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News on Nursing in the Media


Heart Attack Grill: Join our Las Vegas protest this Saturday November 12!!

Reader's Digest: Secrets from the experts

The media on "nurse robots": That leg brace graduated first in its nursing school class!

Submit your creative nonfiction!

"Nursing: Isn't That Sweet?!" Join the thousands who have watched the Truth's new short film

Come see Sandy Summers speak about the nursing image in Spain

Saving Lives on sale for $7


Heart Attack Grill: Join our Las Vegas protest this Saturday November 12!

RD imageNovember 11, 2011 -- Please join our Las Vegas chapter at 5:00 pm tomorrow, November 12, for a protest in front of the newly opened Heart Attack Grill. Since the anti-health restaurant first opened in Arizona in 2006, it has been failing and re-opening at new locations. And from the beginning, we have pursued a campaign to persuade the Grill to stop dressing its waitresses in naughty nurse costumes. Although we have yet to convince the Grill to do the right thing, we have generated global press coverage about why the naughty nurse image undermines the nursing profession's claims to the respect and resources it needs to save lives. Tomorrow, we will be peacefully gathering and handing out flyers to customers and passersby. Please come join the protest Saturday, November 12th, at 5:00 pm at the Heart Attack Grill at 450 Fremont St., Las Vegas, NV 89101. Thank you! Click here for more information on the protest on our Las Vegas chapter page.


The experts

RD imageNovember 2011 -- The cover story in this month's issue of Reader's Digest is "50 Secrets Nurses Won't Tell You." But in fact they will tell you . . . in this feature by Michelle Crouch, though many do so anonymously. The sub-head:  "Doctors are clueless about what really happens in the beds, rooms, and halls of our hospitals. That's why we went to the experts." Actually, physicians emerge from the piece as worse than clueless. They are presented as people with a basic lack of regard for other humans, particularly in failing to provide adequate pain relief. But the broader focus of the piece is to give readers helpful tips about what happens in hospitals and how to survive there. Some of the 17 nurses quoted convey the challenges of nursing today, and they make good points about nursing skill, from saving lives to psychosocial care. One nurse points out that ABC's Grey's Anatomy is a laughable fantasy, in part because in real life nurses do most of what surgeon characters do on the show. Another nurse asks not to be told that she is "too smart to be a nurse," noting that she is not a wannabe physician. To a limited extent, we even hear about nursing autonomy and advocacy, with several references to questioning physician care plans. Some comments do suggest the great stress of nursing, and there are references to the practice of stacking long shifts, the danger of under-staffing, and the very high overall level of acuity today. Yet the piece does not quite say that nurses often confront dangerously high patient ratios, and most readers aren't going to put it together. Not all of the quotes are helpful. One nurse warns that nurses will gossip about personal details patients reveal because "we're here for 12 hours with nothing to talk about." And the piece's focus on advice from hospital direct care nurses means it does not convey the scope of nursing education or practice. Advanced practice nurses, scholars, and public health nurses are largely unrepresented. But the piece does provide a lot of valuable information about nursing. We thank Michelle Crouch and Reader's Digest. more...


That leg brace graduated first in its nursing school class!

robot leg braceNovember 2011 -- Recent media about the increasing role of robots and lay persons in health care has persisted in referring to those novice health actors as "nurses." Today a TechNewsDaily item on the CBS News website described some machines Toyota is developing to help those with mobility problems--including computerized leg braces--as "robot nurses." On March 18, an Associated Press story reported that "Purdue University researchers are developing a gesture-driven robotic scrub nurse prototype that may one day relieve the nurse of some of her technical duties or replace the scrub technician who is at times responsible for fulfilling those tasks." The piece repeatedly calls the machine, which currently recognizes five hand gestures, a "robotic scrub nurse." But those robots are not thinking health professionals with years of college-level science education. On February 17, Forbes health blogger Michael Millenson described efforts to use IBM's question-answering machine Watson as a "physician's assistant." The post suggests that IBM consider "a pleasing, deferential, higher-pitched voice, the experienced and trustworthy nurse who knows her stuff, but also knows her place." The headline: "Watson: A Computer So Smart It Can Say, 'Yes, Doctor.'" Millenson claimed that he was just using "droll, tongue-in-cheek understatement" to suggest that physicians might respond better to the "deferential manner" in which nurses have traditionally treated them. But his piece exploits the handmaiden stereotype, and the headline is a weak joke about this "smart" computer being used in a role that consists mainly of saying "yes, doctor." The media seems to assume that anything or anyone who assists in health care can be called a "nurse." A current lobbying campaign by the U.S. long-term care industry to protest potential federal budget cuts includes an ad that blares: "Today, you're an accountant. Tomorrow, you're dad's nurse." Actually, no, you're not. We urge all these media creators to avoid glib statements that suggest nursing consists of performing a few simple tasks. more...


