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Call the Midwife Jenny birthingNews on Nursing in the Media


A girl in trouble is a temporary thing

"Call the Midwife" returns to PBS tonight

The No-Fact Zone

Bill O'Reilly and Ezekiel Emanuel face off on quick clinic NPs

All the costumes

Subway's naughty nurse Halloween ad is not so fresh

Disruptive innovation

Create street art with Truth posters! It's better than Banksy!

Forensic erudition

Strong reviews of the new edition of "Saving Lives"

See Sandy Summers live this spring!

Truth's founder and executive director speaks in Pittsburgh and Chicago soon!

Saving Lives

Order a copy of the updated second edition today!

Planning speakers?

Support the Truth by inviting Sandy Summers to empower your nurses!


A girl in trouble is a temporary thing

"Call the Midwife" returns to PBS tonight

Call the Midwife Jenny birthingMarch 29, 2015 -- Tonight the BBC drama Call the Midwife begins airing its fourth season on PBS, as the show enters the 1960s. Last year's third season featured more great scenes of nursing autonomy and skill, and it's worth reviewing those. The show's nurse characters continued to deliver babies and provide a range of effective care in their London neighborhood. Several plotlines in the third season find the midwives struggling mightily to help pregnant women who are in desperate straits, even by the standards of their poor community. They include prison inmates, unwed mothers, and women who face severe mental challenges. This season is the last one for lead character Jenny Lee, who will move on to hospice care. But new major character Patsy Mount is a highly competent and tenacious midwife. In fact, in the sixth episode, Patsy goes well beyond the call of duty to diagnose and treat a case of roundworm that has lain dormant in a World War II veteran for 16 years.And in the season premiere Sister Monica Joan, a veteran midwife with some symptoms of dementia, diagnoses a case of cystic fibrosis that had everyone else stumped. Sometimes, in order to ensure the health of a new baby, the midwives must address critical health issues in family members--which are great examples of nursing's holistic focus. In the seventh episode, Sister Julienne and Cynthia Miller care for a new mother with a post-natal psychosis that makes her paranoid and increasingly unstable. The midwives manage to save the baby from harm, and while the mother ends up in an institution where she gets electroshock therapy, that seems to moves her closer to being reunited with her baby and husband. The season also includes some very dated examples of nurses deferring to physicians--as well as a lot of tobacco smoking by health workers in clinical settings--but we like to think the show is simply presenting those elements as signs of the time rather than endorsing them. We thank show creator Heidi Thomas and her colleagues. more...


The No-Fact Zone

Bill O'Reilly and Ezekiel Emanuel face off on quick clinic NPs

Bill O'ReillyMarch 4, 2014 -- In a segment on tonight's edition of the Fox News show The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly criticized the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) for promoting more use of quick clinics. O'Reilly stated that the clinics did not have any physicians, but were staffed by "physician's assistants and nurse practitioners and things like that." (Things like that?) Guest Ezekiel Emanuel, a physician who is one of the designers of the ACA, noted correctly that physicians are not required for "every part of your health care." O'Reilly agreed, but said that "if I want a strep throat diagnosis, I don't want Lenny who just came out of the community college." Emanuel responded: "Excuse me, but those are nurse practitioners, it's not Lenny out of a community college, and it is just putting a swab back there, and getting a strep throat assessment." We thank Emanuel for making clear that nurse practitioners (NPs) have more education than community college and that physicians are not required for all aspects of health care. It would have been even better for viewers to hear that NPs typically have graduate degrees in nursing and that they excel not just at care that people may see as straightforward (like a strep throat diagnosis) but comprehensive primary care, which many NPs give in their independent health practices. Emanuel was arguing that the growth of quick clinic health care was no problem in part because it's straightforward and therefore does not require a physician. But in fact, decades of research shows that the care of NPs and other advanced practice nurses is at least as effective as the care of physicians even for health issues that are not so straightforward. In any case, we urge Mr. O'Reilly to avoid further misstatements about the value of nursing care. more...


