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January, February and March 2014 Archives
News on Nursing in the Media


March 2014

February 2014

January 2014


March 2014 Archives


Manly yes

News media around the world assess the current status of men in nursing

nurse holding babyMarch 8, 2014 -- In recent months press sources around the world have run helpful pieces about men in nursing. These reports typically note that the percentage of men in nursing is still no more than 10%, but that it is slowly increasing as stereotypes start to fade due to the Truth's work (just kidding). The articles generally focus on at least one man in nursing, from students to senior ward managers, describing the man's path into the profession and giving some sense of what he does at work. On July 10, 2013, USA Today ran a piece from The Tennessean by Lexy Gross. The article provided basic information about the growing number of men in U.S. nursing--from about 2.7% of nurses in 1970 to about 9.6% in 2011, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report--with background from nursing experts. The piece also profiled a Tennessee nurse who considers it a "manly job" because of the fortitude it requires. On September 27, 2013, the Guardian (UK) ran an installment of its "Day in the life of..." series of health care profiles written by "student nurse" Alex Collyer, a combat medical technician studying nursing at the University of Southampton. We're not fans of the term "student nurse," which suggests that students are already nurses, but Collyer's piece was an engaging account of the rigors of his education, especially the clinical component. On October 9, 2013, the Los Angeles Times ran Ari Bloomekatz's long, powerful profile of David Fuentes, a recent UCLA nursing graduate who overcame a tough background to achieve his dream of becoming a nurse. That piece described some specific things Fuentes does for patients. It also included good quotes from UCLA nursing dean Courtney Lyder, who addressed the stereotypes that remain. And today, the Western Australian published a shorter piece by Connie Clarke that profiled veteran nurse Ian Suttie, a ward manager at Royal Perth Hospital who started out as a London musician. That article also included very good commentary on men in nursing from the Western Australian Health Department's acting chief nurse and midwifery officer Brett Evans. On the whole, these pieces give the public an accurate vision of a future with more men in nursing, while acknowledging the slow pace of progress and the social barriers that remain. We thank those responsible. more...


The No-Fact Zone

Bill O'Reilly and Ezekiel Emanuel face off on quick clinic NPs

Bill O'ReillyMarch 4, 2014 -- In a segment on tonight's edition of the Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly criticized the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) for promoting more use of quick clinics. O'Reilly stated that the clinics did not have any physicians, but were staffed by "physician's assistants and nurse practitioners and things like that." (Things like that?) Guest Ezekiel Emanuel, a physician who is one of the designers of the ACA, noted correctly that physicians are not required for "every part of your health care." O'Reilly agreed, but said that "if I want a strep throat diagnosis, I don't want Lenny who just came out of the community college." Emanuel responded: "Excuse me, but those are nurse practitioners, it's not Lenny out of a community college, and it is just putting a swab back there, and getting a strep throat assessment." We thank Emanuel for making clear that nurse practitioners (NPs) have more education than community college and that physicians are not required for all aspects of health care. It would have been even better for viewers to hear that NPs typically have graduate degrees in nursing and that they excel not just at care that people may see as straightforward (like a strep throat diagnosis) but comprehensive primary care, which many NPs give in their independent health practices. Emanuel was arguing that the growth of quick clinic health care was no problem in part because it's straightforward and therefore does not require a physician. But in fact, decades of research shows that the care of NPs and other advanced practice nurses is at least as effective as the care of physicians even for health issues that are not so straightforward. In any case, we urge Mr. O'Reilly to avoid further misstatements about the value of nursing care. more...


The world outside the cave

Physician writers salute nurses in the elite media

Richard GundermanMarch 3, 2014 -- The last few months have seen a striking range of elite media items in which physician writers have recognized the importance and expertise of nurses, from famous figures of the past to unnamed nurses in current practice. On December 16, 2013, Richard Gunderman had a piece in The Atlantic, "Midwives for the Dying," in which he argued that death has a lot in common with birth. To illustrate this theme he offered an extensive, thoughtful interview with Michigan palliative care nurse Peg Nelson. Ten days later, Barron Lerner posted a review on the New York Times Well blog of a book by Yale historian Naomi Rogers about Elizabeth Kenny, an Australian nurse who played a prominent role in early polio care and emphasized patient mobility and "keen clinical observation." On February 10, 2014, Lawrence K. Altman wrote a Well blog post about an "eminent" medical professor's belated realization, after a hospitalization at age 90, that nurses were important to his care. The piece shows genuine appreciation for nurses' knowledge and their role in catching deadly errors, but it does not show an understanding that they are autonomous professionals who save lives following their own practice model, not just valuable physician assistants. And today, Victoria Sweet penned an essay, "Far More Than a Lady With a Lamp," about the radical change in her opinion of Florence Nightingale when she actually began to learn about the British nurse's pioneering work on hospital design, data-driven health research, and other public health matters. We thank those responsible for all of these items. It's not that nurses need physicians to approve their work, of course. But the pieces signal openness to a serious consideration of nurses' health care skills, and physician-created media about nursing may be more persuasive to the public than media by nurses themselves would be. more...


February 2014 Archives



Is Baylor ad praising its nurses as "servants" a problem?

Baylor servantsFebruary 2014 -- The Baylor Health Care System has recently run television ads based on the idea that its employees are faithful "servants." That concept is rooted in the non-profit company's Christian heritage and, presumably, in a recent management trend toward presenting a range of private sector workers (including executives) as "servants." The one-minute ad features many apparent nurses in clinical settings, and it certainly seems to show them in a positive light. But many nurses have objected to being presented as "servants." They have a point. Nurses have long been regarded as low-skilled physician servants--indeed, they have been encouraged to embrace an ideal of selfless devotion that has hardly helped them get the respect and resources they deserve. And the nurse scenes in the ad emphasize what seem to be the most unskilled tasks with which nurses are associated, including hand-holding, mopping brows, wheeling gurneys, changing "hearts" and sheets, and picking things up off the floor. Meanwhile, apparent physicians in the ad act as servants by doing research and cutting-edge surgeries, changing "minds" and "tomorrow." The servanthood theme may hold some appeal as a matter of spirituality or marketing, but it's dangerous to apply to a traditionally female profession that has struggled to overcome the notion that it simply serves physicians and to get respect for its advanced education and skills. We urge Baylor not to associate nursing with servanthood, or at least to ensure that it be expressed at least in part through nurses' life-saving expertise. more...


Animal Control

Goodbye to Parks & Rec and nurse Ann Perkins

February 24, 2015 -- Tonight's series finale of the NBC sitcom Parks & Recreation included a final appearance by nurse character Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones), the long-time best friend of the lead character, government manager Leslie Knope. Up until her January 2014 departure from the show, Ann was arguably the mockumentary's most normal character--smart, supportive, and relatively adult, although with enough quirks to be credible and entertaining. Ann Perkins Parks & RecIn a sense, Ann was like nurse Carla from NBC's earlier sitcom Scrubs. Carla was bright and competent, often playing adult / straight man to the immature kooks around her. But unlike Scrubs, Parks & Rec has not spent a lot of time suggesting that physicians are the directors or providers of all skilled health care. In addition, nurse Ann was capable of acting with real autonomy and skill, at least on the limited number of occasions when we saw health care on Parks & Rec. In a remarkable April 2013 episode, Ann casually maneuvered around an uncaring physician, Nurse Jackie-style, to provide the difficult city worker Ron Swanson with the holistic care he needed to improve his health. And when Ann also became the part-time public relations director of the Pawnee City health department, she showed leadership, at least within the show's comic context, by spearheading public health initiatives including a public service announcement about diabetes in a September 2011 episode. Not every element of the series was great for nursing. For example, the show did not seem to understand that Ann was still acting as a nurse in her health department work. But she was such a strong and persuasive character--Leslie often seemed in awe of her--that the series was a net gain for nursing. We thank those responsible, including show creators Greg Daniels and Michael Schur. more...


Lab Rats experiment a success!

