News on Nursing in the Media
August 2007 -- On May 13, The New York Times ran a long piece by reporter Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., about the ongoing recovery of New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine from a serious auto crash in April: "In Corzine's Recovery, Doctors Cite Grit and Luck." The physician-centric piece included many quotes from Cooper University Hospital physicians, but not one from a nurse--though Corzine spent eight days in the ICU. And the piece gave credit for things nurses do to physicians, to others, or to no one. In response, the Center posted an online analysis, and its executive director wrote a letter to Dr. Altman. Dr. Altman wrote back, arguing that he did ask to speak with nurses, but that the two nurses the hospital made available to him played only a marginal role in Corzine's care. The Center's reply notes that we commend Dr. Altman for considering our concerns, but that his limited effort to speak to nurses will do nothing to alter the piece's damaging effect on the public. We also explain that we understand journalists are not solely responsible for the undervaluation of nursing evident in pieces like this. Many nurses are reluctant to speak up, and many hospitals fail to encourage it. But journalists should do more than simply rely on what the institutional subjects of their stories tell them. Health reporters should learn about and convey the key role nurses really play in patient outcomes, and work to give readers the real story. Would Dr. Altman have accepted it if the only physicians the hospital provided to him were marginally involved in the Governor's care? more...
January 19, 2007 -- Over the past three days, Boston National Public Radio affiliate WBUR aired an extensive documentary on the nursing shortage called "Nursing a Shortage: Inside Out." Correspondent Rachel Gotbaum's series ran in three nine-minute segments in the mornings. The WBUR web site includes summaries of each segment and two essays by practicing nurses. Overall the series is a very good look at the causes and effects of the shortage as well as possible solutions, with many audio quotes from nursing scholars and executives. The online material also includes an excellent essay by ICU nurse Karen Higgins about the nature and value of her work. The series does not fully address certain aspects of this complex area, such as the profession's gender issues, and at times it seems a little too ready to accept at face value hospital positions on measures like the magnet program. But on the whole, the series is a serious and balanced treatment of a public health crisis, and we commend those responsible. more...
Q: But I'm young and hot and I love people to think nurses are sexy! Promiscuous girls rule! Anyone who objects to the "naughty nurse" image must be an old hag "nursing leader" who hates sex and freedom, right?
A: Calm down, hot thing. We would never stand between you and your hotness. But please think about what the "naughty nurse" means--because it doesn't mean people think real nurses are serious professionals who just happen to be sexy. It means a lot of people think nursing is a disposable job that could, and ideally would, be done by brainless bimbos. If you were hoping for respect and adequate resources to help you save lives, the "naughty nurse" is not your friend.
We don't care whether people think you're sexy or not, and we don't care what you do in your personal life. There's also nothing inherently wrong with media images of nurses who are sexually attractive, like Linda Cardellini's character on "ER" (right) or Josh Coxx's on "Strong Medicine." But the standard "naughty nurse" image has less to do with a belief that real nurses are sexy than it does with a desire to have anonymous sex with giggly twits dressed in lingerie-like "nurse" uniforms. In other words, the average "naughty nurse" enthusiast doesn't necessarily want a relationship with you. He just wants a "date." more...
The Center is happy to speak about how the media affects public understanding of nursing at your conference, graduation, grand rounds, banquet or other event. Please click here for more information.
Activity at the Center's chapters is starting to heat up. Please get involved with your local chapter--or if there isn't one in your area, let us know if you would like to start one! Contact us to talk about starting a chapter.
What do Center for Nursing Advocacy chapters do? We encourage meetings every month or two. At the meetings, members brainstorm and work together to improve media coverage of nursing around the world--but most especially within their home media markets. For instance, members work to get coverage for nursing achievements, events, problems, or issues facing patients or the community. And they discuss giving organized feedback to media entities for nurse-related products they have created. See more on our chapter mission and activities page.
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The Center promotes better understanding of nursing, so nurses can do their work. But just like nurses, we need financial support to do our work. The long-term sustainability of the Center depends on it. If you appreciate our work, would you be able to chip in to help us continue? Our current situation requires that key staff donate many hundreds of hours to the Center every year, at great cost to themselves and their families. Please do your part to help us out. Thank you!
The Center's global media monitoring, analysis and advocacy is a huge challenge. It takes extensive research, writing, communication, and Internet efforts. We must pay for office equipment, supplies, transportation, Internet products, insurance, postage and telephone costs. Our office is donated by our staff. And our staff can undertake only a small part of the work that needs to be done to improve nursing's image.
So we urge you to make a donation to help us continue and expand our work. Just click here to learn about the great gifts you can receive for joining or renewing your Center membership, including our cool t-shirts and the Archie McPhee nurse action figure! It's quick and easy! And because the Center is a 501(c)(3) charity, your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.
Thank you for all of your support over the past year. You are the reason we've had a real impact on public understanding of nursing worldwide. Together, we can strengthen nursing, and give patients the kind of health care they deserve in 2007 and beyond!
Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
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