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Pasadena Star News: Center's "ER" campaign and new California staffing law

November 17, 2003 -- Today the Pasadena Star News published a good article by Michelle Rester, "Nurses want more accurate portrayal on 'ER' TV show," which reports on the Center's letter-writing campaign and related efforts by a Pasadena nurse to improve the profession.

The article begins with the Center's argument that during today's critical nursing shortage, it would be helpful to recruiting efforts if "the most influential health-care show on television" portrayed nurses more accurately--an especially powerful point in California, where, as the piece notes, hospitals are scrambling to find nurses in order to comply with the landmark safe staffing law that goes into effect in January. The story explains nurses' concern that the show tends to show physicians doing work that nurses actually do, and includes several helpful quotes from Truth executive director Sandy Summers. (One clarification: to date nurses have written over 100 letters to those responsible for "ER.") The piece also features good quotes about the need to empower nurses and improve their image from Pasadena nurse Genevieve Clavreul--a member of the Center--who is one of the nurses seeking a better portrayal of nursing from "ER" and who is currently working to create an association to advocate for the profession.

The article reports that an anonymous Warner Brothers Television spokesman offered a written statement noting that for 10 seasons, the show "has been acknowledged by the medical community for its positive contributions," and that it will continue to entertain people while "bringing to light the important work of doctors and nurses." The spokesman evidently had nothing to say about "ER"'s story lines, the nursing shortage, or any of the specific concerns of the nurses who have written to the show.

Clavreul said she was disappointed that she had yet to receive a response from "ER," even a month after sending her letter. To the Center's knowledge, not a single nurse who has written to the show since the campaign began in October has received a response from the show's producers.

See Michelle Rester's "Nurses want more accurate portrayal on 'ER' TV show," in the Pasadena Star News.

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