Modern Family:  the dimwit as nursing student
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Modern Family castProblems with nursing:

Modern Family suggests any idiot can become a nurse

Press coverage:

Forbes recognizes Truth site as among "best disruptive writings of 2013"

LA Times, Variety, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cover Truth and Scrubbing In campaign

Nominate media for best and worst nursing media awards of 2013!

Get a copy of Saving Lives with every $30 donation!

Get Truth posters and place them at your school or workplace!

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Problems with Nursing

December 4, 2013 - Tonight's episode of the popular ABC sitcom Modern Family revealed that Dylan, the sometime boyfriend of character Haley Dunphy, was attending nursing school. That's great, right? Sweet, attractive Dylan, a straight guy who won't reinforce the stereotype that men in nursing are all gay! Except, umm...Dylan is clueless. Dylan and HaleyActually, he's always been more or less an idiot, and a good match for the superficial Haley. Dylan's reveal about nursing school came at a football game where he also showed Haley some graffiti he'd once written for her on the stands--"HALEY DUNPHY DOME." Dylan said he'd meant that to read "do me," but he'd always had "problems with spacing." Dylan, a musician, also explained that the transition to nursing made sense because whereas he'd once healed with music, he'd now be "doing the same thing with drugs." That's cute, but on the whole, Dylan's pursuit of nursing reinforces the stereotype that any well-meaning dimwit can become a nurse. We would be fine with Dylan suddenly becoming a non-idiot, but assuming that show producers have any interest in continuity--Dylan has been this way since the 2009 series premiere--it seems best for Modern Family to quickly phase out his nursing career, ideally with some plotline emphasizing that (who knew?!) nurses actually have to be intelligent, savvy people with an education. See the film clips or go straight to the petition!


Press coverage of the Truth's activities

Forbes recognizes Truth site as among "best disruptive writings of 2013"

December 30, 2013 - Today Forbes posted a year-end piece by contributor Leah Binder that recognized writing on health care that produced "disruptive innovation," creating change by "gor[ing] somebody's ox." Binder, who is CEO of the respected hospital-safety organization The Leapfrog Group, called her piece "The Best Disruptive Writings of 2013 -- Health Care Edition." She discussed the Truth's work under the heading "Gored Oxen Four: Conventional Wisdom About Delivering Care":

"The role of the patient has changed and so has the practice of medicine and nursing. Hollywood took note of one passionate nurse writer, Sandy Summers, and her colleagues, whose blog on the fascinating website analyzes media portrayals of nursing practice. Summers points out how TV depicts physicians performing tasks nurses actually do in real practice and generally portrays nurses as incompetent, unprofessional and/or none-too-bright. This hurts patients, she says, since the vast majority of care patients receive comes from nurses, and we need the best people on the job. Her passion had a direct impact this year, influencing advertiser choices and prompting talks with producers of problematic programs."

Binder is referring to the Truth's campaign about MTV's Scrubbing In, but it's clear that she has also been reading about other Truth activities on our site. We thank Binder for recognizing our work to "disrupt" regressive ways of thinking about the nursing profession! see the article...

Variety, Los Angeles Times, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cover MTV campaign

November 22, 2013 -- The Scrubbing In campaign success by the Truth and other nurses received extensive major media coverage. On November 19, AJ Marechal wrote a good initial report for Variety, "MTV Reschedules, Edits ‘Scrubbing In’ After Nursing Orgs Condemn The Show: Network has bumped the docuseries from 10 p.m. to midnight following criticism and low ratings." On November 20, Los Angeles Times writers Jennifer and Michael followed up with "MTV to alter O.C. nursing reality show 'Scrubbing In' amid protests." And on November 22, Maria Sciullo had a piece about the Scrubbing In campaign in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Scrubbing In campaign was also covered by the health media, including the Canadian Nurses Association, Nurse Together, Staffing Industry Analysts, Fierce Healthcare, and the BioEthics bulletin at Johns Hopkins University.

We thank the mainstream and health media outlets who covered the Scrubbing In campaign.


Nominate media about nursing for best and worst media awards of 2013!

golden lampHave you seen an especially good or bad depiction of nursing in 2013? Nominate it as one of the ten best or ten worst media depictions for our 2013 Truth About Nursing Awards. If we have written about it in 2013, don't worry, it's on our radar (you can check our news page to see if we covered it if you'd like). But if you have seen something we have missed, please let us know about it so we don't overlook it. No complicated forms to fill out, just send us the name of what you saw, and most helpfully an Internet link to where we can find out more, at Nominations due January 31, 2014. Thank you!


Sandy SummersPlanning speakers? Support the Truth by inviting Sandy Summers to 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 internationally. 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! All honoraria go directly to support the Truth's operations. When you invite Sandy to speak, you make the Truth's work possible since honoraria are our biggest source of funding. Thank you! Click here for more details.


Get a copy of Saving Lives with every $30 donation

Saving Lives paperback cover If you donate at least $30 now, we will send you a copy of our leaders' book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk. Saving Lives continues to influence nurses, the media, and members of the public around the world. You can also get the paperback from Amazon. Saving Lives is also available in digital form through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes. Saving Lives has won an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award and an award from the international nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau. Many nursing professors use the book as a text to discuss nursing in society. You can get a free copy--paperback or digital--with every $30 donation to the Truth About Nursing!


Place Truth About Nursing posters at your school or workplace

I am your RN poster Tell colleagues and patients the truth! Our "I Am Your Registered Nurse" poster presents nurses as autonomous professionals on whom patients can rely. The poster explains that nurses are modern science professionals who protect and advocate for patients and empowers nurses to meet those challenges. Designed for the bedside, the poster comforts patients by educating them about the care environment and assuring them that nurses are there to fend for them.

Short dresses posterOr consider the Truth's "Can Short Dresses Cause Short Staffing?" poster. This one takes humorous aim at the naughty nurse image that continues to haunt advertisements and other media, especially those aimed at males. The poster connects the naughty nurse image with the broader undervaluation that leads to gross underfunding of nursing education, research, and practice, ultimately threatening patients.

For every dollar that you donate, we'll send you up to 4 posters to hang at your school or workplace. Just email us at to tell us how many you'd like and where to send them. 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!


Please donate nowPlease 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 —
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