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News on Nursing in the Media


Dentyne commercial: We did it!

Getting fresher

October 6, 2007 -- Nursing supporters have persuaded Cadbury Schweppes to withdraw a "naughty nurse" television ad its Canadian division had been running for Dentyne Ice gum. The ad showed female nurses being lured into bed with male patients, with the tag line: "Get Fresh." The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and the Center for Nursing Advocacy started campaigns to persuade the company to change course. We understand that over 1,000 nurses sent letters from RNAO's web site. Over 500 nursing supporters sent letters from the Center's site, and the Center placed many calls to top Cadbury Schweppes executives, leaving long messages explaining that such imagery reinforces a stereotype of workplace sexual availability that contributes to the global nursing crisis. Initially, on October 3, the company sent letters arguing that its ads were causing no harm. But yesterday, the company told the Center and RNAO that it would pull the ads, and consult nurses in creating its future U.S. and Canadian ads involving nurses. Cadbury Schweppes chief executive officer Todd Stitzer also took time out from managing the company's 67,000 employees and $14 billion in annual sales to call the Center from London to explain that he understood our concerns. We thank the company for this unusual level of responsiveness, and hope to work with it to promote a more accurate image of nursing. We believe the results here also show what nurses can do when they advocate collectively, persistently, and passionately. more...


Nothing more than a persistent illusion

September 13, 2007 -- The "ER" episode rebroadcast tonight was yet another in the show's long tradition of suggesting (at times) that nurses are skilled and important to patient care, yet also suggesting (at times) that nurses merely assist the physicians who have the real expertise and responsibility. Don't get us wrong: we'd miss a prime time world in which this NBC show did not regularly present us with the challenge of parsing the diverse and sometimes subtle messages it sends. These range from some good care and advocacy from sole major nurse character Sam Taggart, to the little bits of skill displayed by the minor nurse characters, to the regular physician nursing and nurse-free care scenes, to the implication that the show's countless wallpaper nurses are there to push gurneys, have physicians sign forms, and hold objects during codes. If this is "ER"'s last season, we face being left mostly with a stunningly regressive prime time landscape of mute handmaidens (or more precisely, with glimpses of their forearms and backs), with the occasional "naughty nurse" thrown in. Still, parts of this episode, notably the relentless physician nursing we see in the care of a physicist with septic shock and the growing role of new ED medical chief Kevin Moretti, show how short even "ER" falls of a good overall portrayal of nursing. The episode, "Sea Change", was written by Lisa Zwerling, MD, and drew 9 million U.S. viewers when it originally aired on May 10. more...


"Why They Come, Why They Stay"

Please work with nurse-author Karen Buley, RN, BSN, who is compiling essays for a nursing anthology, "Nurses on the Run: Why They Come, Why They Stay." She is urging nurses to speak about the importance of our profession, and she is interested in patient care stories that highlight the essence of nursing. Ms. Buley is working to attract others to nursing and to inspire practicing nurses to continue their work. She believes this project can improve patient care and help resolve the nursing shortage. Learn more about the project and how to submit an essay for consideration.


Do you read or speak Russian?

We just found a commercial last week that we would like to analyze with the help of someone who can read or speak Russian. Please contact us at if you can help us. Thank you.


Check out our Action page!

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:

  • Creating bulletin boards at your workplace by posting our analyses or news alerts;
  • Starting a chapter in your hometown.

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.

Create, read or support nurse-friendly media and art.

Wear the RN patch on your uniform.

Register with our nurse expert database.

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!

See other ways you can get involved on our full action page!


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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