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For immediate release
December 28, 2004

Sandy Summers 410-323-1100
or 443-253-3738

2nd Annual Golden Lamp Awards: Best and worst media portrayals of nursing for 2004

December 28, 2004 -- The Center for Nursing Advocacy has issued its list of the best and worst media portrayals of the nursing profession that it has seen during 2004. The list highlights portrayals--from television to the print media, from Dallas to South Africa--that the Center believes deserve recognition, for better or worse. Research shows that the news and entertainment media greatly affect public views and actions as to health care, so improving nursing's media image is a critical step in resolving the nursing shortage that now threatens lives worldwide.

Click here to see our annual year-end awards.

The Center offers congratulations to those responsible for items on the "best of" and "honorable mention" lists, and it encourages continued strong efforts from them. The Center is also reaching out to those responsible for items on the "worst of" list, in the hope that it can help them improve their treatment of nursing issues in 2005.

The Center identified several patterns in this year's list. "Most of the best depictions of nursing we saw appeared in the print press," said Center Executive Director Sandy Summers. "On the other hand, a disproportionate number of the worst depictions were in the influential television medium, especially serial dramas from Hollywood."

A review of the Center's list also reveals that a high percentage of the worst depictions of nursing were created by physicians. "And many of the other poor, inaccurate portrayals on the list appeared to rely heavily on technical advice from physicians," noted Summers. "The apparent lack of understanding we've seen among physicians is unfortunate, and it underlines the need to educate them about nursing, so we can collaborate more effectively. In fact, the American Medical Association has taken a public position in support of nursing in the midst of today's global nursing crisis, and they also opposed the naughty nurse television show 'Nightingales' in the 1980's, so there is reason for hope," she said.

Summers noted that some of the best accounts of nursing were created by nurses themselves, or by journalists willing to consult nursing experts. "That is no surprise, of course, but it shows the importance of nurses speaking out more effectively and often about their profession," Summers said.

Golden Lamp2004 Golden Lamp Awards--Best Media Depictions of Nursing

Worst Portrayals of Nursing in the Media

Best Attempts to Remedy Negative Media Portrayals of Nursing

Special Awards

"Let Them Eat Banana Cake" Award

"Tree Falls in the Forest" Awards

2004 Golden Lamp Awards (Best media depictions of nursing)

  1. Wall St. Journal logo"Is There a Doctor in the House? Perhaps not, as nurse practitioners take on many of the roles long played by physicians," Andrew Blackman, The Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2004. This extraordinarily good piece explored the increasingly important role nurse practitioners (NP's) play in primary care and other areas. At the core of the piece was its description of a pioneering NP-run practice founded in 1994 by the Columbia University School of Nursing. Any article about NP's will note their growing prominence, but this one reported that nurse-run primary care practices "may be critical to the future of health care in the U.S." The story explained that NP's are not only quicker and cheaper to train than physicians, but that their holistic, thorough, preventative approach may be uniquely suited to care for an aging population suffering long-term illnesses. more...

  2. Nursing Diaries logo"The Rookies," episode of "Lifeline: The Nursing Diaries," Producers Richard Kahn and Linda Martin, Discovery Health Channel and CBS News Productions, November 2004. "Lifeline: The Nursing Diaries" was a three-part documentary that followed the work of nurses at two prominent hospitals, Boston's Massachusetts General and New York City's New York-Presbyterian. Though the series as a whole was uneven, the first part, set in Boston, was possibly the best single hour of a nursing documentary that we'd seen. It was an engaging work that deftly showed autonomous nursing actions that the media often ignores or assigns to physicians, including life-saving interventions, patient education and family support. more...

  3. Salon logo"Help us," Elizabeth Ochs, RN, Salon, February 5, 2004. This powerful piece by San Francisco school nurse Elisabeth Ochs detailed her efforts to manage a wide range of serious health and social problems among elementary school students, despite being responsible for about 800 of them in two different schools. Ochs' matter-of-fact description underlined both the serious skills required of school nurses and the dangerous nurse understaffing many schools now face, even as more and more students attend with serious problems. more...

  4. Guardian logoOverall coverage of nursing issues, The Guardian (U.K.), 2004. (see items dated March 3, March 10, April 7, August 27, November 19, December 9). This year the Guardian ran many fair and interesting stories that told readers about the state of nursing at home and abroad. Perhaps most notable were social affairs editor John Carvel's pieces about the debate over the "poaching" of nurses by developed nations with shortages from developing nations that may need them even more desperately (8/27 and 12/09). But the paper also ran stories about the new Channel 4 drama "No Angels," which seemed to have a worrying focus on sex and drugs; an initiative in which "mobile nursing teams" allowed patients to avoid nursing homes; a Royal College of Nursing proposal to require that all new nurses have university degrees; the role of nurse short staffing in rising nosocomial infections; psychiatric nursing in post-genocide Rwanda; and moves to help home health nurses avoid exposure to tobacco smoke.

