|For immediate release
December 6, 2010
410-323-1100 or 443-253-3738
Dr. Oz's sexy "nurse" backup dancers
Hundreds of nurses have written to Dr. Oz to protest a recent segment the daytime television host did that featured images of "nurses" as sexy physician handmaidens.
The Dr. Oz Show segment aired on November 4 and featured Angel Williams, who lost 200 pounds by dancing. Dressed in a short white nurse's dress, Williams said she was going to "get sexy" and unbuttoned the top of the dress to reveal her red bra. Then she and five similarly dressed "nurses" led Oz in several dance steps, including one she called "sexy salsa girls."
Although it does not appear that anyone on the segment actually was a nurse, Oz referred to the dancers as Williams's "fellow nurses." After Williams told Oz that she and the others would be "your nurses, we're gonna keep America moving for you," Oz responded, "I love it."
"We love it too!" joked Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, executive director of The Truth About Nursing. "Presenting a group of women as Dr. Oz's sexy 'nurse' backup dancers is just what nursing needs as it struggles with resource shortages fueled by powerful stereotypes like the naughty nurse, the physician handmaiden, and the low-skilled female from some past era."
"I mean, what modern, college-educated professional wouldn't want to be seen that way?" Summers added. "By the way, did I show you my bra yet?"
Mehmet Oz began his successful syndicated show last year, having made his name through appearances on Oprah Winfrey's daytime show. In addition to writing bestselling health books, Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon and a faculty member at Columbia University Medical School.
Summers reported that Oz's publicists had been unusually hostile to the efforts of the Truth About Nursing and many nurses across the nation--including the deans of NYU and the University of San Diego, nursing professors at Columbia and other major universities--to help the show understand the problem and make amends.
"Many people look to Dr. Oz for reliable health information, and he should teach them who nurses really are, and be part of the solution to the nursing crisis," said Summers. "Surely Dr. Oz knows that nurses are the ones who keep his patients alive during and after surgery. That's a health message he should deliver, and if he thinks disrobing would help, well, no one's stopping him from doing it."
Summers said that she understood that Oz had made positive general statements about nurses. But she noted that those did not counter the stereotypes in the backup dancer segment.
Summers said the problem was not "hurt feelings," as Oz's publicist had suggested, but the damage stereotypes do in undermining nurses' claims to adequate resources. "The global nursing shortage is a result of disrespect and the resulting low funding for nursing practice, research and education," she said. "Patients will continue to die needless deaths until people overcome these stereotypes and learn what nurses really do."
"Nurses do try to 'keep America moving,'" Summers said. "But they don't do it because they belong to Dr. Oz or any physician. They do it because nurses are autonomous professionals who excel at teaching about prevention, wellness, and of course, sexy salsa girls."
The Truth About Nursing, pursuing a mission established in 2001, is a 501(c)(3) international non-profit organization based in Baltimore that seeks to increase public understanding of the central, front-line role nurses play in modern health care. The focus of the Truth is to promote more accurate, balanced and frequent media portrayals of nurses and increase the media's use of nurses as expert sources.
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For more information, please contact:
Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21212-2937