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News on Nursing in the Media


Little Fockers Greg and JackSaving lives and selling tomatoes: Nursing in Africa

Little Fockers review: The Nurse Meets the Godfather

Come see Sandy Summers speak about the nursing image this fall

Saving Lives on sale for $10!


Saving lives and selling tomatoes

nurses selling tomatoesJuly 6, 2011 -- Two media items appearing today in southern Africa illustrate the tragic conditions nurses face in the region, which is plagued by low salaries, severe understaffing, and the widespread emigration of skilled health care workers. "Zim nurses 'reduced to selling fruit,'" a South Africa Press Association article on the News24 website (Cape Town), reports that nurses in Zimbabwe "have been reduced to selling tomatoes and other fruit to survive due to poor public sector salaries," according to health minister Henry Madzorera. The minister also notes that Zimbabwe has suffered a "debilitating" brain drain of nurses not only to nations like Great Britain, but also to neighboring Botswana. However, on this same day, the Botswana Gazette (Gaborone) ran the strong editorial "Pay the nurse and save lives," which makes clear that Botswana itself faces the same problems. The editorial, relying heavily on Chief Nursing Officer Thandie Kgosiesele, urges the government to find a way to retain and support the nation's health workers. It also gives readers a remarkably good sense of why nurses are important, not just in providing basic custodial care, but also in saving lives, for instance through their close observation of patients. We thank both publications for telling readers about the terrible shortages of resources that nurses face in southern Africa. more...


The Nurse Meets the Godfather

Little Fockers posterAugust 2011 -- The popular Fockers comedies explore whether Chicago nurse Gaylord (Greg) Focker can meet the challenges of conventional manhood despite preconceptions about his profession, his name, and his Jewish background, but most of all, despite his father-in-law Jack Byrnes, an intense ex-CIA WASP who is obsessed with testing Greg. Mr. Focker was a bit tentative and klutzy in the original Meet the Parents, but he ultimately responded to the male nurse stereotypes that film pushed at him by offering a fairly strong defense of his work. Sadly, the sequel Meet the Fockers associated nursing with friendly mediocrity, suggesting that the job was for those with good hearts rather than keen minds. The third installment, Little Fockers, has been derided as a cynical cash-in, or an elaborate joke, for an ever-expanding crew of Hollywood stars. But the film is actually competent and sometimes amusing, and its treatment of nursing is relatively good. Greg again overcomes misunderstandings and small failures to show Jack why he is the right man for Pam and their two kids. But now Greg is a nursing manager who directs a medical-surgical unit, writes articles for the "AMA Journal," and deals with drug reps, including an attractive, articulate nurse who persuades Greg to moonlight by promoting to physicians a medication that we can't name here or our news alert will bounce. That nurse, admittedly, is a glib party girl who tries to seduce Greg. Anyway, Greg also displays some clinical expertise, mainly helping Jack with the effects of a heart condition, though the clinical scenes also have some frat-boy overtones. The film reminds us about society's preconceptions about men in nursing; the director of a private school assumes that Greg and Jack are life partners partly because Greg is a nurse. But what we end up with is that Greg is a regular guy and a talented health professional who is, yes, prone to comic misadventure. When it comes to Hollywood depictions, men in nursing could do worse. more...


Come see Sandy Summers speak about the nursing image this fall!

St. Louis, September 2011

Maryville University Sigma Theta Tau meeting
          St. Louis, Missouri   
          September 15, 2011, evening
          contact: Shawn Pohlman

Minnesota, October 2011

Minnesota Nurses Association meeting, 2nd District
          Duluth, Minnesota   
          October 1, 2011, morning
          contact: Rosemary Dahl

Michigan, October 2011

Bronson Methodist Hospital, "Dinner and a CEU"
           Kalamazoo, Michigan
           October 13, 2011, all day
           contact: Charlotte Rensberger

New Mexico, October 2011
Keynote Speaker

University of New Mexico Hospital Nursing Research Conference
          Albuquerque, New Mexico   
          October 28, 2011, 8 am
          contact: Adrienne Fugett

Spain, November 2011
Keynote Speaker

XV International Research Nursing Conference
Encuentro Internacional de Investigación en Enfermería

          Madrid, Spain  
          November 16, 2011


Saving Lives paperback coverSaving Lives on sale for $10!
Help others understand nursing!

August 4, 2011 -- The 2010 edition of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk now sells for $10 as a paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble! Plus, the Apple iBook and B&N Nook editions are priced at less than $7! The 2010 edition of Saving Lives has a new foreword by bestselling nurse author Echo Heron. And it is revised and expanded, discussing Nurse Jackie and other new shows, and featuring updated information throughout. You can also get an author-signed paperback copy when you become a member of the Truth or renew your membership for $30 (click here!). Please help support the Truth's effort to change how the world thinks about nursing today. These affordably-priced editions make great gifts for colleagues, students, or even to help family and friends understand the value of what nurses do. All royalties for the multiple award-winning book go directly to support non-profit nursing advocacy work. Thank you!


Get involved!

Get involved in helping us change how the world thinks about nursing. Check out our action page or start a chapter of the Truth in your home town. Or join us on Facebook!


Planning speakers? Let Sandy Summers empower your nurses!

Sandy SummersMedia 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.


Please support The Truth About Nursing

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 an international non-profit organization based in Baltimore that seeks to help the public understand the central role nurses play in health care. The Truth promotes more accurate media portrayals of nurses and greater use of nurses as expert sources. The group is led by Sandy Summers, co-author of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All At Risk.

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

Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH
Founder and Executive Director
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1100
fax 1-410-510-1790

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book cover, Saving lives

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