  5. New York Times logo"An Exodus of African Nurses Puts Infants and the Ill in Peril," Celia Dugger, The New York Times, July 12, 2004. This piece was a powerful and comprehensive look at the catastrophic effects of the emigration of Malawian nurses to developing world nations with nursing shortages. Dugger described the staggering overall depletion of health resources in the AIDS-ravaged nation, where more registered nurses have left to work abroad in the last four years than remain in the public hospitals and clinics that serve most of the country. But her special focus was the labor and delivery ward at the capital's Lilongwe Central Hospital, where 10 overwhelmed nurse midwives now attempt to deliver more than 10,000 babies a year--with the apparent result that many births are attended by no one. more...

  6. Newsweek logo"If ER Nurses Crash, Will Patients Follow?" Paul Duke, RN, Newsweek, February 2, 2004. This week Newsweek's "My Turn" column was a powerful piece by Michigan ED nurse Paul Duke about how short-staffing frequently has him "praying like mad that I didn't make any mistakes that hurt anyone." more...

  7. Atlanta Journal Constitution logo"Nonprofit clinic reaches out to 'underserved community,'" Patricia Guthrie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 28, 2004. This was a very good article about Atlanta nurse practitioner Dorothy Gallaway and her Family Health Enterprise clinic, which has been serving low-income women and families for nearly 10 years. more...

  8. The Star logo"Now they have sheets on the beds, but no money," Kerry Cullinan, The Star (South Africa), December 6, 2004. This was a very good piece about the huge challenges faced by the Alexandra Clinic in providing basic care to an overcrowded township that was prominent during the long struggle against apartheid. The piece focused heavily on the work of veteran nurses at the clinic, and included a number of good quotes from them. more...

  9. Doonesbury logo"Doonesbury," Garry Trudeau, syndicated in about 1,400 newspapers worldwide, May and July 2004. This year influential cartoonist Garry Trudeau devoted a good deal of his strip to the loss of lead character B.D.'s leg to a grenade in the Iraq war. In depicting B.D.'s recovery, Trudeau introduced diverse, nuanced nurse characters: the male Lt. Chance Lebon at the Landstuhl military base in Germany, and the black nurse Jewel at Walter Reed in Washington, DC. The depictions weren't perfect, but Jewel used technical skill, and both characters their irreverent wit, to push the sometimes despairing B.D. toward recovery.

  10. Male Nurse Action Figure, Archie McPhee/Accoutrements, 2004. This product is one of the very few professional nurse action figures of which we've heard. Some of the packaging is questionable, such as the use of the term "male nurse," the medical symbol (the caduceus) instead of the nursing symbol (the lamp), and the phrase "Physicians prescribe, nurses provide," which ignores the contributions of advanced practice nurses. Despite these problems, when the Center staff tried out the action figure on its children, there was an immediate halt to comments like "men can't be nurses." That alone is worth a fortune to nursing, which remains no more than 10% male in most nations.

Honorable Mention

  1. What Nurses Know logo"What Nurses Know and Doctors Don't Have Time to Tell You," Pat Carroll, RN, June 2004. The cover of Pat Carroll's valuable, engaging new book summarized its contents as follows: "Practical Wisdom for Everyday Home Health Care." That is exactly what she delivered. The book deftly promoted public understanding of personal health care and nursing, advancing a nurse-oriented vision of basic health that was pragmatic, reasonable and preventative. It was marred only by a somewhat limited focus and the title, which managed to both celebrate and denigrate nurses in 10 short words. more...

  2. Z 95.3 logoMedia Advocacy, Debra McPherson, RN, and the British Columbia Nurses Union, September 2004 (as to Vancouver radio station Z95.3 TV ad). An article by Chris Johnson in the Vancouver Sun, "Union 'deeply offended' by sexy-nurse TV ad; Radio station pulls promo after BCNU complains it sends 'the wrong message,'" described a successful campaign by Ms. McPherson and her union to protest a stereotypical "naughty nurse" TV ad promoting a local radio station. The nurses got an unusually sensitive response from the radio station (especially for the broadcast media). We congratulate the BCNU for spearheading this campaign and pursuing it until the damaging images were gone. more...

