Nurse understaffing:  Are your knuckles white?
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white knucklesHeadlines:

Are your knuckles white? NPR on nurse understaffing

Regular Phuket Hero: The nurse as local disaster response leader

See Sandy Summers speak about the nursing image in Ontario in September!

Chapter Action Ideas

Adopt Truth posters and hang them at your school or workplace!

Megan LeClair: Teach medical students about the value of nursing

Elizabeth Winslow: Encourage nurses who speak publicly to identify themselves as nurses!

Can you donate $15 today to help support our work?

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

Nursing professors, in need of curriculum ideas?

Saving Lives on sale for $7


Are your knuckles white?

Linda Aiken quoteMay 25, 2012 -- Today National Public Radio's Morning Edition ran a generally helpful 5-minute report by Patti Neighmond about widespread nurse understaffing in U.S. hospitals, as part of the radio network's "Sick in America" series. Following a poll showing that one third of U.S. hospital patients reported that nurses were "unavailable" when needed, NPR placed a "call out" on Facebook for nurses themselves to explain what was going on. Nurses responded with stories of being compelled to care for patients non-stop for their 12-hour shifts, with few or no breaks, and worrying that understaffing made it impossible to provide safe care. The Morning Edition piece consults University of Pennsylvania nursing scholar Linda Aiken, who argues that the U.S. now faces not so much a shortage of nurses as a shortage of nursing care at the bedside, which matters because nurses are the "surveillance system" in health care. And commendably, the piece explains, partly through an audio clip from a direct care nurse, how under-staffing can endanger patients, for example if a nurse is too busy to note subtle condition changes or respond to an alarm. An American Hospital Association representative stresses that hospitals today face financial constraints as well as sicker patients and a proliferation of care technologies. pull out quote 1But NPR presents no advocate on the other side, like a union leader, to respond with the argument that it is conscious policy choices, not something totally beyond the control of hospitals or government, that result in nursing being severely underfunded. No direct care nurse featured on the segment is identified, because almost all who responded were "worried about retaliation" from employers. And sadly, it seems that whoever wrote the piece could not resist having Morning Edition host Renee Montaigne lead off with the inane cliché that nurses are the "backbone" of the health care system, which suggests that nurses are tough but unthinking pieces of hardware, like beds. Still, we appreciate the report's basic points that the current understaffing means nurses are working on the edge and that this can threaten patient health. We thank NPR and Patti Neighmond. more... 


Regular Phuket Hero

Jenny from PhuketFebruary 19, 2012 -- Today the Thai publication Phuketwan ran a short but helpful item by Alan Morison about a nurse on the resort island of Phuket whose job involves coordinating the local response to disasters, such as a chlorine gas leak that reportedly sent 37 people to her hospital a couple days earlier. The piece, "Nurse Jenny, Regular Phuket Hero," describes not only the nurse's role in dealing with the chlorine incident but also her experience in previous disasters, including the devastating 2004 tsunami that left many on the island dead. The piece is not too specific about what "Jenny" actually does for patients, but it does allow her to provide substantial comment on how the hospital handled the chlorine incident, and it indicates that she is a leader in disaster response, receiving training elsewhere in Thailand and an "exchange scholarship" to study in Vancouver and Seattle. Despite the fact that Hero-Nurse Jenny never gets her surname published, which would identify her as a real human being working hard at her profession, we thank Mr. Morison and Phuketwan. more...


Sandy SummersSee Sandy Summers speak about the nursing image in Ontario in September!

Sandy Summers, the Truth's executive director, delivers the keynote speech at the 4th Biennial Nursing Conference in beautiful Windsor, Canada (near Detroit) hosted by the University of Windsor on Saturday, September 29, 2012. See the brochure and register today!


Chapter Action Ideas


Adopt Truth posters and hang them at your school or workplace!

Adopt 2 postersAugust 2012 -- A Colorado nursing school has recently adopted our posters on nursing autonomy and the naughty nurse stereotype. At their request, we added the school's logo to our posters and school officials are hanging them around campus. If you would like to add your logo and distribute the posters where you work or go to school, just email us along with a copy of your logo, and we'll customize the poster for you. No charge, but our non-profit organization appreciates your support!


Megan LeClairTeach medical students about the value of nursing

June 2012 -- Megan LeClair, RN, BSN, of the University of Wisconsin's Trauma and Life Support Center, recently performed a study based on a program from Dartmouth University in which medical students follow nurses at work to learn about the life-saving skills that nurses have. Her study was effective and we urge you to design your own! See the original Dartmouth program designed and led by Ellen Ceppetelli, RN, PhD. See Megan's abstract and results.


Elizabeth Winslow, RN, PhD, FAANEncourage nurses who speak publicly to identify themselves as nurses!

August 2012 -- Elizabeth Winslow, RN, PhD, FAAN, wrote a great opinion piece in the August issue of the American Journal of Nursing entitled "We Silence Our Profession When We Fail to Identify Ourselves as Nurses." Winslow encourages nurses who speak publicly to weave into the message that the speaker is a nurse. We are reminded of a similarly great piece, "Pick Up That RN Flag and Wave It" by Pam Meredith, RN, NP, which appeared in Nursing Spectrum in December 2002. Get up, stand up, nurses!


Does anybody know what nurses really do?

The Truth's five-minute movie explores common stereotypes in a comical way!

Watch now!

Wendy and JimCheck out the Truth's 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 for Halloween 2011, 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...


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

August 21, 2012 -- The electronic version of 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 hardback and paperback editions of Saving Lives are currently sold out as we are in a transition to a new publisher. All royalties for the multiple award-winning book go directly to support our 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!

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.


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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