Join our Facebook group
Twitter bird

News on Nursing in the Media


A Short History of Dr. Feelgood

March 16, 2009 -- Today the veteran metal band Motley Crue got coverage in the rock press by arriving for a New York City press conference to announce its summer 2009 Crue Fest 2 Tour in a classic Cadillac ambulance with two women dressed in nurse outfits. The ambulance and nurses underlined a central theme of the tour, which is that the band will play its popular 1989 album Dr. Feelgood all the way through at every show. But it's still a predictably lame reinforcement of the nurse stereotype, which despite being a "joke" degrades nursing in the public consciousness and undermines nurses' claims to adequate respect and resources during a critical nursing shortage. Why predictable? Because the band has not been able to resist the nurse in recent publicity efforts, including as a 2007 promotional theme for frontman Vince Neil's West Palm Beach club "Dr. Feelgood's," as well as in drummer Tommie Lee's appearance as "Dr. Feelgood" in Keith Anderson's 2005 "XXL" video. It's not clear if the nurses will be along for Crue Fest 2. But since the band is stressing that its shows are a way to help fans cope with the lousy economy, maybe it would consider applying that laudable concern for public wellbeing to the nursing crisis, and leave the nurse part out. more... and please join our letter-writing campaign!


The Disease Care Industry

March 17, 2009 -- On February 15, 2009, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an op-ed by nurse Kathleen Bartholomew that used recent layoffs at a local hospital as a vehicle to urge the public to rethink the way the United States provides health care. The op-ed is "We all hurt when hospitals shrink themselves into budgetary compliance." It says that the layoffs of "200 personnel" and the elimination of the chief nurse position at Swedish Medical Center will greatly undermine the infrastructure on which already-stretched direct care nurses and physicians depend. Bartholomew argues that essential support for health practice is crumbling in hospitals because the U.S. regards health care as a business rather than a right, and because the nation misallocates precious health care resources. Results include "long-term higher costs along with health care workers and leaders losing heart," with nurses bearing much of the burden. Sadly, one month after Bartholomew's op-ed appeared, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer itself shrank into budgetary compliance, and the paper delivered its last print edition today. We thank Bartholomew and the Post-Intelligencer for this powerful op-ed, which also shows that nurses are strong, expert patient advocates. more...


A nursing pioneer biography by a guest writer

Clara Barton: Founder of the American Red Cross

By Cole Summers, age 10
(adapted from a class project)

Clara Barton is considered one of the greatest nurses ever. She was a nurse on the battlefield, providing care to soldiers. Clara formed the American Red Cross in 1881. see the full biography...      


Let Sandy Summers empower your group at its next event!

Media images of health care--like the ones on ABC's popular "Grey's Anatomy"--have an important effect on the nursing profession. Many nurses and nursing students feel frustrated when influential media products undervalue nurses. But how can we change what the media tells the public about nursing? Sandy Summers has led high-profile efforts to promote more accurate and robust depictions of nursing since 2001. She has shared her insights in dynamic presentations to groups across North America. She empowers nurses and teaches them how to shape their image into one that reflects the profession's true value. When nurses get the respect they deserve, they will attract more resources for nursing practice, education, and research, so we can resolve the nursing shortage. Sign Sandy up for your next conference, nurses' week celebration, or gala event! Click here for more details.


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!


Saving Lives -- Educating society about the value of nursing

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. Please help get us on the Diane Rehm show by adding your voice to this discussion thread on WAMU's website. Thank you!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!
  7. Consider giving this year's nursing graduates a copy of Saving Lives--we can even sign them for you. Contact us for details.
  8. Please distribute our press release to your local media. Ask them to interview us or write an article about the book.
  9. 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.  


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 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



Please circulate this freely. If this was forwarded to you, you can sign up for free news alerts here.

To change your email address for news alerts, please send your old and new email addresses to

Unsubscribe from news alerts.



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