  3. Boston Globe logoAssociated Press logoCoverage of fatigue-related nursing research: "Night Hospital Din Pains Patients," Joshua Freed, Associated Press, February 4, 2004, and "Study links long hours, nurse errors," Liz Kowalczyk, The Boston Globe, July 7, 2004. These two articles provided exposure to important nursing research, which is too often overlooked by the press (see "Tree Falls in the Forest" Awards, below). Freed's AP story, which was widely carried in US papers, described a Mayo Clinic study published in the American Journal of Nursing that included findings about and ways to reduce hospital noise so loud that it made it "nearly impossible for patients to sleep." Kowalczyk's Boston Globe story reported on a nursing fatigue study by University of Pennsylvania nurse researchers, lead by Ann Rogers, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN. The study, published in Health Affairs, indicated that nurses working shifts of 12.5 hours or more were three times more likely to make mistakes than nurses on shifts of less than 8.5 hours.

  4. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette logoCoverage of nursing image: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 12, 2004: "Concerns over patient confusion spawn a small movement back to one-color uniforms," Virginia Linn; "Nursing advocate bringing message of profession's value here," Virginia Linn; "From long gray dresses to lab coats and scrubs," Lynn Houweling; "Cameos of Caring" (listing of 43 local nurses receiving University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing awards). On this date, the Post-Gazette included four items all related to the theme of the nursing image. The two main articles, both written by Post-Gazette health editor Virginia Linn, explored the recent debates about the right nursing uniform, and the Center's work to improve the nursing image generally. The same issue included an excerpt of Lynn Houweling's history of the nursing uniform, and a listing of a diverse group of local nurses receiving awards that appeared to be based on professional nursing achievement. more...

  5. Toronto Star logo"Miracles amid misery in Sudan," Carol Goar, Toronto Star, July 26, 2004. This article recounted the recent experience of Toronto nurse Nancy Dale as part of a Medicins Sans Frontieres team in Darfur, where government-backed militias have reportedly "slaughtered an estimated 30,000 men and raped and brutalized their wives and children," driving more than one million from their homes and creating a staggering humanitarian crisis. The powerful column illustrated the work nurses do as part of health care teams on humanitarian missions in troubled nations, missions that the media and even the aid community itself too often suggests are entirely the work of a certain other group of health care professionals. more...

  6. Dawn of the Dead photo"Dawn of the Dead," Directed by Zack Snyder, Screenplay by James Gunn, Universal Pictures, April 2004. In their overhaul of "Dawn of the Dead," director Zack Snyder and screenwriter James Gunn may seem to have chucked most of the campy consumer satire of George Romero's 1978 zombie classic and emerged with a state-of-the-art but empty Hollywood gore-fest. Not quite. They also created a darkly funny, nihilistic post-9/11 vision of radical fundamentalism overrunning bourgeois society. In the midst of the carnage, lead character Ana Clark (Sarah Polley), a smart, tough, resourceful nurse, helped to lead a small band of survivors trapped in a suburban mall and keep them human, literally and figuratively. more...

  7. Associated Press logo"Faculty Shortage Plagues Nursing Schools," Linda Johnson, Associated Press, August 25, 2004. This unusually comprehensive article on the critical nursing faculty shortage was widely carried in newspapers nationwide, and a number of papers had their reporters add local information to the story. The faculty shortage rarely receives such in-depth attention, and we salute Ms. Johnson, the AP, and the papers that ran the story for their work. more...

  8. San Jose Mercury logo"Nurses increasingly help solve sexual assaults," Sean Webby, San Jose Mercury News, November 28, 2004. This very good piece described the growing role of skilled forensic nurses in caring for Santa Clara County sexual assault victims and gathering evidence that can help convict or exonerate suspects. more...

  9. Reader's Digest logo"Tea and sympathy," Hanne Dina Bernstein, RN, Reader's Digest, November 2004. The piece, a reprint from the American Journal of Nursing, at first it seemed like it would play into traditional nursing stereotypes, given its title and the subtitle "A nurse helps her patient heal with conversation, compassion and a simple cup of tea." But the piece itself was a striking example of a seemingly simple yet brilliant nursing intervention to aid a leukemia patient's recovery. more...

  10. New Zealand Herald logoPhillippa Stevenson, "Nurse Ward helps families see the colour of caring," New Zealand Herald, December 7, 2004. This column paid tribute to palliative care nurse Cynthia Ward, founder and manager of True Colours, a new health service that "aims to support families at and from the moment their child is diagnosed with a chronic, serious or life-threatening illness." more...

