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Landmark Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media is released by STTI

1997 -- The Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media has been released. This important study analyzes 20,000 articles (2600 health articles) published in 16 US newspapers, magazines and health trade publications in September 1997. Less than 1% of the articles in the magazines US News & World Report, Time, Newsweek and Business Week referenced a nurse. Similarly, nurses were referenced in less than 4% of the 2101 newspaper health articles from 7 newspapers across the US. The research was commissioned by Sigma Theta Tau International, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and conducted by the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Below are some of the study's key recommendations.

See The Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media

Recommendations for the media:

  • Use the phrase "consult your (primary) health care provider" instead of "consult your doctor," so that the contributions of nurse practitioners are not ignored;
  • Use the word "physician" instead of "doctor" so that it will be more clear whether the holder of a doctorate is a nurse, physician or other scientist;
  • Use the word "health care" instead of "medicine" to refer to the full range of health care, since equating these two terms is inaccurate and ignores the work of nurses and other professionals; similarly, do not use "medicine" to describe nursing;
  • Seek out nurses for their expertise for all health-related stories;
  • Ask nurses for their credentials in order to reference them correctly in stories;
  • Devote parts of health sections of your publications to nursing;
  • Profile nurses and their work.

Recommendations for nurses:

  • Be more assertive in presenting your research findings to the media;
  • Create a database of experts at the national, state and local levels for the media's use;
  • Identify nurses to speak at public events and promote a professional image;
  • Issue press releases and seek out the media to promote nursing research and stories about nursing;
  • Use marketing and advertising strategies to promote nursing;
  • Write more letters to the editor to highlight underreported (or misreported) issues;
  • Make sure both your educational qualifications and your RN are printed after your name in media stories;

Recommendations for hospitals:

  • Have a nurse spokesperson;
  • Promote a team approach in health care provision.


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