Letter to "ER" from Linda Pugh
Dear Mr. Parsons,
As a professional nurse with years of experience, I feel it is incumbent upon me to send you an e-mail voicing my distress over your inaccurate depiction of nursing (particularly the October 9th episode). The health of the nation truly depends on nurses. In a research article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (September 24, 2003), Aiken pointed out the number and education of the nurse makes a difference in the mortality rate in hospitals. People die and develop miserable complications when nurses are not there to recognize what is happening as they deal with serious illness and surgeries. By depicting nurses as having little voice or always being at the beck and call of the physician, ER does much harm. Children, adolescents, and young adults view your show weekly. The message to them is blatant - be a doctor; don't be a nurse. This is harmful to a generation of persons who are making decisions about career paths.
For you and the writers responsible for the show to be cavalier in a time where the shortage of nurses is critical is unconscionable. I urge you to:
- Be more accurate in your portrayal of nurses
- Hire a professional nurse to provide advice on the nursing discipline and share case studies (nurses do very interesting work that IS exciting)
- Be in the forefront using your power to promote the profession rather than tearing it down.
Thank you for your attention to this very important issue.
Linda C. Pugh, Ph.D., R.N.C.
Associate Professor and Director of the Baccalaureate Program
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing