News on Nursing in the Media
November 15, 2007 -- Today, nurses persuaded Seattle's Group Health to withdraw ads for its "Ask the Doc" service that included the tag line: "Nurse, hand me my laptop." The ads, posted on websites such as MSN.com, promoted Group Health's program of having patients communicate with advanced practitioners by e-mail, instead of having to come in to the office for simple follow-ups or questions. We commend Group Health for using such a cost-effective care delivery system, and we get the "joke"--laptops are the new stethoscopes. But the ads' regressive text and imagery suggest that: (1) nurses are nameless handmaidens who fetch and carry items for physicians, rather than autonomous professionals who follow an independent practice model; (2) nurses' role in advanced care technology consists mainly of handing it to physicians, though in reality nurses are on the cutting edge of such technology; and (3) nurses lack substantive health information, and their role is to help patients reach the physicians who do have the expertise. In fact, nurses are the main patient educators, and nurses at Group Health itself regularly communicate with patients by email. We applaud Carolyn Elliott, Stephanie Hitzroth, Shari Hirshberg and their nursing colleagues for persuading Group Health to do the right thing. more...
October 25, 2007 -- This week's issue of TIME magazine included a short but fairly good profile of U.S. Navy Commander Maureen Pennington, the "first nurse to lead a surgical company during combat operations." Caroline Kennedy's "Beyond the Call of Duty" does not directly discuss Pennington's nursing skills or background. It does feature a lot of vague helping imagery, and apparently even a portrait of a military nurse would not be complete without discussion of her being "like a mom" to the soldiers. Still, the piece highlights Pennington's leadership, communication, and cross-cultural skills. The field hospitals she led in her 2006 tour in Iraq had an "unprecedented" 98% survival rate. We thank Ms. Kennedy and TIME for this generally helpful profile of a nursing leader. more...
Please consider the wide variety of things we can do to help resolve the nursing shortage, and meet the challenges of 21st Century health care, by increasing public understanding of nursing. Here are just a few:
Encourage others to get involved by:
Read From Silence to Voice, which is nursing's manual on how to speak out about the life-saving work that nurses do. It is important for the health of our profession that you tell everyone you know about the value of your work.
Doing a presentation on nursing's image? Get some film clips here.
Monitor the media and alert us to noteworthy portrayals of nursing. Set your DVR, TiVo or DVD recorder to record every time you watch television. If you see a nursing portrayal you'd like us to consider covering, let us know.
Start a health radio show, like HealthStyles with Diana Mason & Barbara Glickstein. Do health minutes and work to become a local health correspondent for television and radio news programs, like television commentator and author Pat Carroll.
Start a Nurse Shadowing Program for medical students and interns at your hospital or school. We must educate physicians as to the nature of nursing work so they can play a more positive role in creating nursing-related media, and so we can develop more collaborative relationships, which lead to better patient outcomes. See a sketch of a nurse shadowing program at Dartmouth.
Letter-writing campaigns--please write a letter for each of our campaigns.
Last but not least, please become a member of the Center. We need your financial support to make our work happen. Thank you!
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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