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News on Nursing in the Media

Help people think about nursing!

We have created two provocative new flyers, and if you like them, please help us distribute them as widely as possible. The "Not What They Say I Am" flyer sends a message that many media depictions of nurses are not accurate and that nurses object to them, in part because they undermine nurses' claims to adequate resources. This is a key message of the Truth About Nursing, and one explored in detail in our new book Saving Lives. The ironic "Hooray for Hollywood" flyer sends the message that, in our view, there has been little for nurses to cheer about in recent Hollywood depictions of their work. Popular TV shows like "House" and "Grey's Anatomy" have repeatedly offered inaccurate and damaging images of nursing, and we hope the flyer will cause those who see it to reconsider those images. The small print on the flyers directs people to our book and The Truth's website to learn more. see the full posters and links for downloading and or request flyers be sent to you...


"The nurses have kept me going"

January 10, 2009 -- Today the BBC News web site posted an article by Jane Elliott about the key role "specialist" nurses have played in the survival of one lung cancer patient, and the need for more such nurses to care for U.K. patients with the disease. Most of the piece describes the experience of insurance broker Donald Sutherland, who was given just three months to live following his diagnosis, but has lived for 13 years. Sutherland could not possibly be more glowing about the "excellent care" the cancer nurses gave him. But he could be more specific, since detailed descriptions of what nurses do are far more valuable in educating the public about nurses than general encomiums are. Sutherland does at least convey that the nurses answered his questions and pushed to make sure he was adhering to treatment and getting the attention he needed at the most difficult points. The article also provides data about the prevalence of lung cancer, and the shortage of specialist nurses relative to comparable conditions like breast cancer. It consults two experts from U.K. lung cancer groups who provide some more information about why the nurses are needed--one points to the "information" the nurses provide--but the comments of the experts also could have been far more specific about what the nurses do. Even so, we thank Elliott and the BBC for a generally helpful piece. more...


Nurses Needed

October 24, 2008 -- Tonight the PBS television program "NOW" aired a fairly good half-hour report about the ongoing U.S. nursing shortage. "Nurses Needed" makes many good points, describing the critical role nurses play in bedside care and patient outcomes. It also gives a sense of some key features of the shortage, including the shortage of faculty and even a passing reference to the role of popular culture in reinforcing damaging views of nurses. Unfortunately, the report largely overlooks some major causes of the shortage, most notably short-staffing and the lack of sufficient clinical resources for nurses. The report does seem to suggest that stressful workplace conditions are driving nurses away, but it makes little effort to place that factor in the current context--nursing has always been stressful, why are we now suffering the worst shortage in modern history? Still, the report provides a good deal of useful information, and we commend producer Bill Gentile, senior correspondent Maria Inahosa, and host David Brancaccio. more... and see the video.


Saving Lives -- Educating society about the value of nursing

March 13, 2009 -- Our new book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk uses striking examples and an irreverent style to explore nursing stereotypes from TV shows to the news media. We hope every nurse will read it and consider the role the media plays in nursing today--and how we can improve the profession's public image. But the book also explains nursing in compelling terms to the public and decision-makers. We want as many non-nurses as possible to read it. Here are some ideas to spread the word about nursing and the media:

  1. Consider giving this year's nursing graduates a copy of Saving Lives--we can even sign them for you. Contact us for details.
  2. Consider using the book in your classroom to teach students about professional development. The book stimulates discussion on a variety of relevant issues, including the development of different views of the profession, the role of gender, and relations with physicians. And it is vital that the next generation learn how to interact with the media and present a more professional image. Saving Lives is a very affordable textbook. For 10 or more copies, please contact Kevin Cooper at Kaplan Publishing at for very good bulk discounts.
  3. Do you have friends or family members who would benefit from an engaging look at nursing today--one that draws on a range of popular culture items to make its points? Get them a copy of Saving Lives--they will learn the value of nursing by reading the book. You can get a copy from us and even request a certain inscription, or get a copy from your favorite bookseller or Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
  4. Help us send copies of Saving Lives to influential members of the media and key political decision-makers. If you donate $40 to The Truth About Nursing, we will send you a signed copy of Saving Lives and send an additional copy to a media creator or an influential decision-maker. You can let us choose the decision-maker from our list, or you can identify a decision-maker of your own. We'll send it for you. Click here to order!
  5. Please write customer reviews of Saving Lives at the Barnes & Noble or Amazon websites, or the website of your favorite bookseller. The more positive reactions Saving Lives receives, the better we will be able to spread its messages about the importance of nursing. Thank you!
  6. You can educate the public by posting flyers online, on community bulletin boards, or in other places. You can educate nurses about their profession's media image by posting copies of flyers on bulletin boards and breakrooms at their workplace or school. Click here to help us distribute the flyers.
  7. Please distribute our press release to your local media. Ask them to interview us or write an article about the book.
  8. Please forward this news alert to anyone who might be interested and ask them to get involved with our mission to remake how society thinks about nursing.

Can you help support The Truth About Nursing?

We know this is a difficult time for many of us, but starting a new organization from scratch takes a lot of resources. We need your help so we can pursue this mission together. We would be very grateful if you could make a donation--even if it is $5, $10 or $25. Any amount would be so helpful. Please click here to donate. Thank you!



The Truth About Nursing is a Maryland non-profit corporation. We will soon apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) charitable organization status. If we receive 501(c)(3) status, then donations we receive (minus the fair market value of the book or any other member gift) will be tax-deductible as allowed by law.

To make a donation of a different amount or to receive different member gifts, please see our regular donation page.

Thank you for supporting the Truth About Nursing's work!

Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1099
fax 1-410-510-1790



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book cover, Saving lives

A Few Successes —
We Can Change the Media!

Educate the world that nurses save lives!

Save Lives. Be a Nurse. bumper sticker