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You can do it another day

CBS's 60 Minutes on the Health Wagon!

Picking battles

Flawed heroes on TNT's Monday Mornings

If you have the autonomy

U.K. press on nurses in new roles

Speaking engagements

See Sandy Summers live in Pennsylvania and Las Vegas!

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

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


You can do it another day

CBS's 60 Minutes on the Health Wagon!

Health Wagon AppalachiaApril 6, 2014 -- Tonight a segment on CBS's long-running news show 60 Minutes offered a very good portrait of two nurse practitioners (NPs) who provide vital health care to still-uninsured residents of rural western Virginia from an old Winnebago called "The Health Wagon." Correspondent Scott Pelley explains that many residents of that poverty-stricken part of Appalachia, along with nearly 5 million others nationwide, have fallen between the cracks because they do not earn enough to afford coverage under the Obamacare health exchanges, but they live in one of the 24 states that has refused to expand Medicaid coverage despite federal subsidies. The report focuses mostly on the plight of the poor and uninsured--many of whom work full time--whose lives are at risk because they lack access to care. But the piece also conveys that NPs Teresa Gardner and Paula Meade are skilled and autonomous professionals, showing them examining, counseling, cajoling, and laughing with patients. Pelley notes that "with advanced degrees in nursing, Gardner and Meade are allowed to diagnose illnesses, write prescriptions, order tests and X-rays." And there is no real suggestion that they report to physicians, although the report also briefly profiles the "volunteer medical director" Joe Smitty, who drives a tractor-trailer X-ray lab around. The piece does emphasize how challenging the NPs' work is, particularly in view of the shortage of funds that means the nurses must wrestle with the battered RV (which breaks down at one point) and that they must work into the night writing grant proposals, while worrying about their own futures. One third of the Health Wagon's funds come from federal grants, and the rest are from private donations. But the report avoids the angel image. Toward the end, when Pelley asks if the nurses sometimes feel they can't do it anymore, Meade says yes, but it's the patients' gratitude and reliance on them that reminds them that they have "a purpose." And then, as Gardner adds, "you can do it another day." The report was produced by Henry Schuster and Rachael Kun Morehouse, and we thank all of those responsible. more...


Picking battles

Flawed heroes on TNT's Monday Mornings

Monday Mornings cast April 2013 -- From February to April 2013, TNT broadcast the first and only season of its drama Monday Mornings, which portrayed surgeons at a Portland (Oregon) hospital and in particular the tense "morbidity and mortality" conferences at which they examined their errors. The cable series was created by noted television producer David E. Kelley (responsible for the CBS surgeon show Chicago Hope (1994-2000)) and by surgeon and CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. The new series was based on Gupta's 2012 novel of the same name. All eight major characters on Monday Mornings were surgeons, and the series glorified their work, even with the focus on errors and the portrayal of a few characters as insensitive, arrogant, or even abusive. The show really cared only about what the surgeons were doing, and only they interacted with patients and families. Nurse characters were unusually scarce. In many scenes, they were not even vague shapes in the background, as you might see on Grey's Anatomy. When nurses did appear, they were anonymous helpers, and it was rare to see their faces, though there was the occasional sound of vital signs being reported. One of the few scenes in which a nurse did briefly assert herself came in the series finale, when a crusty ICU nurse tried to limit the number of the surgeons who could see a sick surgeon colleague. The chief of trauma surgery dismissed the nurse's concerns, reminding her to pick her "battles"--a well-chosen word because she was indeed a "battle"-axe, an unpleasant bureaucrat enforcing hospital rules the show presented as trivial. On the whole, Monday Mornings followed the traditional Hollywood hospital show model in which physicians are the heroes who do everything that matters and nurses are, at most, peripheral subordinates. more...


If you have the autonomy

U.K. press on nurses in new roles

home care nurse and farmerAugust 7, 2013 -- U.K. press reports on recent developments in health care systems have highlighted the autonomous contributions nurses are making to patient care. On May 27, the BBC News website posted a piece by Adam Brimelow describing the community nursing model employed by the rapidly growing Dutch home care firm Buurtzorg, founded and run by nurse Jos de Bloc. The article explains that the non-profit firm's "district nurses," who now number about 6,500, work in teams of 10 per neighborhood to provide comprehensive and cost-effective home care, doing everything from coordinating medications to washing and dressing patients. A weekly health advice radio show complements their work, which the nurses see as important community building. And today, the Stoke Sentinel (U.K.) reported that University Hospital, Staffordshire's largest, has launched a program in which senior nurses are allowed to discharge patients. Dave Blackhurst's piece explains that the new system allows patients to be discharged when they are ready, rather than having to wait for physicians to sign off. That system is reportedly making patients happier and reducing delays in making beds available to new patients from the accident and emergency (A&E) department. The report indicates that the nurses are well-qualified to assume this new work, in part because they are so familiar with the patients. Both articles quote nurses extensively on the merits of the projects. And taken together, the pieces suggest that despite the challenges of our cost-cutting era, nurses can still improve health care by using their skills in new (or old) ways. We thank those responsible for these reports. more...


See Sandy Summers live!

Pennsylvania Emergency Nurses Association Horizons Conference

See Sandy deliver the Keynote Address at the Horizons 2014 Conference on Friday, June 6, at 1:15 pm, at the Penn Stater Hotel in State College, Pennsylvania. See the brochure for the conference!

University of Nevada, Las Vegas -- August 8, 2014

Sandy will deliver a guest lecture to the UNLV School of Nursing Friday, August 8. Details coming soon!


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

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