News on Nursing in the Media
Tip No. 76: For even quicker attention, drive your Hummer straight into the ER. Then offer the triage nurse a chocolate if he'll let you see the physician before all those little pedestrians!
November 2005 -- This month's Good Housekeeping includes 75 "surprising" health tips from "doctors" nationwide. Though nurses excel at such practical advice, not one tip comes from a nurse. That's not "surprising," but we were a bit puzzled by the contempt for nurses we saw in several tips. Michael Roizen, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic, advises readers to "get better [hospital] care" by "supplying the staff with treats." "Dr. X," whose ED tips are presumably considered so hot that his or her identity must be shielded, tells patients to lie to the triage nurse about when symptoms began in order to be seen faster, but to "tell the doctor exactly when symptoms began." In addition to being offensive, uninformed, and likely to backfire, this advice shows real indifference to public health. The tips were "reported" by Janet Bailey, Janice Graham and Leslie Pepper. Good Housekeeping has a reported circulation of five million and a readership of 22 million. Click here to read more and join our letter-writing campaign...
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
November 14, 2005 -- This morning, NBC's popular "Today" show included a short, troubling segment with reporter Janice Lieberman about the recent growth in nurse practitioner-staffed "quick clinics" at U.S. supermarkets and drug stores. The piece did stress that the clinics offer convenience and affordability for basic care that consumers appreciate. Lieberman even got her flu shot on camera. But the item also degraded the "cheap" NP care available at the "quickie" clinics, ignored NPs' vital role in more comprehensive primary care, and suggested that autonomous NP care presents safety risks, relying on a baseless, paternalistic quote from AMA president "Dr. Edward Hill." The piece did not allow NPs to defend their care from these sloppy attacks. Instead, the only audible NP speech it offered its audience consisted of an NP, identified only as "Kathy," saying "ready" to indicate that she was ready to give Lieberman her flu shot. Please click here to read more and join our letter-writing campaign!
November 11, 2005 -- Today The Washington Post ran a fairly good Reuters piece by Adam Tanner reporting that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ended his fight with the California Nurses Association (CNA) over the state's nurse-patient staffing ratios, in the wake of the recent defeat of his ballot initiatives. As the piece notes, the move is a major victory for CNA in its long fight for full implementation of the ratios, which became law in 1999. In countering Schwarzenegger's unwise suggestions that nurses are a special interest group whose "butt" he "kick[s]," CNA seemed to exploit stereotypes of nurses as selfless bedside females. But the union showed what nurses can do when they speak up collectively and tenaciously. And that's no stereotype. more...
November 17, 2005 -- The final court ruling in the case of the five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian physician imprisoned in Libya for seven years for allegedly infecting over 400 children with HIV has been delayed until January 31, 2006. The Libyan Supreme Court ruling had been scheduled for November 15. The health workers were sentenced to death before a firing squad for allegedly causing infections that independent experts have determined were caused by poor infection control systems, not by any intentional act of the health workers. Some infections occurred before the workers arrived in Libya. Today South Africa's Cape Times reported that the delay could help give Libyan leader Col. Muammar Ghaddafi time to negotiate with Europe and the U.S. for a face-saving way out of the situation. The piece reports that diplomatic sources say that following through with the executions would be a huge impediment to Libya's efforts to normalize relations with the West. Yesterday's Arabic News had a report on the somewhat volatile situation in Libya, where relatives of the infected children called for the sentences to be carried out. Please send a polite, respectful letter to the Libyan government expressing sympathy for the plight of the children (many of whom have died) and asking for the unconditional release of the health workers, who should not be discouraged from caring for vulnerable populations because of a fear that they may be blamed for systemic issues beyond their control. Thank you.
November 12, 2005 -- Tonight the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) presented one of its Media Awards to the Center for the second year in a row. The 2005 award recognized our successful campaign to end the Skechers shoe company's global advertising campaign featuring pop star Christina Aguilera dressed as a "naughty nurse." After more than 3,000 Center supporters sent letters of protest, Skechers pulled the ad from print media and point-of-sale displays worldwide. The other three 2005 Media Award winners were the Tobacco Free Nurses Initiative, "My Body Mondays" with Nurse Dr. Mimi Mahon on Philadelphia radio station WXPN-FM's "Kids Corner," and Chicago's Nurses Parade, a book by Connie Robinson, Carolyn Hope Smeltzer, and Frances Vlasses. more...
Thanks to all those who have signed up to be media monitors -- We now have a fairly good cadre of volunteers who will be monitoring the health shows for us such as "ER," "Grey's Anatomy", "House," and "Strong Medicine." However, we need all of you to help us monitor if you can, because some of the most blatant inaccurate anti-nurse statements appear on shows that are not health shows. So here's how you can help. Every time you watch TV, please hit the record button on your VCR or DVD recorder and tape whatever you watch. If you happen to catch something you'd like us to address, contact us first, and we will let you know whether we should have you send us your tape (at our expense). It is very hard for us to address these issues unless we have it on tape--so please try to record whatever you watch. Thank you!
Stories we are working on -- We have seen the CBS MarketWatch piece that advises those not bound for college to go into nursing. And we have also seen the "House" episode where nurses do "clean-up on aisle three." We will address both of these issues in the next news alert.
Center update -- we're making a difference, but we need your help today!
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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
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