Ten Worst Portrayals of Nursing in the Media 2004

  1. New York Times logoOverall failure to cover nursing aspects of health care stories, The New York Times, 2004. With some notable exceptions (see Award for Celia Dugger's piece on African nurses, above), in 2004 the "paper of record" compiled a record of ignoring nursing in stories, columns and op-eds that should have included significant discussion of nursing and reflected input from nursing experts. The Times Magazine's annual "Medicine 2004" issue, published in April, marginalized nursing in its six main pieces, notably Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's extensive discussion of the outlook for public health and health care delivery, which failed even to mention the nursing shortage, and Lisa Sanders, MD's discussion of the decline of primary care, which failed to mention the growing role of advanced practice nurses. Other examples included Adam Liptak's June 10 discussion of health care practitioner participation in U.S. executions; M. Gregg Bloche, MD's June 20 op-ed on health care worker culpability for the abuses by U.S. personnel at Abu Ghraib prison; Richard Friedman, MD's June 29 discussion of the possible effects on care when new interns arrive at U.S. hospitals each July; Laurie Tarkan's October 5 piece about the care of school children with severe recurrent abdominal pain; and Sandeep Jauhar, MD's October 5 first person account about a cardiac patient who refused intubation despite a good prognosis.

  2. ER logoFive episodes of "ER": "Touch and Go," written by Mark Morocco, MD, January 8, 2004; "NICU," written by Lisa Zwerling, MD, January 15, 2004, rebroadcast October 28, 2004; "Try Carter," written by R. Scott Gemmill, October 14, 2004; "An Intern's Guide to the Galaxy," written by Lisa Zwerling, MD, November 4, 2004; "A Shot in the Dark," written by Joe Sachs, MD; Executive Producers John Wells, Michael Crichton, MD, and Christopher Chulack; NBC. Though every episode of "ER" broadcast during 2004 continued the show's traditional role as the world's most influential purveyor of the handmaiden stereotype of nursing, these five episodes were some of the worst. They presented a compelling vision of a level one trauma center in which virtually all significant care was provided or directed by physicians, in which physician characters regularly performed exciting work that nurses do in real life, and in which the training of young physicians was of intense interest, but nurses were fungible assistants (and love interests) who did not seem to receive clinical training. We cannot recall ever seeing a nursing student on "ER;" certainly not in 2004.

  3. Discovery logo"Discovery Health Channel Medical Honors," Discovery Health Channel, July 8, 2004. This two-hour television special, hosted by Regis Philbin and featuring Health and Human Service Secretary Tommy Thompson and C. Everett Koop, saluted 13 "medical heroes" for "bringing awareness to many challenging health and medical issues of our time." Of the 13 honorees, the Center counted eight physicians, a biosciences researcher, a non-profit leader, a political science professor, a health system CEO, and an advertising executive. Not a single one of the nation's 2.7 million nurses made the cut, but at least nurses were represented--by the talented actress Yvette Freeman, who plays nurse Haleh Adams on NBC's physician-centric "ER," and who appeared at the ceremony as a presenter. more...

  4. House photoSeries Premiere of "House MD," written by David Shore, Executive Producers Paul Attanasio, Katie Jacobs, David Shore and Bryan Singer, Fox, November 16, 2004. In this series premiere, only one physician tells it like it is: the brilliant, caustic Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), a master diagnostician who tries to avoid patients, even as he guides his diverse "CSI"-like team of "genius doctors" toward the elusive truths of life-threatening mystery diseases at a Princeton hospital. Unfortunately, the show's key premise is itself a damaging lie: that a team composed entirely of physicians would rove the hospital providing all significant care to desperately ill patients, as nurses and other professionals stand silently in the background or simply disappear. In fact, in a kind of extreme irony, the mystery disease that nearly eluded all the genius physicians and killed the first episode's main patient (tapeworm) could have been discovered by a skilled nurse's standard evaluation of the patient's stool--yes, the bedpan. With six out of six major characters as physicians, this may be the most physician-centric new TV show of the last decade (the major characters in 2002's "Presidio Med" were also all physicians). There is talent, wit and intelligent life in "House," but the show's early promise only underlines the disservice it does to nursing. more...