Submit your creative non-fiction about nursing!

non-fictionNovember 11, 2011 -- The well-regarded magazine Creative Nonfiction wants you to submit an essay for an upcoming issue! We encourage everyone to consider submitting, especially those with compelling narratives outside of traditional direct care settings, since it is not clear from the magazine's request for submissions if it is aware of the full range of settings in which nurses practice. The requested length is 2,500 to 5,000 words, and the deadline is the end of January 2012.

Creative Nonfiction is seeking essays by and about nurses for a new collection, Becoming a Nurse: Real Stories of Nurses, Their Lives and Their Patients. We're looking for stories from a variety of viewpoints.

What motivates nurses to enter, and to stay in, this demanding profession, and how are their daily lives affected by ongoing changes in the healthcare system? Becoming a Nurse will present readers with the world of health from the perspective of nurses in hospitals, in-home care programs, long-term care facilities, hospices, and the armed forces as they tell stories that recall and recreate the most salient moments of their careers.

We are looking for writers who can write dramatically and vividly about this profession for a collection of essays, which will be published by Creative Nonfiction. Essays can be from 2,500-5,000 words but should be written in a narrative form, with scenes, description, vivid characters and a distinctive voice. To submit, please send your manuscript to:

Creative Nonfiction
Attn: Becoming a Nurse
5501 Walnut Street, Suite 202
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Please include a word count on the first page of the essay, as well as your contact information and an self addressed stamped envelope or email address for response. Any additional questions can be directed to information [at] Submissions must be postmarked by January 31, 2012.


Nursing: Isn't That Sweet?!

The new Truth movie has everything...

Sexual content! Raw insults! And odd, computer-generated voices!
Watch now!

Wendy and JimOctober 25, 2011 -- Check out the Truth's new movie "Nursing: Isn't That Sweet?!" It's all about what happens when nurse Wendy encounters her old high school classmate Jim at a restaurant, many years later--after the two have taken their lives in very different directions! Can Wendy and Jim make a new connection? Or will things get a little ugly? Made using xtranormal software just in time for Halloween, the short video explores some chilling stereotypes that still infect public understanding of nursing. And for a different take on nursing stereotypes, check out the Truth's classic 2005 report "Nursing: Who Knew?" about a groundbreaking study in which leading researchers discover nurses' real contributions for the first time! See the video!


curriculum planning difficultiesNursing professors, in need of curriculum ideas?

Many nursing professors rely on the extensive and varied materials on the Truth's website to help their students engage with critical issues nurses will face in the future, from their public image to key aspects of nursing education, practice, and advocacy. Since 2001, we have explored and analyzed how the global media and society in general has seen the nursing profession. Join your colleagues and use this material to help plan your curriculum! See the full list...


Come see Sandy Summers speak about the nursing image in Spain!

XV International Research Nursing Conference
Encuentro Internacional de Investigación en Enfermería

          Madrid, Spain  
          November 16, 2011


Saving Lives paperback coverSaving Lives on sale for $7!
Help others understand nursing!

November 11, 2011 -- The paperback edition of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk now sells for $7 from Kindle! The B&N Nook and Apple iBook are also available for $10. The paperback 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 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

A Few Successes —
We Can Change the Media!

Educate the world that nurses save lives!

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