News on Nursing in the Media
March 7, 2011 -- The issue of People magazine dated December 27, 2010 includes Poison singer and reality TV star Bret Michaels as one of its "most intriguing" people of 2010, in a two-page layout dominated by a photo of Michaels surrounded by four naughty nurse models, a reference to his well-publicized recovery from a brain hemorrhage and other health problems. In Justin Stephens' photo, the models' outfits are not extreme by naughty nurse standards--very short white "nurse dresses" and high heels, caps 'n' cleavage. But their poses and facial expressions, along with the ways they are touching Michaels and brandishing basic health equipment, clearly present an image of generic seduction. This is not the first time the enterprising Mr. Michaels has used naughty nurse imagery in connection with publicity of his health problems. In a blog post following his emergency appendectomy in April 2010, he said that he had "hot nurses" taking care of him, referring to the "nurse fantasy" that "every man has." Maybe naughty nurse imagery helps Mr. Michaels meet somehair metal cliché quota and reduce the sense of illness-related vulnerability that might be bad for a celebrity whose image is built on strength and sexual attractiveness. But whatever it's fair to expect of Mr. Michaels, we can certainly expect People magazine--which "reaches more adult readers (more than 45 million as of fall 2009) with each issue than any consumer magazine ever"--to resist such an obvious reinforcement of the brainless naughty nurse image that has long undermined real nurses' claims to respect and resources. We contacted the CEO of Time Inc., and later, People editor Larry Hackett called us in response. He apologized and promised that People will use no other degrading images of nurses while he is there. People also published Truth director Sandy Summers's letter explaining why such images are harmful in the Mailbag section of today's issue. We commend the magazine for being responsive to our concerns about the image of nurses. We have given People some ideas about real nurses whose life-saving work it may wish to highlight. If you have any suggestions about such nurses, please send them to us, and we will collect them and present them to People. Thank you! more...
October 11, 2010 -- Today The Washington Post ran an excellent op-ed by Veneta Masson, the Washington, D.C. nurse practitioner and writer, based on an article she wrote for this month's Health Affairs. Explaining why she no longer gets annual mammograms, Masson discusses the research about the flawed test, finding no evidence that it actually saves lives. And she points to downsides including the severe harm many suffer from unnecessary treatment following false positives. The Post rightly describes Masson as a "nurse practitioner," even though she no longer practices, because nursing is a profession. But a story on the mammogram debate that aired today on National Public Radio's Morning Edition was not so good for nursing. Richard Knox's piece includes a brief statement by Masson, but it refers to her as a "former nurse practitioner." By contrast, it's unusual to hear a reference to a "former physician." In addition, NPR cites Masson only as a "patient" to provide balance for the views of another patient who supports screening but who has no evident health expertise. Then the piece shifts to quotes from "experts," implying that Masson is not one, despite her 20 years as an NP and the fact that her articles discuss the relevant research in some detail. NPR does include as an "expert" a public health physician who chaired the Federal Task Force on Mammograms but who appears to have no professional expertise in oncology. The online version of the NPR story at least mentions Masson's Health Affairs article, but the broadcast does not. We thank Masson and the Post for helping the public understand that nurses are articulate, informed health advocates. more...
March 3, 2011 -- Register now for The Truth About Nursing's conference in New Orleans, April 15-17, 2011, "Empowering Nurses and Improving Care Through Better Understanding of Nursing," at the beautiful Marriott Renaissance Arts Hotel, located in the heart of this fabulous city! Speakers will include Kathleen Bartholomew, Donna Cardillo, Sandy Summers, journalist Hope Keller and a representative of Rutgers University's 2012 Project, who will tell us how to get more nurses into politics! Other topics include enhancing public understanding of nursing through the media, educating decision-makers and physician colleagues about nursing, effective strategies to improve working relationships, and practical steps toward achieving nursing empowerment. This work is critical in helping the nursing profession get the respect and resources that it deserves and that patients need. Twelve continuing education hours are anticipated. Exciting events include a welcome cocktail reception and a Riverboat Jazz Dinner Cruise on the Mississippi. Come enjoy the food and culture of the Crescent City as you explore how to move nursing forward! Get details here...
March 1, 2011 -- Today HealthLeaders Media ran a thoughtful piece by Rebecca Hendren about the tendency to call new surgical robots "nurses," even though such robots cannot do the vast majority of skilled tasks that OR nurses do. The piece relied on expert comment from Kathleen Bartholomew and Sandy Summers, both of whom will speak at the Truth's conference in April. see the article...
February 18, 2011 -- Today HC Pro's Stressed Out Nurses website ran a substantial piece by Erica Jordan about the Truth's conference, which will be held on April 15-17, 2011, in New Orleans, LA. see the article...
March 3, 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 $5! 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!
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!
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
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