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News on Nursing in the Media


Dark comedy

September 2008 -- The fall U.S. television season seems to offer mostly more of the same--a prevailing vision of nurses as peripheral physician subordinates--with one intriguing exception. The popular prime time dramas "House" (Fox, premiering Sept. 16) and "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, Sept. 25) will return with no major nurse characters to complement the smart, pretty physicians who provide all important hospital care. "Grey's" spinoff "Private Practice" (ABC, Oct. 1) will still include hot but blank midwifery student Dell Parker, a nurse who works as a health clinic receptionist. The venerable "ER" (NBC, Sept. 25) and "Scrubs" (ABC, mid-season) return with one actual major nurse character each. The plastic surgery drama "nip/tuck" (FX, January 2009) will be back for more sleazy fun, but no significant nurse characters. And the new daytime show "The Doctors" (syndicated, Sept. 8), created by the people behind "Dr. Phil," offers a "dream team" of four telegenic physicians giving advice on health issues. But wait--there's something else. Reports say that in early 2009, the premium cable network Showtime will offer a new dark comedy with the tentative title "Nurse Jackie." The show, starring Edie Falco (above) as a tough New York ED nurse, would appear to be the first prime time U.S. television drama since the early 1990's to have a nurse character play the central role. more...


Your Ultimate Recovery Team

August 2008 -- In mid-2008, Canada's Neilson Dairy marketed its Ultimate flavored milk products with a naughty nurse campaign that was remarkably similar to the earlier Coors Light Trauma Tour. Naughty nurse models appeared in the dairy's ads and at a related extreme sports tour, the Live Ultimate Tour. Neilson ads matched each of the three main campaign "nurses"--the "Ultimate Recovery Team"--with sports-related innuendo. Nurses...recovery...get it? This month, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) and 1,000 supporters helped the company recover from its naughty nurse workout and remove the nurse element from its campaign. We salute RNAO and its supporters. more...



November 8, 2007 -- The episodes of NBC's "ER" broadcast tonight and a week ago send typically mixed messages about nursing autonomy and expertise. On the one hand, the episodes include some helpful suggestions of nursing skill. These include lone major nurse character Sam Taggart's (right) quick thinking to prevent a combative patient's suicide, and in a pediatric trauma scene, a rare indication that some nurses are more skilled than others. Sadly, other scenes suggest that nurses report to physicians, that physicians manage nurses' work at triage, and that physicians have to persuade nurses to allow a natural death for terminal patients. And there is the usual focus (even by the nurse characters) on physicians' professional hierarchy and advancement, while the nursing analogs are utterly ignored. The November 1 episode was "The Test" by Lisa Zwerling, MD (9.1 million viewers), and tonight's episode was David Zabel's "Blackout" (8.4 million viewers). more...


FAQ: Where have my news alerts been lately?

At the Center, we are working on two exciting new projects that have been taking our time away from producing our news alerts. Stay tuned to future news alerts and we will give you full details soon. Thank you for your continued support!


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 today and in the future!

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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