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News on Nursing in the Media

Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day

July 25, 2005 -- In response to a Center for Nursing Advocacy campaign, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has changed the name of its annual "Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day" campaign to "Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day." Nurses had argued that, since over 100,000 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses provide high quality primary care to the very minority populations the campaign targets, a name change to reflect that would enhance the campaign's effect on those populations, and at the same time address the image problem that is a key factor in the nursing shortage. The Center salutes HHS--especially Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Garth Graham, MD, MPH, and the Office of Minority Health--for its responsiveness, flexibility, and concern for public health. Take a Loved One for a Check Up Day is September 20, 2005. more...

Black ribbons

July 22, 2005 -- Today the Lucknow Newsline posted an unsigned Express News Service piece about the effects of a brief nurses' strike in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The story is notable for the apparent desperation of the nurses to have their demands considered, and for its account of what happens when nurses are absent, which suggests something of what nurses normally do for patients. more...

The White Stripes: "The Nurse"

June 7, 2005 -- "Get Behind Me Satan," the gloriously off-kilter new album from Detroit garage rock duo The White Stripes, features more weird tales of alienation and lost love from alternative It Guy Jack White. But the second track, "The Nurse," uses an unholy mix of nursing imagery, complete with maid and mother references, to make a seemingly banal complaint about betrayal that isn't worthy of White--to say nothing of the skilled nurses who might be called upon to save his life if he gets into another serious bar fight. more...

BBC: "The nurse who inspired Live Aid"

July 1, 2005 -- Today the BBC site posted a story by Jane Elliott about Claire Bertschinger, the young U.K. nurse who appeared in an influential 1984 BBC report surrounded by 85,000 starving Ethiopians, and who reportedly inspired Bob Geldof to create the original Band Aid single and Live Aid. Bertschinger has just published an autobiography, "Moving Mountains," about her time in Ethiopia. The BBC piece is a flawed but powerful reminder of the central and extraordinarily difficult roles nurses play in developing world health care, roles that are too often overlooked in media reports. more...


July 16, 2005 -- Today the Trinidad & Tobago Express ran a short piece by Louis B. Homer on evidence presented to a local Commission of Enquiry about verbal abuse by physicians and other problems nurses face at a local hospital. The article, "Nurses at Sando hospital cry abuse from doctors," underlines the threat such abuse poses to nurses and patients, as well as the lack of resources and opportunities that are driving nurses abroad and contributing to nursing shortages in the developing world. more...

"The Blow" by J. M. Coetzee

June 27, 2005 -- Barbra said people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. And J. M. Coetzee's short story "The Blow" also seems to honor human co-dependence, showing how even severe breaks in our lives can lead to new and unexpected social bonds. A solitary older Australian despairs when his leg is amputated after a bicycle accident. Who should end up saving his life but his Croatian home care nurse, his "day help," who offers not just expert care but also someone for him to love and care for. The story, actually an excerpt from Coetzee's forthcoming novel Slow Man, is not without handmaiden elements. In some ways it presents nursing more as a vital craft, or perhaps a female art, than as a scientific profession. And it's not entirely clear where nursing stops and the patient's love for his nurse begins. Even so, the Nobel Prize-winning South African's story offers a compelling, nuanced vision of the power of nursing in rehabilitation, and the dynamics of the relationship between an isolated patient and his nurse. more...

That Not-Obscure-Enough Object of Desire

July 20, 2005 -- Today Reuters ran a brief unsigned item reporting that the Spanish nursing council was protesting the use of "50 mini-skirted models" dressed as nurses at a stock market share launch by cosmetic surgery firm Corporacion Dermoestetica. There is no indication of whether any models appeared at the share launch dressed as cosmetic surgery firm executives. The piece suggests, as did a similar ad campaign launch by Virgin Mobile Canada in March, that the harmful "naughty nurse" image remains a mainstream advertising staple throughout the developed world. more...

"Nurses: Kick out sex-mad Makosi"

July 8, 2005 -- Today The Sun (U.K.) ran a short, unsigned piece reporting that a group of nurses is calling for a young cardiac nurse to be "struck off" the list of licensed nurses by the Nurses and Midwifery Council because she appeared to have had "unsafe sex" during a "boozy orgy" on the U.K. reality show "Big Brother." This situation raises interesting issues about nurses' professional obligations away from their main work settings, including any duties to model responsible public health conduct or conform to a particular moral code. more...

I'm awaiting you

July 11, 2005 -- Several news outlets have run Mary Sibierski's Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) piece about a new ad campaign by Poland to lure tourists with a poster featuring a mildly suggestive photo of a female "nurse" with the words "I'm awaiting you." The nurse poster follows one featuring a hot male plumber who assures viewers that he is staying in Poland, a joke about Western European fears of an influx of Polish "tradesmen." This is one of the least naughty "naughty nurse" images we have seen, but "trading" on that nursing stereotype remains a problem. 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 650 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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