News on Nursing in the Media
October 2009 -- Starting last year, Virgin Mobile India has apparently been broadcasting a "naughty nurse" television ad as part of its "Think hatke" (Think differently) campaign. In the ad, a supposedly immobilized young hospital patient tricks a hot, compliant young nurse in a very short white dress. The patient has a friend call his cell phone, then asks the nurse to find the ringing phone and help him answer; that requires having her reach around in his pockets, that is, in his genital area. Of course, there is also the irony of a "think different" campaign whose central idea is actually swiped from Apple's legendary campaign of the 1980's. The Virgin Mobile ad does not represent anything "different" from the naughty nurse advertising that CEO Richard Branson and Virgin Mobile Canada indulged in several years ago, or from the ubiquitous naughty nurse imagery that has infected the globe for decades, undermining nurses' claims to adequate resources during the global nursing crisis. As for the "thinking" part, we'll leave it to you to compare the ideas of the people who appeared in Apple's original campaign--for example, Mohandas Gandhi--with the idea of tricking a nurse into sticking her hand down your pants for a few seconds. We urge Virgin Mobile to think different. more...and please join our letter-writing campaign!
August 4, 2009 -- Today USA Today ran a very good report by Erin Thompson about a new study detailing the high level of abuse emergency nurses suffer. The article, "More than half of ER nurses have been assaulted on job," describes the results of an online survey of more than 3,000 ED nurses by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). The study was published in the Journal of Nursing Administration. The USA Today piece relies heavily on comments from ENA president Bill Briggs about the causes of and potential solutions to the problem. The report might have included comment from hospital representatives as to how they are addressing the abuse. And it might have been more explicit about whether the problem has been exacerbated by the widespread belief that abuse is just part of an ED nurse's job. But on the whole, the article is a helpful look at the dangerous conditions many nurses confront and a commendable example of mainstream coverage of nursing research. We thank Ms. Thompson and USA Today. more...
See a new Truth About Nursing FAQ (and our other FAQs...)
A few critics have suggested that, by providing examples of naughty nurse imagery, we are actually working against our own mission, which they assume is simply to eradicate such images one by one.
We display some of the images we write about for several reasons. First, we cannot fully convey the nature of what we are discussing if we do not display it. We do try to describe the imagery to some extent for people who may not be able to view the images on their computers, but clearly the best way to illustrate the sexualization of the nursing image is to actually show the kind of imagery we're describing. We doubt many advocacy groups in other fields face criticism for actually displaying examples of what they're advocating against. more...
August 2009 -- Registered Nurse, the magazine of the California Nurses Association, has published a review of Saving Lives in its July/August 2009 issue. In her review, editor Lucia Hwang writes:
The pervasive problem in [news and entertainment] media ... is that they almost never accurately portray the important, science-based work that registered nurses do and instead reinforce damaging stereotypes of RNs, argue Sandy and Harry Summers in their persuasive book, Saving Lives.
See the full review. Scroll to pp. 16-17.
October 22, 2009 -- The Truth About Nursing's executive director Sandy Summers will be speaking at various locations across the U.S. Come on out and see her, and be part of the conversation on changing how the public thinks about nursing. There is a seating limit, so please check with event hosts for space availability. See our list of events this fall:
October 22: American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators (Baltimore)
November 11: Vermont State Nurses Association (Stowe)
Click here to see our calendar for more details.
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:
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
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
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