  5. Medical Investigation photo"The Unclean," episode of "Medical Investigation," written by Mark Dodson, Executive Producers Laurence Andries, Bob Cooper, Scott Vila, Marc Buckland, NBC, December 3, 2004. This episode of NBC's new "CSI"-like portrayal of a hotshot team of NIH disease trackers finally put a small focus on nurses--as serial-killing angels of death! Break out the champagne! Though the episode did indicate that not all nurses are Charles Cullens, its vision of nursing was largely of the "yes doctor" handmaiden school, as the nurse characters seemed mainly concerned with fetching physicians or things for physicians. On balance, the episode was yet another regressive blow to the nursing profession from Hollywood. more...

  6. New Yorker logo"Chicxulub," T. Coraghessan Boyle, The New Yorker, March 1, 2004. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and nurses are still cold martinets who personify the mindless brutality of the universe. At least, that’s how it was in this short fiction about a critical injury to the narrator's teenage daughter in a car accident, a story which, if nothing else, could not be accused of perpetuating the "angel of mercy" stereotype. The story showed once again how even products of the cultural elite can casually reinforce harmful misconceptions about the nursing profession. more...

  7. Will & Grace photo"Speechless," episode of "Will and Grace," written by Sally Bradford, Executive Producers David Kohan, Mitch Mutchnick, Alex Herschlag, Dave Flebotte, James Burrows, NBC, April 22, 2004. This episode of the popular NBC sitcom focused on the flighty Jack character's graduation from "nursing school." The episode's unholy mix of stereotypes added up to a vision of nursing education as a fly-by-night joke leading to a second-rate job for white women and gay men who can't hack it in the entertainment industry, including porn films. more...

  8. Vogue logoMSNBC logoHollywood plastic surgeons disrespecting nurse anesthetists: Robert Kotler, MD, comments broadcast on "Deborah Norville Tonight," MSNBC, July 13, 2004; R. Patrick Abergel, MD, comments in "Shopping for surgery," Ariel Levy, Vogue, June 2004. In Ariel Levy's "Shopping for surgery" in Vogue, Santa Monica plastic surgeon R. Patrick Abergel was quoted as saying that the use of nurse anesthetists for plastic surgery is "unsafe." The following month, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Robert Kotler stated on the "Deborah Norville Tonight" show (MSNBC) that plastic surgery consumers should not use nurse anesthetists. In fact, research has shown that the care of nurse anesthetists is at least as good as that of anesthesiologists. The publication of these two physicians' scientifically unfounded assertions without any response from a nurse anesthetist was irresponsible.

  9. Philadelphia Inquirer logo"Nursing compassion to health," Michael Welner, MD, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 30, 2004. In this op-ed, NYU forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner argued that nurse Charles Cullen's patient killings were the result of the modern emphasis on "material" benefits in the training and hiring of hospital workers. To prevent such events in the future, health care facilities should "focus on hiring those with the most compassionate personalities." Leaving aside the spectacle of a physician who is Chairman of The Forensic Panel ("America's foremost forensic consulting institution") lecturing nurses about greed and compassion, Dr. Welner's piece showed little understanding of the life-saving professional skills required of modern nurses, or the effects of nurse short-staffing, inadequate resources, and systemic problems in end-of-life care on adverse results in clinical settings. more...

  10. Dr. Vegas photoTwo episodes of "Dr. Vegas": "Dead Man Live Bet," written by Jack Orman and Jill Goldsmith, October 15, 2004; "Limits," Lance Gentile, MD, October 29, 2004; Executive Producers Jack Orman, Steve Pearlman, John Herzfeld, Lawrence Bennett, Marc Sender, Kevin Brown; CBS. We were initially encouraged to learn that this new show (now cancelled) would include a nurse practitioner as a recurring character. But we soon realized the show would conform to the state-of-the-art Hollywood nursing stereotype: the nurse as a skilled, romantically available physician assistant without autonomous responsibility for patients. In these two episodes, the NP character initiated a relationship with the physician for whom she (in the show's conception) worked; argued for a myopic adherence to procedure, so that the physician could explain the enlightened big picture view of health care; and forced this same physician to rescue her from a potentially deadly practice mistake brought on by her inability to handle her unrequited love for him.

Two More Poor Depictions 2004

The following depictions of nursing did not quite make our ten worst list, but they included some especially unfortunate elements, and we could not let them go without some special recognition.

