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News on Nursing in the Media

Schering-Plough asks "ER" to portray nursing accurately

April 26, 2005 -- Today pharmaceutical giant Schering-Plough asked "ER" Executive Producer John Wells to help address the nursing shortage by developing "stories that highlight accurate roles, responsibilities, skills and contributions of today's modern nursing profession." more...

What's the differential diagnosis for chronic handmaiden-itis with persistent physician nursing? Quick! The patient is dying!

May 24, 2005 -- The season's last two episodes of Fox's hit "House," culminating in tonight's finale (19.7 million viewers), continued the show's grossly inaccurate depiction of nurses as uneducated, peripheral subordinates and physicians as the brilliant providers of all meaningful health care. Both episodes mostly ignore nurses, showing physicians doing important work that is really done primarily or exclusively by nurses, including monitoring patients, providing emotional support, giving medications, and doing defibrillation. But one short scene in the May 17 episode, show creator David Shore's "Three Stories" (17.7 million viewers), is a small masterpiece of anti-nurse distortions. It deserves close attention in an era in which the mass media plays a major role in driving the nursing shortage that threatens lives worldwide. more...

Everybody Writes Raymond: Huge sitcom writing team comes up with hilarious new "naughty nurse" joke for series finale

May 16, 2005 -- Tonight's series finale of CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond" included a couple questionable nurse-related elements, including a nurse-as-sex-object joke so tired that it's hard to describe without falling asleep. The 10 writers credited with the episode are Philip Rosenthal, Ray Romano, Tucker Cawley, Lew Schneider, Steve Skrovan, Jeremy Stevens, Mike Royce, Aaron Shure, Tom Caltabiano, and Leslie Caveny. The long-running sitcom is now out of production, but the finale was reportedly seen by more than 32 million people. more...

Grey, green, and the thin white line

May 25, 2005 -- Today the Philadelphia Inquirer published a powerful op-ed by David L. Knowlton protesting the "I hate nurses" approach of ABC's huge new hit "Grey's Anatomy." Knowlton (right) is the former deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and he now heads up the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. The op-ed makes great points about how poor depictions of nursing in popular mass media products like the show harm nursing and public health at this time of critical shortage, and it urges everyone who works to improve the quality of health care to speak up about it. We were especially impressed with the piece's discussions of Dana Beth Weinberg's book Code Green and the "Grey's Anatomy" series premiere, perhaps in part because those discussions contained a small amount of material taken verbatim (but without attribution) from the Center's own recent reviews of those works. We commend Mr. Knowlton and the Inquirer for publishing the parts of the op-ed that he wrote, and the parts that we wrote! more...

Brand New Day

May 25, 2005 -- Today the Belfast Telegraph ran Nigel Gould's profile of uro-oncology nurse Jenny Kelly, who heads up Belfast City Hospital's Men Against Cancer Clinic, where she saves lives by "helping men overcome their embarrassment about going for a check-up." The piece is a generally good portrait of a nursing leader who is improving access to care by changing the way it is a delivered--a classic nursing intervention. more...

Live 8, Nursing Division

May 25, 2005 -- Today Business Day (Johannesburg) ran a short piece by Razina Munshi about the recent call of South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang for local nurses to stop migrating to the developed world. The piece reports that the Health Minister stressed that such global migration undermines developing nations' investment in their health professionals, and threatens already weakened local health systems. more...

"Nurse shortage hits health, economy"

May 13, 2005 -- Today the Post and Courier of Charleston, SC, published a reasonable, well-written op-ed by Medical College of South Carolina College of Nursing Dean Gail W. Stuart. Dean Stuart argues that her state's severe nursing shortage--and especially the lack of resources for advanced nursing education--threatens not only residents' health, but the state's economic wellbeing. This is an excellent point that is not often made. The op-ed does not really address the underlying causes of the shortage, and it steers clear of discussing more controversial potential solutions--omitting mention of short-staffing and staffing legislation, for instance. more...

Letter from Sioux Lookout: "Nurses help communities thrive"

May 19, 2005 -- Today the Wawatay News (Ontario) posted a very good Nursing Week letter to the editor by Lyn Button, RN, BN, the Zone Nursing Officer of the Sioux Lookout Zone for Health Canada, the nation's federal health department. Ms. Button's letter explains what nurses do for patients and what it takes to be a good nurse today, and it provides special insight into the vital role of nurses in remote rural communities, "where everyone knows everyone else." It is a good example of the kind of advocacy that can help the public--and decision-makers--understand the real value of nursing. more...

New Center FAQ:

Q: I'm having problems with my employer. Can the Center help me?

A: While the Center for Nursing Advocacy would like to help nurses with individual workplace problems, our limited staffing simply does not allow us to do that. Our focus is on promoting the nursing profession generally, rather than advocating for nurses one-by-one. However, we do have many suggestions that may be of use if you have workplace difficulties. See our General Suggestions for Nurses Having Problems in the Workplace FAQ


In our May 17 write-up about the New York Times review of Suzanne Gordon's book Nursing Against the Odds, we mistakenly indicated that all MSN programs either require a prior BSN degree or include one as part of the program, and that all prospective APRNs undergo at least two years of undergraduate education entirely in nursing before pursuing their graduate nursing work. However, we have been advised that some bachelor's-to-MSN programs do not award the BSN degree, and some include only one intense year of undergraduate education solely in nursing, following certain health prerequisites. We understand that such programs do require that students fulfill all requirements for taking and actually take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam before completing their graduate nursing study, as is the case with the UCSF and Yale programs. We have revised our write-up accordingly, and we regret the error.

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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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