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News on Nursing in the Media

U.S. News & World Report: "Who Needs Doctors?"

US News coverJanuary 31, 2005 - February 7, 2005 -- This week's issue of U.S. News & World Report features a massive special health report, including six significant articles and three related items. Its basic theme is that as the medical profession struggles with the pressures of managed care, insurance and generational shifts, other professionals are increasingly providing care that used to be the exclusive province of physicians. The report features an unusually positive--even glowing--look at the work of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). It also has a valuable discussion of some of the major challenges facing physicians today, though it appears to overstate medicine's distress. Some of the report gives readers the impression that APRNs are worthy of attention because they're doing things physicians do, whereas other nurses--the vast majority--remain engaged in what the report seems to view as the traditionally subservient and intellectually limited work of...nursing. In this sense, the report may actually reinforce regressive attitudes: nurses matter to the extent they can act like physicians. Thus, despite a little material on non-practitioner nurses and a short sidebar on the nursing shortage, the report does not convey that nursing as a whole is as vital and important to society's overall health as medicine is. more...

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JibJab uses "naughty nurse" images to mock Clinton--and idea of national health care plan! Dude!

JibJab health care photoJanuary 29, 2004 -- Internet video kings JibJab are currently marketing an extensive array of merchandise under the label "National Healthcare" featuring an image of President Clinton as a hospital patient with his arms around two provocatively dressed "naughty nurses" as he grabs their breasts. The cutting-edge message of the products is that Clinton likes to have sex with women who are not his wife. But this is not just a questionable reference to the former president's recent quadruple bypass surgery, his late mother's profession, or even the idea of a national health care system. It also perpetuates the "naughty nurse" stereotype that has long held nursing back, at a time of critical shortage, with the same young audience the profession needs to resolve the crisis that is threatening lives worldwide. Click here to read more and send our instant letter!

"Less than a minute away, Doctor."

Strong Medicine photoJanuary 16, 2005 -- The above words were the only ones spoken by any nurse character in tonight's one hour episode of Lifetime's "Strong Medicine," which focused on Rittenhouse Hospital's new Emergency Medical Services center, and which may serve as a pilot for a spinoff series called "Strong Medicine: First Response." The new series would center on a white paramedic and her adoptive sister, the black chief of trauma medicine. This episode was essentially "Strong Medicine" meets "Third Watch," and it offered a vision of emergency care in which only physicians and paramedics played roles of any significance. The episode was written by Tammy Ader and Lisa Melamed. more...

New Truth FAQ:

Q: Why aren't you more excited that public opinion polls often put nurses at the top of the list of "most trusted" and "most ethical" professions?

A: Of course, there's nothing inherently bad about being trusted! A desire to care for others (as opposed to money, power or status) has traditionally been a major factor in why people choose to become nurses. And the public has tended to recognize that such care givers generally have their patients' best interests at heart. The reason the "most trusted" poll results don't do too much for us is that this public view often goes hand in hand with the prevailing vision of nurses as devoted, angelic handmaidens. more...

How can you improve nursing's image in your corner of the world?

While we at the Truth work to improve some of the more widely-distributed images of nursing, we try to improve nursing images in our local communities as well. This week, the students in my 6-year-old son's Kindergarten class were each asked to create a poster about a favorite American and give a presentation to the class. My son, Cole, searched through various popular figures for ideas. Then I showed him the Truth's biography on Mary Breckinridge. Breckinridge founded the Frontier Nursing Service nearly a century ago in rural Kentucky. FNS nurse-midwives rode horseback to provide care to pregnant mothers and their children, and they vastly reduced the high rates of maternal and child mortality. Sure, I could have presented Cole with more options of prominent Americans, but we had information on this great leader at our disposal and he became genuinely interested in her work. Soon, we created a compelling poster full of photos and information, and he was excited about his class presentation. This may not have a huge effect on nursing's image, but 24 kids and two teachers learned that nurses can be heroes and save lives. That doesn't happen every day.

So we urge you to take ownership of the nursing image in your own community by teaching kids, adults and your local media about what nurses do to save and improve lives. We have more ways you can help improve nursing's image on our take action page.

We keep our nursing pioneer profiles on our press room page, mainly so the media can learn about these leaders. We would like more profiles. So if you have one ready to go, or would like to write one for us, please let us know so we can bring the work of more nursing pioneers to the public.

Below is a list of our current letter-writing campaigns. Please join all you agree with!

JibJab; "Scrubs"; Smart Money; Bras 'n Things; "ER"; 3 Wishes Lingerie; Passions

We're counting on you to help us make this work. Thank you!

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

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