News on Nursing in the Media
October 30, 2008 -- Tonight's episode of NBC's "ER" features a remarkable minor plotline about physician attitudes toward nursing, particularly the nurse anesthetist program that major nurse character Sam Taggart began in earlier episodes this month. This episode includes scenes in which Taggart's boyfriend, resident Tony Gates, condescends to Taggart both with regard to her current work and her anesthesia program. Gates does so in the context of his clinical teaching of an attractive intern who seems to have a crush on him. Taggart sets them both straight about nursing autonomy and skill, at one point successfully taking over an urgent intubation from the flailing intern. And other physician characters express support for Taggart. We commend writer Karen Maser and the show for the episode, "Haunted," which drew 9.2 million U.S. viewers. more...
February 26, 2009 -- Recent press items have reported that President Obama has named North Dakota nurse and rural health expert Mary Wakefield to head the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). HRSA is a federal agency that works to improve access to care by underserved populations, in part by overseeing roughly 7,000 community health centers. The agency is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, and it will reportedly receive $2.5 billion of the new economic stimulus package to improve health care infrastructure and training. Obama's choice and the press coverage send a great message about the contributions of nursing leaders, though some items suggest troubling underlying assumptions. The Washington Post and Reuters pieces provide a good look at Wakefield's new job and her qualifications. The Associated Press and Houston Chronicle items also have helpful elements, but they include subtle suggestions that her expertise is not a natural outgrowth of her nursing (perhaps it's something she developed after she stopped being a nurse and got serious). However, there is nothing incompatible between nursing and leadership, and the kind of community health work Wakefield does is a major part of the nursing tradition. We congratulate Dr. Wakefield on this exciting new position. more...
February 3, 2009 -- Today the book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk was released by Kaplan Publishing. Written by the leaders of The Truth About Nursing, the book uses striking examples and an irreverent style to explore nursing stereotypes from TV shows to the news media. It explains how these images affect real-life decisions about nursing. And it offers practical ideas to help improve understanding of the profession--and public health. Saving Lives has won high praise from many leaders in nursing and the media. For every $40 donation you make to The Truth About Nursing, we will send you a signed copy of Saving Lives and send an additional copy of the 350-page book to an influential member of the media who needs to hear its message. You can also order Saving Lives at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or get it at a bulk discount for your classroom or organization. Please consider helping us raise awareness of Saving Lives by distributing our press release to your local media, and sending this news alert to anyone who might be interested. And please join our campaign to distribute 1000 books to the media by making a $40 donation today. Thank you!
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Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
The Truth About Nursing
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