mother who is determined to stick to her "natural" birth plan, despite spending three days in labor. The mother ultimately succeeds in her plan and the show displays real sympathy for her. But the plotline also spends time mocking the holistic birth model that she wants and that real midwives follow. And the show gives no real indication of why that birth model might make sense--why, for example, a mother might want to avoid drugs, C-sections, or physicians--offering only the mother's vague statements that she wants to "experience" the birth and to give her baby the "best chance that he can have." The episode also presents Dell less as an expert in natural birth than as someone trying to cope with the mother's odd ideas. And at one point, Dell brings in superstar OB/GYN Addison Montgomery for a consult about the mother's status and options that a real nurse midwife would need no help with, partly undermining the sense that Dell is an autonomous professional. Still, Dell does show psychosocial skill in helping the patient through labor, and he does finally deliver the baby solo with no problems. The plotline ends with the mother looking ecstatic. So we give the show credit for a mildly positive, though deeply flawed, portrayal of a nurse midwife. This episode, "Best Laid Plans," was written by Patti Carr & Lara Olsen. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!


Radical transformation

January 16, 2010 -- Today the Dayton Daily News (OH) ran a fair article by Dave Larsen about a new Carnegie Foundation study by prominent UCSF nursing scholar Patricia Benner and three colleagues calling for U.S. nurses to have at least a bachelor's degree because of the demands of modern nursing practice. cap and diplomaCurrently, an associate's degree is the minimum requirement. The Daily News piece is balanced, allowing both sides of the debate over the bachelor's idea to present their views, although it does not convey how long the debate has been going on, instead making it sound like the idea is novel. And although the piece spends a lot of time on the particulars of associate's and bachelor's training at local colleges and hospitals, it does not get deeply enough into how nurses will practice in a health care environment in which care technology is increasingly complex and their colleagues increasingly have graduate degrees. Among the unanswered questions:  Does any research suggest that patient outcomes are better when nurses have more formal education? (A: Yes.) Is it fair to expect a nurse with an associate's degree to advocate effectively with a physician with eight years of university education? Should patients' lives depend on the nurse being able to overcome that imbalance? Does any other autonomous health profession require less than a master's degree? On the other hand, how would a move to a bachelor's requirement affect the long-standing nursing shortage? Indeed, the piece does not even mention what may be the most radical recommendation in the study:  that all nurses obtain a master's degree within 10 years of starting practice. Still, we thank the Dayton Daily News for making a serious effort to cover the study; we're not aware that any major mainstream press outlet gave the study any attention at all. But imagine the media's reaction if a major foundation proposed adding 1-4 years to physician training! more...


Saving Lives named a 2009 AJN Book of the Year

AJN awardJanuary 2010 -- Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All At Risk has been named a Book of the Year, one of the "most valuable texts of 2009," by the American Journal of Nursing. As announced in this month's issue of the leading journal, Saving Lives was one of the books chosen in the Public Interest and Creative Works category. Judge Karen Roush noted that Saving Lives "provides readers with specific ideas on how to influence the media that could result in a more accurate perception of nursing that improves health care for everyone." She also praised the book's "in-depth comprehensive coverage of the issue" and "clear, well-organized writing." The Truth congratulates all of the book award winners, and thanks Ms. Roush and AJN. See the full awards...


The best medicine in the world

            Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

                                                                        -- Victor Hugo

Ilya Repin. Portrait of the Composer Mikhail Glinka. 1887. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.January 1, 2010 -- Today BBC News posted a very good article by Jane Elliott reporting that the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College, London, has appointed its first "composer in residence," using funds from the PRS Foundation. During his one-year residency, composer John Browne plans to write pieces for the upcoming celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Nightingale's death and a song book for nurses to use on children's wards, among other works. The article relies on Ian Noonan, a lecturer in mental health at the School, who explains that Nightingale herself cited the importance of music in helping patients recover. Noonan's comments are generally helpful, although a couple do suggest that excellent nursing is about some intangible artistic sense and not really about science. This traditional view is understandable--nurses have long embraced the "art of caring" idea as a way to stand out alongside the physicians who get so much more respect for their expertise--but it encourages the public to continue to regard nursing as a kind of paid mothering service rather than the modern scientific profession it is. In any case, Diana Greenman, chief executive of the charity Music in Hospitals, explains that music can help "relieve pain, depression, anxiety and loneliness." Indeed, as the piece reports, music "has been shown to be beneficial in many areas of health, from stroke recovery to lung condition management." We thank Ms. Elliott and the BBC for their report on this innovative area of patient care, in which nurses have often taken the lead. more...


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