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News on Nursing in the Media


"I don't use nurses"

July 30, 2008 -- The April 28 episode of Fox's "House" seemed designed to placate nurses unhappy that the show has spent the last four seasons pretending nurses play no important role in hospital care. The show's isolated effort to make amends did not focus on what nurses actually do, but instead relied on a strike plotline which supposedly showed how bad things get when nurses are absent--much as "Grey's Anatomy" did in 2006. In this episode, House's team works to determine what is making the husband of one striker too nice. It includes a brief scene in which this nurse saves her husband's life by diagnosing a heart attack and performing CPR. We thank the show for this. Sadly, we never learn why the nurses are striking. And the only scene that seems to show the effects of the strike simply shows an overcrowded ED, and implies that physicians just have to work extra hard to make up for the absence of nurses--as if physicians can do everything nurses can. They can't. The strike makes no real difference in the episode, since, as House glibly says, he does not "use nurses" and does not even know what they do. It doesn't count as irony when what you say is the simple truth for the show. As always, House's smart physician crew provides virtually all bedside care. Except for the heart attack scene, the patient's wife projects the same blankness in the face of technical care that we've come to expect from the few wallpaper nurses who appear on the show to absorb physician commands. And as usual, no one rebuts House's anti-nurse slurs--because, though mean and nasty, they are portrayed as being as ruthlessly correct as his other diagnoses. The episode is "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by David Hoselton and show creator David Shore. It drew 14.5 million U.S. viewers. more, including a new film clip... and please join our letter writing campaign!


Nurses in the Strangest Places

by guest author Margaret Comerford Freda, EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN

Who knew? I was only looking for a fun read, but what I discovered was a new nurse hero in literature. Her name is Madam Poppy Pomfrey, and she exists in all the Harry Potter novels. It was quite a surprise to me, really, for no one had mentioned a nurse in these extremely popular childrens' books, but there she is. I'm especially excited about this discovery because these books were written for children, and what a treat to find a nurse playing such an important role! more...


Check out our updated 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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