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News on Nursing in the Media

AP: "Nurses Care for the Niger's Malnourished"

July 29, 2005 -- Today the Guardian (U.K.) site posted a powerful AP story by Nafi Diouf about efforts by Doctors Without Borders and the U.N. to cope with the devastating famine in Niger, where almost a third of the population is "in crisis." The Doctors Without Borders mobile health team profiled in the piece is led by a nurse, and is composed of nine nurses, eight nutritional assistants, and two drivers. more...

Can naughty nurse imagery launch a career?

August 2005 -- The cover of this month's issue of the Australian magazine Ralph features Gianna, a former contestant on Australia's "Big Brother" program, in a "naughty nurse" outfit that is essentially bikini underwear. Just an isolated effort to sell magazines by exploiting the nurse-as-sex-worker image that has contributed to the global nursing crisis? Hardly. Gianna, who hopes to make it in film and TV, apparently made a different naughty nurse outfit a major feature of her time on the popular reality show. She auctioned that outfit off very publicly last month for the benefit of the World Society for the Protection of Animals. Whatever her other attributes, Gianna is an innovator: we are not aware of another high profile attempt to establish a mainstream entertainment career largely through naughty nurse imagery. more...

An A+ in Getting the Doctor

July 31, 2005 -- In the episode of HBO's "Six Feet Under" first aired tonight, Nancy Oliver's "Ecotone," the sudden illness of main character Nate takes his family and friends to a hospital, where they interact with nurses and physicians. These health workers are certainly not one-dimensional. But they do conform to the prevailing Hollywood belief that nurses are handmaidens, at times disagreeably petty ones, who assist the smart physicians who provide all important care. The episode suggests that when it comes to an understanding of nursing, dramatic sophistication doesn't count for much. more...

Wrong turns and the Tao of nursing

July 6, 2005 -- Today the Hawaii Channel, the web site for local ABC affiliate KITV, posted a short, unsigned story about a police ceremony honoring Liane Beckwith. Beckwith is a registered nurse and paramedic instructor who had cared for a Honolulu police officer after she saw him gravely wounded by a suspect fleeing in a stolen van. Although the short piece could have given more detail as to how Beckwith used her nursing skills, it seems pretty clear from the story that she saved his life. more...

Sunday Times: "Nurses fight weight test for children"

July 17, 2005 -- Today's Sunday Times (U.K.) includes a story by Sarah-Kate Templeton about the Royal College of Nursing's (RCN) "opposition to government plans to measure and weigh primary school children annually" in order to combat obesity. The RCN argues that these plans are an invasion of the children's privacy and could (in the article's words) "stigmatise fat children." It recommends the use of nurses' drop-in clinics instead. The piece seems to reflect some bias against the nurses' position, and it could have explored the complex issues presented in more depth. But it still presents a good example of nurses' patient advocacy in the public health context. more...

Power, justice, and little white pieces of paper

July 30, 2005 -- Today the Savannah Morning News posted a story about a local primary care physician now serving an eight month sentence in federal prison, apparently in part for signing blank Schedule II substance prescription refills for nurse practitioner (NP) colleagues to use. Such NP prescription is reportedly unlawful in Georgia but in no other U.S. state. Don Lowery's "A doctor's 'conviction' violates the law" reports that Jack Heneisen wrote the prescriptions so that he and the NPs with whom he practiced at a rural Effingham County clinic could handle their huge patient load. Most of the lengthy piece is a fair discussion of the debate between those who favor greater NP autonomy because of its public health benefits, and physicians who claim that the NPs must be under physician control because they lack sufficient training. more...

Let them drink clams

August 5, 2005 -- Global beverage maker Cadbury Schweppes has told the Center that it will make a limited effort to curtail the final two weeks of a Canadian television ad campaign for Mott's Clamato juice that features a naughty nurse image. The company released a statement today that assured nurses that it did not mean to disparage their profession. But the message seemed mainly intended to justify the ads through an explanation of the company's "fun and entertaining" marketing strategy, which has "one primary message: nothing is as spicy as Mott's Clamato." We're entertaining other slogans that would be equally relevant to the ad campaign, such as: "Nothing is as spicy as a deadly nursing shortage." more...

"Helen Wheels, R.N." -- CompuCaddy pulls battleaxe ad

July 25, 2005 -- Diversified Designs has pulled a print ad for CompuCaddy computer stands that showed an unhinged nurse--"Helen Wheels"--who was furious because the prior shift had left the computer battery uncharged. The Kentucky company acted after several nurses pointed out that the ads, run for six months in health industry magazines, exploited the regressive "battleaxe" stereotype. In a telephone call with the Center today, Diversified Designs president Greg Likins profusely apologized to nurses for the negative effect the ad had on nursing's image. He also noted that a follow up ad featuring a happy "Helen Wheels" with a fully charged CompuCaddy will also be pulled. The angry ad appeared in magazines for six months, yet the company agreed to pull it after receiving only the third letter of protest. This shows the importance of acting quickly and collectively to improve negative images of nursing, including by alerting the Center to poor images. more...

We need your letters on the University of Alberta campaign!

Please don't fail to send a letter on our campaign regarding the recent controversy surrounding the lyrics of a "Nurses' Song" performed by University of Alberta medical students at their annual "Medshow." The song asserted that nurses were "wh*res" and "b*tches" whose "incompetence" threatened to "make our patients die." But at least the medical students felt nurses were qualified to "fill up my coffeepot" and "give good head," and the refrain urged nurses to "show me those boobs." The students who created and performed this song have yet to take individual responsibility for it. Nor has the University agreed to take significant steps toward increasing medical students' understanding of the nursing profession. We already have the letter drafted, all you have to do is type in your contact information and hit send. Please join the 700 nurses who have sent letters to date, and let's double the number by next week. Thank you! Read more or click here to send the letter!

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Thank you for helping us to improve nursing's media image. Please circulate our news alerts to your colleagues or post them on a bulletin board at work or school if you can, to help empower other nurses and/or students, and encourage them to take a leading role in working to educate the world about the value of nursing. Thank you.

Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Executive Director, The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, MD USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1100
fax 1-410-510-1790


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