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Nursing Punk'd: Virgin Mobile's merry pranksters refuse to let public health stand in the way of a little extra cash

March 5, 2005 -- Today the Toronto Star posted a story about nurses' outrage over a new Virgin Mobile Canada ad campaign featuring naughty "nurse" models equipped to "maximize your pleasure" by relieving consumers of "The Catch," a mock venereal disease associated with rival mobile service providers. The campaign is aimed at introducing Virgin Mobile to the youth-dominated Canadian mobile market. It kicked off on March 1 with a Toronto event in which Virgin mogul Richard Branson made a superhero entrance, rescued three naughty nurse models, and joined them for a snowball fight. The campaign also includes print ads and point of sale cardboard displays of the "nurses," and TV ads appear to be on the way. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is, like, having some chick fit about it, all on about a boycott, a public apology and getting the ads pulled, but yo, these Virgin nurse babes are like so worth it! Take action--send our instant letter to Virgin Mobile!

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The feel-better tool

March 2005 -- This month's issue of Outside includes a one-page item in its Dispatches section (subhead Fitness & Recovery, p. 30) called "Get Well Soon," which describes eight "feel-better tools" designed to relieve pain after the kind of intense activity in which the magazine's readers presumably engage. The visual centerpiece of the item is a large photo by Gregg Segal of a naughty nurse sitting on the arm of a massage chair in which a recovering Outside guy has crashed following his exertions. Of course, by reinforcing the notion that nurses are brainless fantasy babes and thereby exacerbating the nursing crisis, photos like this actually work to decrease "fitness and recovery." We're guessing the irony of that is lost on those at Outside magazine. Read more and send our instant letter!

BBC: Nurses call for legislative staffing levels in Scotland

March 7, 2005 -- Today the BBC News web site posted a short, fairly balanced piece reporting that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called on the Scottish Parliament to legislate nurse staffing levels in the health service. more...

The State of the Profession: "Code White: Nurse Needed"

March 1, 2005 -- Today The State newspaper, of Columbia, South Carolina, ran the final installment of a massive, three-part special report by Linda H. Lamb about the nursing shortage, "Code White: Nurse Needed." The report addresses the causes of and potential solutions to the shortage, and it has many excellent elements, notably extensive examinations of the problems with nursing's public image, issues related to men in nursing, and aspects of the training of new nurses. Perhaps the most glaring problem is the report's failure to mention what many believe is the primary immediate cause of the current shortage, namely the managed care-driven hospital budget cuts of the 1990's which led to the dangerous nurse short-staffing that has driven many nurses from the bedside. The piece gives the impression that any short-staffing is merely an effect of the shortage, rather than a leading cause of it. In addition, a short sidebar on the growing use of foreign nurses in the U.S. fails to mention the devastating effect such migration is having on the health systems of many developing nations. more...


March 2005 -- Currently Lifetime Television is sponsoring a petition drive to persuade Congress to bar "drive-through mastectomies," which involve insurance reimbursement policies that force women to leave hospitals soon after breast cancer surgeries. Though inpatient nursing care is obviously what this legislative drive is mainly about, the network's online message about the petition manages to give the impression that the care is the province of physicians. more...

The nurses' station in life

March 10, 2005 -- Today NPR's Morning Edition broadcast the end of science correspondent Joseph Shapiro's extensive three-part report on the care and recovery of two U.S. Marines recently wounded in the Iraq war. The report, part of NPR's "Span of War" series, is a striking example of what we might call the "nurses' station" school of health care journalism. The report consists of more than 26 minutes of coverage of the Marines' care, from their wounding by Falluja insurgents through their lengthy stateside hospital rehabilitation, amounting to a virtual audio documentary. Listeners hear plenty about how "doctors" have been caring for the Marines, and even some good discussion of the work of their physical therapists. But no nursing is described, no nurses are mentioned or quoted, and the only utterance of the word "nurse" occurs in the second piece when one patient walks past "the nurses' station" at Bethesda Naval Hospital. more...

New Center FAQ:

Q: What is nurse-friendly language and why is it important?

A: The language we use affects how people think about nursing and health care generally. It has long been recognized that the terms used to describe important ideas and subjects have a real effect on how people think, and therefore on what people do. This is true in every field in which public speech is a critical element, including advertising, law, politics and the news media. For instance, a lengthy National Public Radio piece aired on February 28, 2005, examined the media's use of particular terms to describe government programs and proposals, and the pressure that advocates have applied to persuade the media to use certain terms and avoid others. The piece was filed by Brooke Gladstone, a co-host of NPR's "On the Media" program. more...

We will be sending the second set of "ER" sponsor contacts tomorrow. Thanks in advance for joining this week's two new campaigns and working to improve nursing's media image! We can't do it without you.

Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21212-2937