News on Nursing in the Media
March 9, 2006 -- An Associated Press piece today reported that the chief of neurosurgery at an Oakland hospital was "arrested after allegedly throwing a drunken fit when a nurse refused to let him operate," according to local police. The unsigned piece, run on the New York Times site and elsewhere, does not name the nurse. And we could have used more detail on exactly what he or she apparently did to prevent the surgeon from operating. But the report, "Doc May Have Been Drunk in Operating Room," still appears to be a striking example of nurses' patient advocacy. It's the kind of thing that too few members of the public know that OR nurses are responsible for doing to protect their patients. more...
March 8, 2006 -- Today the Mainichi Daily News (Tokyo) site posted a short unsigned item reporting that nurse researchers have found that patients who listened to their favorite music during cardiac catheter tests had lower blood pressure and felt more relaxed. The piece could have told us more about the Hokkaido hospital researchers. It does not even name the lead researcher, whom it briefly quotes. But it's still an unusual and laudable example of mainstream press coverage of important nursing research. And it even manages to explain why the research is important: "When patients become tense and their arteries tighten during the tests, it is easy for the catheters to cause damage to the arteries." more...
March 5, 2006 -- Today the Sunday Times (U.K.) ran a short investigative piece by Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Sarah-Kate Templeton reporting that "nurses on the payroll of the pharmaceutical industry are earning bonuses...by identifying NHS patients who can be put on costly drug regimes." The piece appears to say that the nurses are employed by private agencies, with drug company funding. The nurses reportedly review the records of general practitioners in order to identify patients with conditions that may be treatable with their pharmaceutical funders' products. Sales teams then "close the business." The piece cites a Royal College of Nursing prescribing advisor who suggests that nurses who get bonuses to promote certain products are in breach of nursing ethics. Given its length, the piece is fairly good, though it might have explored some of the issues it raises in more depth. These include how and why the nurses actually get access to the medical records, how their conduct fits into the overall scheme of U.K. drug marketing, and why giving the nurses performance bonuses is a bigger ethical problem than simply paying them a flat rate to do the same job. In both cases, the nurses would appear to be promoting the products of the drug companies that pay their salaries.more...
March 4, 2006 -- Today the Taiwan News ran a short piece by Jenny W. Hsu headlined "Nurses groups warn of mass exodus to U.S." It says that the Taiwan National Nurses Association (NNA) is concerned that poor working conditions for local health workers and aggressive recruiting by the United States are driving a surge in nurse migration. This reportedly poses a grave threat to Taiwan's ability to care for its own rapidly aging population. more...
March 10, 2006 -- Today the Daily Express (Sabah, Malaysia) ran an unsigned piece reporting that the Director-General of Malaysia's Health Ministry has announced that he is considering appointing nurses to head hospitals, assuming they have the right credentials. The Director-General's remarks suggest that this is likely to be considered a novel idea, and that he anticipates some resistance from his fellow physicians. The piece is a fair report on what seems to be an encouraging development in the admittedly slow recognition of nurses' health leadership abilities. more...
New Center FAQ:
Q: You're always criticizing the mass media's treatment of nursing. But don't you think nursing itself and society as a whole bear some responsibility for poor understanding of nursing, and for the profession's problems generally?
A: Yes, of course. We have chosen to focus our very limited resources on the mainstream media because it is our view that few others are doing that, and the disconnect between what that influential media shows and the reality of nursing is often extreme. This undervaluation is a significant factor in the nursing crisis because it inhibits recruiting and retention, and contributes to the underfunding of nursing practice, research, and education. If nursing doesn't really matter, then one nurse for 10 patients is fine, and nursing faculty don't need good salaries. more...
We need to discuss current trends in family presence for an upcoming article. If you have expertise in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have expertise in any other area, please add your name and areas of expertise into our nurse expert database so that we can call on you or refer members of the media to you should we be in need of someone with your expertise. Improving public understanding of nursing means getting the public to learn more about your knowledge and expertise. Thank you.
The Center for Nursing Advocacy fights inaccurate media images of nursing because those images affect how decision-makers and members of the public value the profession. For most people, the media is the major source of information about nursing. But because the profession's image is so inaccurate and degraded, decision-makers tend not to fully fund nursing clinical practice, education or research. Short-staffing is one result. If we want to resolve the global nursing crisis, we must change the way the world thinks about nursing. Nurses save lives and improve outcomes every day, but few people outside nursing know that. Right now the Center has the resources to address a few of the most influential images of nursing. But we need far more funding to do what really needs to be done, including working proactively to create better images.
The Center stands ready and willing to lead that effort. But the tiny staff that donates almost all of its Center labor cannot do this without your help. We need money to pay for office supplies, internet fees, and other expenses. Most importantly, the long-term sustainability of the Center depends on core staff receiving a living wage. Please help us improve the nursing image by making a generous contribution to the Center today. And when you do, you will get cool free gifts (as below), including t-shirts. Please join or renew your membership today. Thank you for your help. When the Center has a success, all of our supporting members should feel very proud, because we absolutely cannot do this without you.
Can you help us by circulating our brochures and asking your colleagues and friends to become a donating member of the Center? If so, please email me and let me know how many brochures you would like, and we'll send them out to you. Thank you!
Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, MD USA 21212-2937
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