All the costumes

Subway's naughty nurse Halloween ad is not so fresh

Subway naughty nurse commercialOctober 2014 -- A new television ad for Subway uses a naughty nurse costume, among others, to encourage U.S. customers to dine at the sandwich chain so as to be able to fit into sexy Halloween costumes. In the ad, a young female office worker urges two colleagues not to eat burgers for lunch, but instead to emulate her Subway choices, because Halloween is coming and they must "stay in shape for all the costumes!" She proceeds to demonstrate, donning a quick series of mostly naughty costumes which she helpfully labels as "attractive nurse . . . spicy Red Riding Hood . . . Viking princess warrior . . . hot devil . . . sassy teacher . . . and foxy fullback!" The nurse outfit isn't the naughtiest ever, but it is a ridiculously short, flimsy dress. Of course, as usual, it's a lighthearted "joke," and there is irony in the ad's presentation of the costumes. But that won't stop viewers from internalizing yet another naughty nurse image, yet another tired fusion of female sexuality with the traditionally female profession of nursing. Decades of these stereotypical images, in the aggregate, contribute to an atmosphere in which decision-makers and the public don't take nursing as seriously as they should, with the result that nurses continue to struggle for adequate resources and respect, and ambitious career seekers of both genders hesitate to choose the profession. We urge Subway to get a little fresher in its advertising. more...and see the commercial...


Disruptive Innovation

Create some street art with Truth posters! It's better than Banksy!

street art March 2015 -- The Truth has some new posters! They mix positive photo images of nurses with common stereotypes, along with short explanations, to help people reconsider their views of nurses. Consider deploying these posters in your clinical setting, on your college campus, around your city or town, or anywhere you think they might create cognitive dissonance. You might even take and post photos of the posters in these settings. For instance, consider placing the monkey poster near something with a biology or science theme, the battle-axe near some conflict-related location, and the naughty nurse near some appropriate venue, like a bar that advertises "penny shots for naughty nurses" (an actual promotion at a Pittsburgh bar in 2008, according to a correspondent).

Please download the posters free of charge by clicking on the links here or to the right. If you wish, send us photos showing where you've hung them at Thank you!!


Could Monkeys Be Nurses? Not What the Media Says I Am Naughty Hooray for Hollywood Battleaxe Angel

Forensic erudition

Strong reviews of the new edition of "Saving Lives"

March 2015 - Recently the updated second edition of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk has received reviews in two publications. In January 2015, a review by Glycosmedia editor-in-chief Jim Young praised the book's "forensic erudition," noting that it "is a thought-provoking dissection of the depiction of nurses and nursing in the entertainment industry and media. ... The detailed explanations of what nurses can and must do themselves to more realistically inform their own image will ensure that the book assumes a unique place in the chronology of the evolution of nursing practice in the 21st century." And in December 2014, a review of the book appeared in Doody's Book Reviews. Viterbo University nursing professor Patricia Zander gave the book 3 stars ("very good") and noted that authors Sandy and Harry Summers "document evidence of the relative absence of the profession of nursing in popular media and make a strong case that in those few instances that nurses are portrayed, they are presented erroneously or in an extremely poor light." We thank those responsible for these reviews. Read more about Saving Lives...


See our founder and executive director Sandy Summers live this spring!

Duquesne University - Pittsburgh - April 16, 2015

Sandy will kick off the Be the Image of Nursing campaign at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The campaign will focus on educating the public about the value of nursing. To aid the campaign, we created new street art posters, inspired by discussions with Duquesne Assistant Professor Cindy Walters and Missy Mazzullo, publicity chair of the local chapter of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA). We hope to see the posters not only at Duquesne, but in many other places. Please join us at the event, or place the new posters anywhere you think they would be helpful!

DePaul University - Chicago - May 14, 2015

DePaul University Dean Bill Cody invited Sandy to deliver a Nurses Week address at the university to inspire nurses to join the effort to change how the world thinks about nursing. Please join us if you can!

More details about Sandy's speaking engagements here...


Saving Lives paperback coverGet a copy of the updated second edition of Saving Lives with every $30 donation!

Donate $30 to the Truth now, and we will send you a copy of our leaders' newly released book Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk. The first edition of Saving Lives won an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award and an award from the international nursing honor society, Sigma Theta Tau. The book was written for nurses, the media, and members of the public around the world. Many nursing professors use it as a text to discuss nursing in society. The authors donate all royalties to the Truth About Nursing. Order today--paperback or digital--and we will send a copy out to you!


Sandy SummersPlanning speakers?

Support the Truth by inviting Sandy Summers to empower your nurses!

Do you have leaders at your institution who do not understand the value of nursing? Sandy Summers can help you turn them around. 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 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!

The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1100

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book cover, Saving lives

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