Disney apologizes for mocking NPs on Lab Rats and removes insult from future airings of the episode

Lab Rats castFebruary 11, 2014 -- After many Truth supporters signed our petition about the attack on nurse practitioners (NPs) on Disney XD's Lab Rats, and our good friends at the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) added their voices, Disney apologized and edited the episode to remove the attack on NPs. In a 2013 episode of the tween series about a trio of bionic teens who live with their inventor father, the father mocked his brother by noting that he had turned into "Dr. Evil...or should I say Nurse Practitioner Evil, since you flunked out of med school!" Of course that's absurd. But the underlying assumption that NPs are wannabe physicians is not uncommon, despite all the research showing that NPs provide care that is at least as good as physician care. In any case, in recent letters to AANP and the Truth, Disney apologized and stated that it had removed the NP reference for all future airings of the episode. The company also said that it had shared our concerns with its programming team "in order to raise awareness about portrayals of the nursing profession." We thank Disney for taking these positive steps, and we have closed our petition. But in our response to Disney we renewed our request that the company make amends, perhaps by having an NP character appear as an expert clinician on a future episode of Lab Rats. We thank AANP and the more than 1,500 Truth supporters who signed our petition! more...


January 2014 Archives


Take Action!

Nurse 0D: Nurse 3D finally released

Killer naughty nurse movie has arrived. Please sign our petition!

Nurse 3D posterJanuary 27, 2014 -- On February 7, Lionsgate will finally release Nurse 3D, an erotic thriller about a vengeful nurse who uses her sexuality to target "dishonest" men for "severe" punishment. We expressed concern about the film when production began in 2011 and were hoping it would never see wide release, but now the film's site states that it will be in AMC theaters in some major U.S. markets and on demand just in time for Valentine's Day 2014. Despite suggestions by Lionsgate executives that the film's theme is novel and original, it is really just a variation on the classic naughty nurse stereotype that has become well-established in other horror films and ads, such as the posters used to promote the 2006 release of Lionsgate's own Saw III--posters on which Nurse 3D seems to be based. Such imagery, which we call the "naughty-axe," unites the profession's naughty and battle-axe images in one unsavory package of sex and violence. So it suggests that nursing is all about mindless feminine extremes, rather than life-saving work for skilled professionals of both genders. We always hesitate to criticize media when we have only seen the trailer, but these two and a half minutes make it pretty clear that the main character is a sadistic, sexually aggressive killer with severe psychological issues (new tag line: "your pain is her pleasure"). Sign the Petition!It's hard to see how a film with that basic outline could avoid reinforcing these enduring nursing stereotypes. Please join us in urging those involved in the release of Nurse 3D, including the prominent theater chain AMC, to pull the film from theatrical and on demand release and to make amends for the damage the film will likely cause. Click here to go straight to our letter-writing campaign! (Put your comments to the filmmakers in the "Why is this important to you" box.) Thank you!


Cheesy McNuggets

Taiwan McDonald's greets new year with naughty nurses!

McDonalds TaiwanJanuary 6, 2014 -- Today the RocketNews24 website (Tokyo) posted a gleeful piece by Joan Coello reporting that at least one McDonald's outlet in Taiwan was celebrating the new year by having its female staff work in naughty nurse outfits. Numerous images made clear that the outfits featured, as the item noted, "mini-length nurse uniforms and thigh-high lacy stockings."  The piece's text conveyed non-stop delight about this turn of events, and it made this telling observation: "Some say you can never have the best of both worlds, but from where we're sitting, these young ladies have found the golden formula to being both cute and sexy at the same time!" Yes, that golden formula does just about cover the range of female potential in the workplace! And the piece focuses on how the outfits affected male patrons, many of whom evidently expressed interest in the staffers' relationship status. Both the website item and the restaurant outfits reinforce the naughty nurse image that infects media worldwide. Of course promotional efforts like this are light-hearted and no one thinks these are really nurses. But the wave of imagery associating nursing with workplace sexuality undermines respect for the profession at a time when nurses struggle to get the resources they need to save lives--including lives threatened by diseases related to poor diet, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer. We urge McDonald's and RocketNew24 to avoid promoting naughty nurse imagery. more...


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