Bullet point guidelines to help write "ER" a letter
Identify the episode(s) by name or date.
Say something positive about "ER" if you can.
State your problems with this episode or the show in general and explain why the portrayals are inaccurate. Here are some suggested problems with "ER" that you may wish to write about in your own words:
Tell "ER" that the effect is that their show is making the nursing shortage worse--because the images of nurses they broadcast strongly and negatively influences the way children view nursing.
In 2000, JWT Communications did focus group studies on 1800 students in grades 2-10 in 10 U.S. cities, and found that the youngsters got their most striking visualization of nursing from "ER." Under "ER"'s influence, the youngsters considered nursing a technical career "like shop"--not a profession. They did not consider nursing a career suitable for private school students, because "more" is expected of them. In their view, nursing was "a girl's job."
In a 2002 Kaiser Family Foundation study, more than half of regular "ER" viewers studied reported that they learned about health issues on "ER" and discussed them with their friends and family. A third used "ER" to help them make choices about their or a family member's health care. The study concluded that it was worth the effort to make entertainment television like "ER" as accurate as possible because of its potential influence on the public. On the other hand, the authors stressed, "fictional depictions could lead to viewers' obtaining inaccurate information or taking away critical misperceptions about health topics."
The JWT and Kaiser research studies above show that many people, especially youngsters, take very seriously what they learn from popular media products like "ER." Yet the show regularly misrepresents nurses as peripheral subordinates to over 20 million U.S. households, at a time when their profession is in crisis.
Ask "ER" to stop misportraying nurses and make amends to the nursing profession by taking steps such as:
Thank them for their time or attention. Please stand behind your letter and sign your full name, full address, email address and telephone number. They will not take you (or the nursing profession) seriously if you fail to include these details.
When we receive a copy of your email, we will also post your letter to our discussion board, along with the other letters that we have received. We are referring NBC and "ER" to these discussion boards--just in case some of them get deleted without being read. It is important to build up an impressive arsenal of letters in one easy-to-reference place. We will post your name, credentials, title, city, state and country. So please include all of this information in your letter. Your email address will not be posted. If you do not wish to have your letter posted, please email us at email@example.com . Thank you!
Thank you for advocating for the nursing profession!