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News on Nursing in the Media


Could we teach your loathsome friends to be all smooth and polite like us?

June 7, 2007 -- The Center understands that a new TV show called "Mind Your Manners," slated to air on The Learning Channel (TLC), has been seeking "rude," "crude," and "obnoxious" nurses for the asking major nursing groups for help. The show seems to involve a "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"-style makeover effort to help subjects improve their interpersonal skills. Not surprisingly, the nursing groups have been less than helpful, firing off outraged missives and promising to urge nurses to boycott the show. Actually, it's not clear how the show could offer expert social advice if it's clueless enough to think nursing groups are going to help out. Anyway, we are not among those who believe that all three million U.S. nurses are nice, polite, and professional. It's also pretty clear that the show's overall focus is not on nurses; we assume that the outreach to nurses was just one of many efforts to involve different parts of society. But the current nursing shortage is driven in significant part by a public image dominated by easy stereotypes. It's hard to imagine that the show could resist reinforcing the battleaxe image, or perhaps glibly noting that a given nurse is no angel. And in presenting socially challenged nurses, how likely is the show to explain that nursing--always a stressful job--now faces rampant short-staffing, mandation, and other working conditions that could make it hard for anyone to stay on an even keel? In any case, a concerned nursing organization (which requests anonymity) contacted an executive at Discovery Communications, which owns TLC as well as Discovery Health. Today we learned that this nursing group has received assurances that there will be no episode focused on nurses. We hope that will be the case. And we urge the show to mind its manners by sticking to individuals, rather than focusing on a profession in the midst of an image-related global health crisis. more...


Myths and fairy tales

March 13, 2007 -- Recent articles in smaller newspapers have offered good discussions of the damaging misportrayal of nursing on popular U.S. television shows like Fox's "House" and ABC's "Grey's Anatomy." On March 5, the Salem News (MA) ran Julie Kirkwood's very good "As seen on TV: Real-life health care workers say medical shows aren't telling the real story." The comprehensive piece focuses on nurses' arguments that such shows can distort the public's view of health care. And it aims to debunk some of the key "myths" the shows present. Today, The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA) ran reporter Pat Carroll's "Doctored reality: Nurses chart complaints of marginalization on TV." This helpful article focuses on the common Hollywood depiction of a "pack of doctors engaging in patient care with no nurses in sight." Both pieces get expert comment from local nurses, and both rely on extensive input from the Center and its executive director Sandy Summers. We thank all of those responsible for the articles. more...


Startling discoveries

March 14, 2007 -- This week's Charleston City Paper (SC) featured a long cover story by Will Moredock headlined "Critical Condition: S.C.'s nursing shortage could use some intensive care." The article includes what is by now fairly standard information about the causes and effects of the shortage. But it is notable for its heavy reliance on expert quotes from Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) nursing dean Gail Stuart, PhD, and for its admirably detailed look at what MUSC Hospital MICU nurse Misty Deason actually did for patients during a recent shift. The piece seems to reflect the writer's surprise at the importance of bedside nursing. Moredock says studies showing nurse staffing and education levels affect patient outcomes were "startling discoveries." He also seems to marvel at the level of accomplishment of nursing leaders like Stuart and MUSC nursing professor Winnie Hennessey, PhD, whose name appears on "more than a dozen" publications. Even so, the piece is an unusually rigorous look at how the shortage affects one state, and we thank Moredock and the Charleston City Paper. more...


The Nurse Manifest Project

June 2007 -- The Nurse Manifest Project presents "a call to conscience and raise awareness, to inspire action, and to open discussion of issues that are vital to nursing and health care around the globe." The group has a web site and an email group with interesting ideas on making positive changes during a difficult time for nurses and their patients. The purpose of the email list is "to share our stories and concerns with others, provide support for one another in the challenges we face, and share ideas about how to meet these challenges in ways that are consistent with the values expressed in the Nurse Manifest 'Manifesto.'" Learn more about the group at To join the list, go to, and click "join this group!" If you have questions about the project or the email list, contact Peggy Chinn at


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Invest in your future

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
Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1100
fax 1-410-510-1790



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