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State of Tomorrow

November 26, 2007 -- Today the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) announced the four winners of its 2007 Media Awards. The awards went to: "State of Tomorrow...Rising Challenges. Higher Education Solutions," a documentary about the nursing shortage shown on Texas PBS stations, by the University of Texas, Alphaeus Media, and Texas Tech University's School of Nursing; "Vietnam Nurses with Dana Delany," a documentary about U.S. nurses during the Vietnam War shown on Women's Entertainment Television, by Creative Street Entertainment by director David H. Smith, and producers Steven Katzenberger and Dan Meadows; "Charting Nursing's Future," a series of policy briefs about the nursing shortage posted on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation web site and distributed to a "target audience" by mail, by Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, Michelle A. Larkin, and Jeri Spann; and "Mommy's Light Lives On: Education for and about Bereaved Children," a multi-media project by Margaret "Mimi" Mahon, PhD, RN, FAAN (honorable mention). The Center congratulates all the winners and thanks the AAN for continuing to recognize the importance of media about nursing.

According to the AAN materials, "State of Tomorrow" raised awareness among policy makers and the general public of the nursing shortage in Texas. It reportedly has a special focus on the shortage of resources for nursing education:

The documentary calls attention to the steps schools are taking to increase enrollment and rectify this problem. Specifically, the film focuses on the roles of innovation, technology and simulation in expanding the educational response to the nursing shortage via an emphasis on quality and safety.

The AAN material also suggests that the high-quality documentary may be helpful as a recruiting tool.

"Vietnam Nurses with Dana Delany" is reportedly the first documentary to address the Vietnam War from the perspective of nurses. It tells the "emotional story of nurses whose lives were forever changed by the casualties of war":

Vietnam Nurses focuses on the American nurse during the Vietnam War, but the lessons learned in the documentary can be applied to any nurse or health care worker going to or returning from a tour of duty. The contributions that nurses make during a time of war are immeasurable, and this documentary helps to bring those stories of selflessness, courage and sacrifice to the limelight.

The film is narrated by actress Delany, who played skilled nurse Colleen McMurphy in the late 1980's television drama "China Beach."

"Charting Nursing's Future" is a series of "policy briefs" that the AAN materials report are posted on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) web site "and distributed to [a] target audience in print through [the] mail." The AAN says the briefs were researched and written by Spann Communications with input from RWJF, which makes grants to nursing scholars and others. The series was designed to help policy makers address the nursing shortage:

The briefs are distributed to state and national policy makers, professional associations, healthcare academics, hospital leaders, and nursing funders. ... Participants from four focus groups recruited to assess the Charting Nursing's Future series offered strong and uniformly positive feedback about the relevance and usefulness of the series.

Finally, the AAN reports that "Mommy's Light Lives On," which received honorable mention, is a bereavement support effort for children. The bereavement information is distributed through the Internet at; pamphlets, and DVDs. The AAN provides no more detail, but the website explains how the organization helps the children of mothers who have died and other family members.

We salute the winners and encourage everyone follow their example in creating media that increases public understanding of nursing.

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