News on Nursing in the Media
April 3, 2005 -- Proving that its series premiere was no fluke, tonight's episode of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" offered 18.2 million viewers more of its surgical intern characters' explicit contempt for nursing. But perhaps the episode's most notable feature was its relentless portrayal of physician nursing, as the physicians basically handled all meaningful patient care by themselves. Show creator Shonda Rhimes wrote the episode. The show's attractive lead actors and yearning guitar pop soundtrack seem to be persuading viewers to overlook some bogus writing and less than credible plotting, and it is shaping up to be a major new force in fostering inaccurate attitudes toward nursing. Read more and send our new instant letter!
April 2, 2005 -- Wal-Mart recently agreed to change a print advertisement for its scrubs, placed in some March 2005 nursing journals, that suggested that nurses are intellectually inferior to surgeons. The ad featured a nurse dressed in scrubs standing behind a patient's leg cast. Writing on the cast read: "It doesn't take a brain surgeon to recognize a good deal on scrubs." Even if you aren't a brain surgeon, we're sure you can see that this ad implies that nurses, despite their limits, can at least recognize a bargain when they see one. more...
April 3, 2005 -- Today the Sunday Times (U.K.) ran a fairly good piece by Richard Brooks about a new documentary film produced by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to explain nursing to the public and close the gap between the profession's image and reality. The story, entitled "Ooh matron, this is a new breed of nurse," discusses the profession's traditional "battleaxe or bimbo" image and (briefly) its current recruiting problems. more...
March 30, 2005 -- Today the Women's eNews web site posted a very good commentary by Sheila Gibbons about the low visibility of nurses' work in the media, apart from stories about the nursing shortage. The piece explains why the news and entertainment media's treatment of nurses matters, and suggests that more attention to nurses' real contributions is a key part of overcoming the current nursing crisis. more...
April 5, 2005 -- Today Newsday ran an interesting AP story by Timothy Inklebarger about a bill pending in the Alaska legislature that would allow mental health inpatients to express a gender preference for "intimate care." The piece, "Bill would let patients pick nurse gender," does a good job of including brief comments from supporters and opponents of the bill, but it could have explained the bill better and explored some of the issues presented in more depth. more...
New Center FAQ:
A: In the most basic sense, the current global nursing shortage is simply a widespread and dangerous lack of skilled nurses who are needed to care for individual patients and the population as a whole. The work of the world's estimated 12 million nurses is not well understood, even by educated members of society. But nursing is a distinct scientific field and autonomous profession whose skilled practitioners save lives and improve patient outcomes every day in a wide variety of settings. In the Center's view, the vast gap between what skilled nurses really do and what the public thinks they do is a fundamental factor underlying most of the more immediate apparent causes of the shortage. These causes include nurse short-staffing, poor work conditions, inadequate resources for nursing research and education, the aging nursing workforce, expanded career options for women, nursing's predominantly female nature, the increasing complexity of health care and care technology, and the rapidly aging populations in developed nations. Because studies have shown that an inadequate quantity of skilled nurses in clinical settings has a significant negative impact on patient outcomes, including mortality, the nursing shortage is literally taking lives, and impairing the health and wellbeing of many millions of the world's people. It is a global public health crisis. more...
Below is a nursing media opportunity from The Newborn Channel that we have agreed to include in our news alert. We believe it is important that a well-qualified nurse appear in the potentially influential iVillage video involved. We encourage our news alert subscribers to apply and/or urge qualified nursing colleagues to do so, because we know you are aware of the problems with media images of nursing and that you will work to avoid them. Please note that the opportunity requires shooting in the New York area in early May, and that the reply deadline is this Tuesday, April 12.
The Newborn Channel is looking for an RN or Nurse Practitioner to be the host and spokesperson for "Pregnancy and Newborn Plus"--a new subscription video service on iVillage.com aimed at getting information out to Pregnant Women and New Moms. We are looking for someone in the New York Metropolitan area with Labor & Delivery and/or OB/Gyn or Pediatric experience. Public speaking or on-camera experience a-plus. This will be a paid position requiring 3-4 days of shooting in early May. If you are interested in auditioning, please contact the producer, Alison Sandler, no later than next Tuesday, April 12th at email@example.com. Please include your contact information, professional affiliation, and resume (and photo, if possible).
Thanks to everyone who responded about our April Fool's Day satire, which the vast majority seemed to enjoy. We wrote the satire to make serious comments about the lack of understanding of nursing, but also for what we hoped was a little comic relief for those of us engaged in the often frustrating work of improving the nursing image. We also wanted to present a vision, albeit an irreverent one, of what a really serious response to the nursing crisis might look like. Realizing that some might be unsure as to whether our piece was real, we included an "April Fool's" warning at the end. We regret any confusion.
If you haven't yet, please send our instant (or your original) letters on our two most important campaigns: "Grey's Anatomy" and our "ER" sponsors campaign. Thanks for all that you do to improve nursing's media image.
Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Executive Director, The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, MD USA 21212-2937
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