News on Nursing in the Media
November 22, 2009 -- Please help us with our campaign about the Lung Cancer Alliance's Dr. Lung Love video, which uses naughty, subservient "nurses" to promote lung cancer awareness. LCA refuses to fix or remove the damaging PSA "Waitin' Room Service" despite protests from many nurses and nursing organizations. The prominent charity's president and CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose (right) took three weeks to respond to our daily calls and supporters' many emails. (See her email.) Her email stated that LCA had "replaced" the video, but it has done no such thing. LCA has just slightly deemphasized the video at the lunglove.com website by having a different Dr. Lung Love video be the default video when visitors first arrive at the site. This actually appears to be part of LCA's original plan to rotate related videos, so it seems that LCA has done nothing to address nurses' concerns. (See our response to her letter.) The original rap video remains prominently displayed on the site, on YouTube, and elsewhere. Ambrose's letter says that she understands nurses' concerns about the "perceived misrepresentation" (maybe it was all in our heads!). But Ambrose also spends a lot of the letter boasting about LCA's achievements, and implies that our concerns must give way to LCA's more important health mission. She even points out the ways in which LCA has supported nursing issues in the past, as if nurses owe LCA tolerance of this obviously degrading campaign, or as if LCA might not be so supportive of nursing in the future if nurses don't back down now. LCA seems to be running out the clock, dragging things out till the PSA has completed its planned run. But it is actually not OK for LCA to pursue its public health goals by obstructing nursing's public health goals, continuing to suggest that nurses are naughty physician servants. So please see our campaign, then call 202-463-2080 (press 8) and ask LCA president Laurie Fenton Ambrose to fix or remove the PSA and apologize to nurses. Then click here to send her an instant letter or even better, one of your own. If you call her, please let us know at email@example.com so we can follow the effectiveness of our campaign. Thank you!
November 19, 2009 -- In May, Whoopi Goldberg made a few comments in an Apple store interview that suggested nurses were just "helpers" and that medicine was the health profession today's girls should aspire to join, as the main character in Goldberg's own children's book series does. Goldberg was also the co-creator of the Lifetime series Strong Medicine (2000-2006), which portrayed nurses as handmaidens to heroic female physicians (with the partial exception of the nurse-midwife character Peter Riggs). So we launched a letter-writing campaign to let Whoopi know that nurses are skilled, autonomous professionals who save lives and improve patient outcomes. Over 100 of you sent email letters, and many of those were original. We printed them all out and sent hard copies to Whoopi to make sure they got her attention. Soon after she called us, concerned that all these nurses were upset with her. And unlike many media figures, Whoopi not only responded but took the time to listen to our thoughts about the undervaluation of nursing. We talked for about 15 minutes about how we might work together to convey the truth about nursing to a wider audience, and we understand she has discussed it further with a close business associate. We will soon follow up with some specific ideas. We believe Whoopi has considered our issues seriously and that she will, at a minimum, try not to create damaging media about nursing in the future. So thank you for helping to change the mind of this very influential person. Your letters made the difference. Please click here to change more of the 6.8 billion minds out there with our other campaigns. And thanks again!
October 12, 2009 -- Recent press reports describe what appears be a remarkable example of sexual abuse of a nurse. Melinda Rogers's October 9 piece in the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Utah police had arrested a 30-year-old man from the town of Bountiful after he had allegedly twice grabbed the breast of the hospital nurse who was caring for the woman about to give birth to his child. The Daily Mail 's (U.K.) item dated today added the helpful detail that the expectant mother had explained the father's behavior by telling the nurse that he was "just drunk." Both reports confirmed that the man had been charged with sexual assault, causing him to miss the birth of his son. It may be hard not to laugh at some of the details, but of course abuse like this is not funny to the victim, and the reports are a reminder of how often nurses suffer sexual and other abuse in the workplace. And the naughty nurse image that continues to infect the global mass media helps to feed such abuse. We commend the police for taking this case seriously, and these newspapers for their straightforward reports. more...
November 2009 -- In this month's issue, the New Zealand Nurses Review included a cover story about Showtime's Nurse Jackie. The story focused on the varied opinions nurses have about the show, and Truth executive director Sandy Summers was quoted. see the article...
September 2009 -- The South African Forum for Professional Nurse Leaders published an encouraging review of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk in their Spring 2009 (September) newsletter. See the review... (scroll to p. 4)
November 2009 -- This month, ADVANCE for Nurses book club features our book Saving Lives. ADVANCE interviewed the co-authors of Saving Lives.
Read the book club entry;
See the videos:
Image Matters: Defusing Nurse Stereotypes;
Nurses Can Advocate;
Then please join in the discussion at ADVANCE. Thank you!
October 2009 -- Truth About Nursing executive director Sandy Summers and board member Richard Kimball jointly wrote a chapter entitled "Autonomy" in the new book 101 Global Leadership Lessons for Nurses: Shared Legacies from Leaders and their Mentors, edited by Nancy Rollins Gantz. The book was published by Sigma Theta Tau International. see the book...
We have created a new flyer and would like to ask your help. Our flyer is entitled: "Can Short Dresses Cause Short Staffing?" It explains how the naughty nurse and other stereotypes of nursing undermine nurses' claims for adequate resources that we need to save lives and improve patient outcomes. Please let us know if you can post some of these at your school or workplace and will send them out to you. Alternatively, you could download the 8.5" x 14" or 8.5" x 11" version and post a few. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send out the flyers. Thank you!
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.
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!
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:
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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