News on Nursing in the Media
May 12, 2009 -- Today the Baltimore Sun published an op-ed by Truth About Nursing executive director Sandy Summers arguing that resolution of the nursing crisis will require us to change our preconceptions about the profession. In her "Viewpoint" essay, published to celebrate International Nurses Day, Summers noted some positive recent developments. These include U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to honor nurses and include them in policymaking, such as by appointing nurse Mary Wakefield to head the Health Resources and Services Administration and increasing funding for programs aimed at addressing the faculty shortage. However, Summers explained, long-term improvement in the clinical and educational resources available to nursing will require a fundamental change in how people see the profession. She pointed out that much of the influential mass media, from popular Hollywood television shows to the news media and advertising, continues to portray nurses as vacuous losers, scut work saints, or disposable bimbos. Only a true appreciation for nurses' life-saving skills can guarantee nurses what they need to meet the health care challenges of the 21st century. As Summers concluded: "Let's celebrate nurses every day by making the only change that will ensure nurses are there when we need them: Let's reconsider the value of what nurses do." We thank the Baltimore Sun. see the full op-ed...
March 3, 2009 -- Today The Huntsville Times (AL) ran a generally good story by Steve Doyle headlined "Hourly nurse rounding is a growing trend around the country." The piece focuses on local hospitals that have established programs to check patients on set schedules for comfort, positioning, and other needs. Some programs include requirements that care givers actually introduce themselves and explain to patients what they are doing! The programs reportedly improve patient outcomes, for instance by reducing falls and bedsores, and they also increase patient satisfaction. The article quotes two nurse managers, in addition to "customer service" directors; it might have also consulted the direct care nurses who actually do the rounding. We thank Doyle and the Huntsville Times for a helpful report on these promising trends, which also have the potential to increase the visibility of nurses and public understanding of the importance of what nurses do. more...
April 29, 2009 -- This week's issue of Nursing Standard, the U.K.'s best-selling nursing journal, included Dame Betty Kershaw's review of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All At Risk. Dame Kershaw (right) is the education adviser of the Royal College of Nursing. She gave Saving Lives 4 out of 5 stars. In her review, Dame Kershaw emphasized that although the book is a U.S. text, "every nurse should recognise the damage that negative portrayals of nursing in the press, films, television and even books can do to our image." Indeed, she noted, the "[t]he popularity of transatlantic film and TV shows means many of the United States images referred to here are seen in the UK." Dame Kershaw explained that "this well-researched text explores the negative effects of adverse publicity and how it inhibits our professional growth," and that the "constant failure to credit nurses for the work they do is addressed." She concluded: "The book deserves wide reading. Hopefully some firebrand may even be driven to duplicate this study in the UK." We thank Dame Kershaw and Nursing Standard. see the full article...
May 7, 2009 -- Wisconsin Public Radio host Joy Cardin did a one hour interview with the Truth's executive director Sandy Summers about our book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayals of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk. listen to the show in Real Player...
Doctors and Nurses, Still Learning, April 29, 2009
Good Grief, Nurse Brown, April 1, 2009
See links to all of Theresa Brown's NYT pieces on our nurse-driven media page.
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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.
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:
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.
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Thank you for supporting the Truth About Nursing's work!
Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
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