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News on Nursing in the Media



January 14, 2008 -- The beautiful film adaptation of Atonement follows novelist Ian McEwan's characters into the carnage of World War II. But like McEwan, the filmmakers are less concerned with bombs than with the deceptive power of words, especially in the act of telling stories--stories like the book, or the movie, which adds a level of artifice in being a story based on a story. Scripted by Christopher Hampton, the film shares the novel's slightly implausible central premise. But with Joe Wright's focused direction and intense performances by the leads, the film is a compelling account of our efforts to cope with what we say to each other. Atonement also includes a limited look at the wartime nursing of aristocratic character Briony Tallis. The movie adds visuals to the book's nurse-centered account of hospital care, showing the courage required of nurses in mass casualty events and the formidable authority of senior nurses. Wright's movie does not match the force of McEwan's vision of the trauma the nurses face, the full rigor of their training, or Briony's growing skill. The film, like the book, also conveys little of the technical expertise nursing requires, and may suggest that nursing is more a vehicle for atonement than a modern scientific profession. Still, few feature films (let alone major Oscar contenders) include a nurse-centered vision of care, or convey any of the real challenges of nursing. This movie stars James McAvoy, Keira Knightly, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave. Atonement won a Golden Globe award for best drama yesterday. more...


The Business of Being Born

January 14, 2007 -- In a 2007 episode of ABC's drama "Private Practice," an elite obstetrician asked whether "midwifery" was even a word. The Business of Being Born responds with a compelling argument that the United States return to a midwifery-driven home birth model. The film presents our OB care as a dysfunctional business that has consigned midwives to the periphery, so that physicians who don't understand natural birth can perform dangerous, unnecessary interventions. Meanwhile, the film contends, the rest of the developed world achieves better outcomes for less money using midwives for most births. Abby Epstein's documentary is not the explanation of nursing expertise and obstetric care that it might have been. The film largely ignores the work of nurse midwives and obstetric nurses in hospitals, and it never explains how nurse midwives differ from other midwives. The movie also could have been more balanced and focused. The momentum flags in some scenes focusing on Epstein's own pregnancy and the thoughts of executive producer Ricki Lake. But the film is a powerful call for women to reclaim what we might call their "ancient properties" (following Toni Morrison's idea of black womanhood)--in this case, women's ability to birth their own children, to embrace fully the transformative experience of giving life. more... and click to see this film in theaters!


Cashmere Mafia Nurses

November 16, 2007 -- Department store chain Bloomingdale's recently began running a radio commercial that reportedly featured a sultry nurse seducing a physician with a cashmere sweater. The Center's Long Island chapter president alerted us to the ad. We contacted Bloomingdale's and explained how ads like this, no matter how luxuriously soft and enticing, reinforce the stereotype of nurses as brainless workplace sluts. The company decided to pull the ad just hours later. more...


General Hospital: Night Shift

January 13, 2008 -- We are looking for a volunteer to review the nursing portrayal in SOAPNet's steamy General Hospital: Night Shift, or at least a representative episode. We can give you access to the DVD of the first season of this GH spinoff, which appears in early February. Please let us know if you are interested. We need more volunteers to help us monitor and write about the media. 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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