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News on Nursing in the Media


In sickness and in health

March 20, 2007 -- Today (Sofia News Agency) reported that the mayor of a Bulgarian village had offered a cash prize "for the first bachelor who manages to marry a nurse." The small village is apparently desperate to attract a nurse to provide care because there are currently no nurses or physicians nearby. Of course, the shortage of health workers in rural areas is a global phenomenon, especially during the current nursing shortage. But this town's idea is certainly a novel change from the common "nurse-as-sex-object" image. You could argue it's still troubling to link nursing with romantic love and self-sacrifice. We're just wondering how this could affect nursing recruitment and retention worldwide. more...


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The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

January 25, 2007 -- Tonight's episode of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" includes a short scene in which attending physician Mark Sloane praises nurses as "helpful," "smart," and "already good at their jobs." We give the show credit for trying. But the scene presents Sloane as inflicting seemingly grotesque, trivial nursing tasks on interns Meredith Grey and Alex Karev as a punishment, with no hint that the tasks might be important to patient outcomes--a "Grey's" scenario that is sadly familiar (see examples 1, 2, 3, 4). So the scene suggests that physicians do nursing work, that nurses are helpful physician helpers, that nursing tasks are unpleasant and insignificant, and that nurses are all already good at their jobs because there isn't much to their jobs, in contrast to real professions like medicine, in which people must practice for years to achieve proficiency. The "smart" comment will have little effect given these problems, and given that "Grey's" has spent the last two years telling the world that nurses are disagreeable twits. Indeed, that comment may be the biggest insult of all, because it suggests the show thinks nurses can be mollified with such an unpersuasive pat on the head. The episode, Eric Buchman's "Great Expectations," was seen by 21.5 million viewers in its initial U.S. airing. more...and join our letter-writing campaign!


Naomi Campbell, Russell Crowe, and patients without enough nurses

November 19, 2006 -- Today the Calgary Herald ran a short piece about reports by the United Nurses of Alberta, a union, that "nurses are being physically abused and verbally threatened because of staff and bed shortages in Calgary hospitals." The article, "Calgary nurses blame shortages for abuse," might have explored the negative effects of this situation in more detail. Nurse short-staffing can kill people and drive nurses from the bedside. Abuse of nurses can lead to injury and burnout, and exacerbate the nursing shortage. But on the whole the piece offers a good quick look at this serious problem. more...



November 8, 2006 -- Today The Daily Observer (The Gambia) ran a short item by Sheriff Barry, "Nurses: Critical to health service delivery." The piece is based on remarks by a government health official and others at a "sub-regional workshop" for West African nurses and midwives at the School of Nursing in Banjul. The health official's remarks make two basic points: (1) nurses, though underpaid, are essential to a successful health system, and (2) the region's vulnerable children are not getting the care they need, especially for malnutrition, because health workers lack adequate skill. The piece might have made the link between these points more clear, and also explored whether it was fair to suggest that a lack of health worker skill was really the biggest problem in care delivery, as opposed to severe resource shortages. But the piece is still a helpful reminder of the vital role nurses play in caring for vulnerable populations. more...


Shortage = death

October 23, 2006 -- Today the BBC web site posted a generally good piece about a large new study of English hospitals that links lower nurse staffing to higher patient mortality. "Nurse shortage boosts death rates" reports that patient mortality at hospitals with the worst nurse staffing levels was 26% higher than at hospitals "with more nurses per patient." The study was published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, and it is part of the five-nation International Hospital Outcomes Study. The piece quotes lead researcher Anne Marie Rafferty (though it could have given more detail about this nursing leader), as well as Royal College of Nursing general secretary Beverly Malone. Malone argues that the study shows that cutting nursing posts is dangerous "short-termism." more...


Kelly Ripa Update

March 30, 2007 -- Since March 20, we have been requesting a conference call with the producers of "Live with Regis and Kelly" to discuss Kelly Ripa's naughty nurse comments. We've been faxing your original letters (over 200 so far!), and priority mailing all letters (450 total so far) to Kelly Ripa and Executive Producer Michael Gelman. The show left us a message last night after the close of business, noting that it wanted to speak with us, but would be out of production until the week of April 9. Until the show returns, we would like to keep the pressure on, to motivate the producers to make amends with a meaningful look at nursing--perhaps a segment on Regis Philbin's own nursing care. Would you join our letter-writing campaign and send a letter? Thank you! Here is our campaign: Kelly Ripa is your sponge bath nursey in her little nursey costume! Did we mention she was a nursey? With a sponge? Ooh! She missed a spot over here!

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Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian physician sentenced to death in Libya

"LIVE with Regis and Kelly"

Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières

Johnson & Johnson

Grey's Anatomy



Heart Attack Grill

American Medical Association

We Need Your Support for Our Work!

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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