  1. SVU photo"Doubt," episode of "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," written by Marjorie David, Executive Producers Dick Wolf, Ted Kotcheff, Neal Baer, MD, Peter Jankowski, NBC, November 23, 2004. This episode featured a "sexual assault nurse" character examining a rape victim in its first few scenes. Though we commended "SVU" for recognizing that forensic nurses exist, showing a little of their work and resisting the urge to show a physician directing the action, the episode instead gave the impression that one of its two main detective characters was doing so. Though in real life the forensic nurse would have directed and provided all the critical care and forensic work, here the nurse character came off as an awkward and insensitive assistant, as the detective explained what was going on, took photos, and provided the only real emotional support the patient received. more...

  2. 8 Simple Rules photo"The Principal," episode of "8 Simple Rules," written by Seth Kurland, Executive Producers James Widdoes, Tracy Gamble, Tom Shadyac, Judd Pillot, Michael Bostick, John Peaslee, Marco Zappia, ABC, May 11, 2004, rebroadcast September 3, 2004. This sitcom episode reportedly included a scene in which main character and hospital nurse Cate tried to leave a meeting with the principal at her daughter's school by telling him that her patients would die if she was not there. We understand that the principal gave her a skeptical look, whereupon Cate admitted that patients would not die, but they might wet the bed. The nurse who brought this to our attention had the following reaction: "I heard this after a 13 hour workday where I bagged patients, checked labs, gave meds, educated family members, assessed critically ill patients on vents, without a moment to breathe except to eat! And yes, my patients can die if I am not there, some of them try!" Exactly. more...

Best Attempts to Remedy Negative Media Portrayals of Nursing 2004

  1. Pennzoil photoJessica Rabbit pin photoSkechers photoSkechers, August 2004, for pulling its Christina Aguilera naughty nurse ad.

  2. Disney, May 2004, for pulling its Jessica Rabbit naughty nurse pin.

  3. Pennzoil, June 2004, for pulling its naughty nurse motor oil print ad.

  4. Physicians Formula adPhysicians Formula, April 2004, for pulling its naughty nurse cosmetics print ad.

  5. Swedish Institute for Physical Health, Dallas, October 2004, for pulling its naughty nurse massage parlor billboards.

  6. Q101 radio station, Chicago, October 2004, for pulling down its billboards featuring shock jock Mancow in a naughty nurse outfit.

  7. Z 95.3 logoZ95.3 radio station, Vancouver, September 2004, for pulling its television ad featuring naughty sponge-bathing nurses.

  8. Vogue logoVogue, November 2004, for publishing The Center for Nursing Advocacy's letter responding to assertions by a plastic surgeon that nurse anesthetists were unsafe.

  9. Jeopardy logoJeopardy!, September 2004, for promises to air no further comments diminishing the value of nurses, and to create a question showing the value of nurses.

  10. Dr. Phil photoDr. Phil, December 2004, for televised statements in support of the nursing profession after previous comments that suggested that nurses are shallow golddiggers holding dead-end jobs.

Special "Let Them Eat Banana Cake" Award

  • Passions monkey photoComments of James E. Reilly, creator of "Passions," NBC, as reported in "On Soaps," Michael Logan, "TV Guide," February 7, 2004. This article included a special box below Michael Logan's "On Sosaps" column about the efforts of NBC's soap "Passions" to have BamBam, the orangutan who plays Nurse Precious, be considered for a daytime Emmy award. The box also mentioned the Center's campaign protesting the show's degrading vision of nursing, and included a quote from "Passions" creator James E. Reilly that beautifully captured the show's attitude toward nurses and monkeys alike: "If nurses knew how much we pay BamBam per day, they'd all be putting on monkey suits."

Special "Tree Falls in the Forest" Awards

These two special awards are given to the world's entire mainstream media press corps (except as indicated), which to our knowledge failed to cover the vitally important nursing-related stories below. Please advise us of any other exceptions.

  1. Columbia School of Nursing logoWorld's mainstream media (except Laura Gilchrest and CBS Marketwatch web site), failure to cover universal health care coverage plan of Columbia University School of Nursing, press release issued October 20, 2004, plan published in "Nursing Economics," October/November 2004.

  2. International Council of Nurses logoWorld's mainstream media, failure to cover "The Global Shortage of Registered Nurses: An Overview of Issues and Actions," comprehensive report of The International Council of Nurses, press release issued November 8, 2004.


The Center for Nursing Advocacy, founded in 2001, is a Baltimore-based non-profit that seeks to increase public understanding of the central, front-line role nurses play in modern health care. The focus of the Center is to promote more accurate, balanced and frequent media portrayals of nurses and increase the media's use of nurses as expert sources.

For more information on the 2004 awards, contact:

Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
Executive Director
The Center for Nursing Advocacy
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21212-2937
office 410-323-1100
cell 443-253-3738



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