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Sydney Morning Herald reports on Center's "ER" campaign, situation for Australian nurses

November 20, 2003 -- Today's Sydney Morning Herald carried a piece by David Dale, "Maybe it's something about the uniform...," which discussed the Center's campaign to persuade "ER" to portray nurses accurately and the extent to which Australian nurses confront poor images in the media.

The article included quotes from Truth executive director Sandy Summers explaining the reasons for the Center's campaign, the progress of the campaign so far, and the need for nurse advisors to review the show's scripts to prevent further damaging inaccuracies. According to the article, "ER" has been among the 10 most watched series in Australia for the last five years, but it appears that the season now being shown in the U.S. will not be seen there till next year. So Australians "must wait until next year to see how [Australian nurses] react to the 'ER' series that enraged their U.S. colleagues."

On the Australian side, the piece noted that Jill Iliffe, national secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation, "fights a never-ending battle against stereotyped imagery: nurses portrayed as lust objects, doctors' slaves or comedy sidekicks." Even so, Iliffe was reportedly skeptical that many Australian nurses would join the Center's campaign, apparently because, in her view, "most Australians have experienced enough of the work of nurses to separate the 'ER' image from reality." Dale suggested that Australian nurses may be less inclined to react against "ER" because they have a "home grown" series, "All Saints," that "sets an excellent example." Its main character is a nursing unit manager Dale described as "cool, competent and charismatic." Iliffe noted that early on she and colleagues had discussions with those who make "All Saints," and she is confident that it does not portray nurses inaccurately. According to Iliffe, a big problem for Australian nurses is being portrayed in a sexual way. She noted that nurses had persuaded a beer company to change plans to dress women in nurses' uniforms to sell beer at football (soccer) games. Dale concluded that "nurses in Australia seem to be getting the respect they deserve."

See David Dale's "Maybe it's something about the uniform ..." in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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