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News on Nursing in the Media

Could 600,000 nurses help Make Poverty History?

June 24, 2005 -- Today the Daily Mail (U.K.) ran a short, unsigned piece about the Royal College of Nursing's support for the Make Poverty History campaign. The RCN reportedly stressed the link between ill health and poverty, and it called for the G8 to help developing nations train and retain their health staff, in order to stem the "exodus" that has crippled many health systems, especially in Africa. The RCN reportedly has plans for rallies in London and Edinburgh in connection with the G8 Summit at Gleneagles (Scotland) in early July. more...

"What are doctors?!"

June 23, 2005 -- Tonight's episode of the popular television game show "Jeopardy!" featured the following clue: "The Golden Lamp Awards are bestowed for the best portrayals of these health professionals in the media." Of course, the Center gives these awards annually to recognize good (and bad) portrayals of nursing. Although we might have preferred a clue that communicated more of the substance of nursing, the way the clue played out on the show struck us as a great illustration of the attitudes that are the very object of our work. Upon the reading of the clue, one of the three contestants--a medical student--quickly, almost gleefully, answered: "What are doctors?!" more...

The Paper Bag Princesses

June 24, 2005 -- Today the web site Hindu Business Line (Madras, India) ran a generally fair piece by Sreedevi Jacob about the recent trend of female nurses from the Indian state of Kerala migrating to the U.S. or the U.K., rather than the Gulf nations that were once their main destination for good jobs. Unfortunately, the Women's Feature Service piece reports, these nurses are finding a distinct "shortage of bridegrooms" among their male Kerala counterparts in the new nations. This is because those "highly skilled professionals" do not want wives with the traditional stigma of being nurses, who are felt to do "the dirty job of touching 'unknown' men." more...

The Arithmetic of Nurses

As a poor "sick old man" struggles to speak, his home care nurse takes the measure of his decline. This is the nurse-patient interaction at the heart of Liz Dubelman's "VidLit," which combines Veneta Masson's bleak poem with Paca Thomas' flash animation and plaintive music. The matter-of-fact text, recited matter-of-factly by J. Chaisson, charts the human spirit straining to break through physical decay and social neglect. As we listen, some of the poem's words and numbers pulse, slide and bounce around the screen, while a series of black-and-white still photographs provides images of key people and themes. Some aspects of the portrayal of nursing are troubling. But by comparing society's disregard for its "sick old" members to its indifference to the nurses who care for them, the piece deftly links patient advocacy to nursing advocacy. It evokes a kind of quiet outrage. more...

Saintly saints and the canonizers who canonize them

June 19, 2005 -- Stop us if you've heard this one before, but it seems that some people think of nurses as saints. Today's issue of The Age (Melbourne) included Brian Courtis' lengthy, somewhat tongue-in-cheek profile of local actress Georgie Parker, and her television character, nursing unit manager Terri Sullivan, as she departs the popular Australian drama "All Saints." The Channel Seven show has reportedly focused on the lives of nurses at a suburban Sydney hospital for the past seven years. Between Courtis' writing and the reported plotlines of the show itself, we found so many examples of the damaging "angel" stereotype of nursing that we wondered if we had wandered into the middle of a canonization proceeding. Despite one good passage suggesting that television's heroic health care worker narrative may not be doing society any favors at a time of real-world cost-cutting--including nurse short-staffing (!)--most of the piece reinforces the stereotypes that have contributed to the current health care crisis. more...

At the Canadian Museum of Civilization: angels, heroes and the first female army officers in the world

June 18, 2005 -- Today the Ottawa Citizen ran a generally good piece by Shannon Proudfoot about the "first national exhibit on nursing" which is now open at the Canadian Museum of Civilization near Ottawa. The exhibit, "A Caring Profession: Centuries of Nursing in Canada," runs through September 2006. It reportedly explores the history, contributions and diversity of Canadian nurses, from the French Augustine nuns who arrived in the 17th Century to modern nurses, who now face a "quiet crisis." Ms. Proudfoot's piece also includes input from Center executive director Sandy Summers about the traditional stereotypes of nursing--images that the exhibit could help to counter. more...

Virginia physician: "Does ill-tempered doctor really deserve adoration?"

June 26, 2005 -- Today the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg (Virginia) ran an interesting op-ed by primary care physician Patrick Neustatter questioning whether a "curmudgeon doctor," like the lead character on Fox's hot new television drama "House," is really what patients want. The piece uses "House" as a vehicle to explore how the media distorts the reality of health care, with potentially serious real world results, including the unjustified glorification of certain types of physicians. To this end the op-ed relies in part on the Center's own analysis of the physician-centric show. more...

Our Nurses, Ourselves

June 2005 -- The Center has learned that Nancy King Reame, MSN, Ph.D., FAAN, a prominent professor of nursing and research scientist, has been selected as host and spokesperson for "Pregnancy and Newborn Plus," a "new subscription video service on aimed at getting information out to Pregnant Women and New Moms." Professor Reame, a women's health expert at the University of Michigan, notes that she recently completed four days of shooting involving over 30 segments, though of course what is actually used will be up to the producers at iVillage and Hatrack Productions in New York. Professor Reame learned about this position as a result of a Center news alert in April. more...

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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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