News on Nursing in the Media
February 22, 2011 -- Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine offers a bleak but compelling look at a broken love. Cindy and Dean live, if you can call it that, with their six-year-old daughter in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The movie mixes scenes of the couple's current alienation with flashbacks to the time when they fell in love. This flicking of the joy-pain switch can be punishing, but with great acting and mostly fine writing, the movie has the grainy, mysterious power of an ultrasound image that you don't quite want to see. When Cindy met Dean, she was a smart college student with dreams of becoming a physician. Now she is a beleaguered working mother who seems trapped by her life, and especially by Dean, who has become a devoted father but a sour, verbally abusive husband who hangs around smoking cigarettes when he is not painting houses. He wants only what he can't have anymore: Cindy's love. She works at an obstetrics office, and some elements of the film suggest she is a nurse; others suggest she may be an ultrasound technician. Although this is not a major studio release, the film has won critical praise, and Michelle Williams has been nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Cindy. So the movie may be influential in reinforcing the stereotype of nursing as a job that ambitious women have to settle for if they can't become physicians. The film does not show how Cindy got into her work, but it clearly does not light up her life, and it seems like a job she took after she got pregnant and had to drop out of college, rather than a fulfilling profession that would itself require college training. And as Cindy might agree, even small flaws in an important image can make a big difference. more...
January 23, 2011 -- A few days ago the London Evening Standard reported that Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is now under investigation for alleged corruption and paying underage prostitutes for sex, had hosted parties at which young women were asked to don naughty nurse attire for "lesbian stripper acts." Today, a short item on the New York Times website reported that one wiretap had revealed a Berlusconi agent telling a young party invitee to wear a "nurse's outfit" with "nothing underneath except white garters." That must be what the prime minister was thinking of in December 2006 when he thanked his nurses at the Cleveland Clinic, where he had just had a pacemaker implanted, by noting that "Italian nurses are better looking. . . These ones scare me a bit. Don't even think about leaving me alone at night with one of them." It's encouraging to know that such national leaders, who make key decisions about funding for nursing practice and education, regard nurses so highly and have such a keen appreciation for their work. Anyway, we hope that the 74-year-old media magnate has more than teenage stripper "nurses" to take care of him should he ever require further health care. more...
November 18, 2010 -- Recent press items highlight the ongoing conflicts about the future role of nurses in U.S. health care, particularly whether advanced practice nurses (APRNs) can practice independently of physicians, in light of the extension of health insurance coverage to 32 million more Americans under the new health care reform law. As usual, nurses, scholars, policymakers, and patients seem to welcome the expansion of nurses' scope of practice, while some physician groups claim that the APRNs need physician "supervision," despite the ever-growing body of research indicating that APRN care is at least as good as that of physicians. Today, physician Pauline Chen's "Doctor and Patient" column offered a positive, if somewhat vague, endorsement of the potential contributions of nurses in primary care, in the wake of a new report by the highly regarded Institute of Medicine calling for APRNs to be given the authority to practice independently and nursing education to be standardized. Chen even quotes two nursing leaders! On October 5, in a Kaiser Health News article posted on the MSNBC web site, Andrew Villegas and Mary Agnes Carey provided a more specific account of the IOM report, though unfortunately it quoted no nurses (!) and failed to counter the unsupported safety concerns of the physicians it did quote. On August 3, Katherine Hobson posted an item on the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog reporting that yet another study, this one from Health Affairs, had shown that the care of nurse anesthetists presents no greater risk to patients than the care of anesthesiologists. And on April 14, the Associated Press issued a comprehensive and mostly fair article by Carla K. Johnson about recent legislative efforts to expand U.S. APRNs' scope of practice in anticipation of the expansion in health coverage, and the fierce resistance of physician groups trying to protect their turf. We thank those responsible for these pieces, all of which make at least some contribution to the current discussions of APRN practice and U.S. health care reform. more...
February 22, 2011 -- Register now with an extended early bird registration discount of $395 (student discount 35%) before February 25th. The Truth About Nursing's first annual conference will be held in New Orleans the weekend of April 15-17, 2011, at the beautiful Marriott Renaissance Arts Hotel, located in the heart of this fabulous city! The conference theme is "Empowering Nurses and Improving Care Through Better Understanding of Nursing." Speakers will include Kathleen Bartholomew, Donna Cardillo, Sandy Summers, and a representative of Rutgers University's 2012 Project, who will tell us how to get more nurses into politics! Other topics include enhancing public understanding of nursing through the media, educating decision-makers and physician colleagues about nursing, effective strategies to improve working relationships, and practical steps toward achieving nursing empowerment. This work is critical in helping the nursing profession get the respect and resources that it deserves and that patients need. We anticipate that we will be able to offer 11.5 continuing education credits from the state of Maryland. Exciting events include a welcome cocktail reception and a Riverboat Jazz Dinner Cruise on the Mississippi. Come enjoy the food and culture of the Crescent City as you explore how to move nursing forward! Get details here...
Truth About Nursing and Saving Lives media appearances
February 18, 2011 -- This week the prominent U.K. nursing publication The Nursing Times published "The image of nursing: How to combat negative stereotypes," by Truth executive director Sandy Summers and senior advisor Harry Jacobs Summers, in the student guide included with the print edition.
February 22, 2011 -- The 2010 edition of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk now sells for about $10 as a paperback from Amazon or Barnes & Noble! Plus, the Apple iBook and B&N Nook editions are priced at less than $5! The 2010 edition of Saving Lives has a new foreword by bestselling nurse author Echo Heron. And it is revised and expanded, discussing Nurse Jackie and other new shows, and featuring updated information throughout. You can also get an author-signed paperback copy when you become a member of the Truth or renew your membership for $30 (click here!). Please help support the Truth's effort to change how the world thinks about nursing today. These affordably-priced editions make great gifts for colleagues, students, or even to help family and friends understand the value of what nurses do. All royalties for the multiple award-winning book go directly to support non-profit nursing advocacy work. Thank you!
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 across North America. 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! Click here for more details.
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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
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