Nursing in the Media Term Paper

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Nursing in the Media

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Harris survey of 1,000 respondents in July 1999 revealed that 92% trusted the health care provided by registered nurses (Ulmer 2000). Eighty-five percent also said that they would be pleased if their son or daughter would become a registered nurse or RN. Positive feedbacks and positive stories about nurses have a profound impact on how they feel about their profession and about themselves. A positive image within the profession is essential in order to assure the public that the traditional view of nurses is true and deserved. There is also a need for the public to know about the contributions nurses make in achieving desirable patient outcomes. Nurses have become more and more a cornerstone in health care delivery. Hence, they must be sufficiently and correctly represented in the media. The positive reflection and reporting of nurses' contributions would gain them power and establish a stronger link with the public, which they serve. The public wants and deserves to be informed even about little or seemingly insignificant details in the work of nurses. These details, such as practices in preventing errors in sharp instrument, sponge and needle counts, can matter to the public. Inaccurate counts can adversely affect the lives of patients and deliver a deadly blow on the image of the profession. Practitioners content, on the other hand, that despite millions of surgical procedures performed yearly, there is virtual possibility of foreign objects being left inside patients' bodies. But they have to come to terms with the need to announce and exhibit their professional and ethical involvement and role in patient care and consumer health. It cannot be avoided or overstated. As it is, the news media engage nurses in a dialogue only when events like threats of a strike over working conditions happen. Nurses must have more frequent and more positive media exposure. They have to let the media and the public know how the profession has changed. They must inform everyone on how their skills have evolved, especially in critical nursing delivery. They have to make public how they have remained up-to-date with medical and technological innovations. They have to project how and what nursing will be in the future. They must also call the public's and media's attention to their congressional battles, especially those in the national level. Nurses are the health practitioners involved with the patient throughout the latter's care. Their day-to-day faithful performance must be known far and wide. This performance is the key reflection of their best possible image and the media is the best instrument for that reflection (Ulmer).

Literature Review

Gonzales, Lillian. A Mission for the Center for Nursing Advocacy. Nevada RN Foundation: Nevada Nurses Association, 2005

The author notes that the media has hardly pictured the profession in a really positive light. Television shows present the nurses as female sex objects, subordinates to physicians or as negligent and vain creatures. Practitioners themselves bewailed the faults of some of them. The author mentions that the program ER, which is popularly viewed worldwide, shows how nurses are hired and fired by physicians. It also credits physicians often for the work done by ER nurses. She notes the media generally mischaracterizes nurses. It also ignores their involvement in important issues, including healthcare errors, drug use and reactions, special types of infection, stem cell research and malpractice lawsuits. The media, however, does not question nurses on their commitment to healthcare and on healthcare topics. Gallup surveys showed that the majority of people trust nurses. But coexisting with this public trust is the lack of respect for the subordinate work nurses do. The media concentrates on misconceptions on this subordinate work of nurses.

Gonzales writes that the Center for Nursing Advocacy tackles this matter of bad or wrong publicity about nurses. Reports in the media are posted in its websites. It informs and educates the media on the nature of nursing and the importance of portraying nurses accurately and positively. The Center has achieved some gains. It scrapped embarrassing commercials featuring indecent nurses. It expresses appreciation for nurses' training, judgment and hard work. It also continues dialogues with the producers of ER television show about the image of nurses on the show. Nurses' involvement in the organization alone can help improve the image. That improvement will redound to better patient health and overall nation's wellness.

Willging, Paul. it's Time to Take the Politics Out of Nursing Home Quality. Nursing Homes: Medquest Communications, LLC, 2005

Willging discusses the controversial quality of long-time care in nursing homes as involving health care providers, the government, advocates and the media. Providers must admit providing poor quality care and eradicate poor practices and practitioners in the industry. The sad state is that few in the industry are aware of these poor practitioners and fewer are willing to admit the fault publicly. Among the few responsible ones were the Quality First campaign and the American Health Care Association, which made public admissions of "chronic workforce shortage that threatens care quality." The advocates deserve credit for their contribution to the cause of quality nursing care in America. And the media or the press is known for its inclination to focus on the bad side of an issue or situation and to ignore the good. As other says, bad news is good news. Even the good news hinges on negative priorities or slants, which heighten or strengthen, negative public perceptions about nurses. A glaring example was the Sun Healthcare Group. The chairman and CEO Richard Matros and his senior managers turned the operations of the nursing home around, a shining accomplishment. But the media centered its coverage on the real estate aspects of the company's dramatic recovery. The slant sent the message that nursing homes are nothing but real estate. The focus should have been on healthcare providers, more on people than on property.

These examples and similar situations should hammer the point home that providers, the government, advocates, and the media should collaborate in the task of improving health care delivery, not in perpetuating controversy.

Nursing BC. How to Create Community Media Coverage for Nursing. Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia: ProQuest Information and Learning Company, 2002

This new information brochure was developed by the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia to help member-nurses work better with the media in their communities. Aware of the high level of public trust in the nursing profession, the Association wants to help practitioners raise their profile in these communities through the media. Local newspapers are the primary means, as reporters prefer to gather news from these communities. Furthermore, news outlets are most inclined to accept or publish stories about health care. These can be about new treatments, healthier lifestyles for the community or the impact of changes to the health care system.

The brochure lists some suggestions on how to create community media coverage. One is to have a story to tell media. It may be a recent and significant event, like rescues, handling thousands of kidney dialysis patients, or serving during an influenza outbreak. Practitioners can get together and brainstorm on newsworthy ideas and then contact the RNABC. Another is to know local reporters and editors. They should be visible and easy to find and connect with. Their mission is precisely to receive and gather newsworthy materials. These stories do not have to be recent. The story may not be published or used the first time it is submitted. There are policies observed by the media. But contributors will be remembered and recognized as a credible voice of the profession. They can be tapped when media needs comments or information on a future coverage. A third suggestion is to notify and invite media to a forthcoming event for a photo-coverage. A fourth suggestion is to solicit an editor's comment on a news item or to submit a written opinion on a news event for inclusion in the editorial section of a newspaper. And the last suggestion is to enjoy linking up with journalists, who perform an interesting and unique job.

Ulmer, Brenda C. The Image of Nursing. AORN Journal: Association of Operating Room Nurses, Inc., 2000

Some nurses lament that working conditions are so bad and the pay so low that they are discouraged to invite others to join the profession. Other nurses, however, say that they are happy and content with their work environment and circumstances. These contradictory feedbacks merge to form the image of the nursing profession and color public opinion.

The July1999 Harris survey of more than 1,000 respondents revealed that a square 92% expressed truth about the health care provided by registered nurses. A solid and square 85% of them said they would be pleased if their son or daughter would become a registered nurse.

Positive stories and feedback on fellow registered nurses certainly bolster the confidence and image of the rest. These make them feel good about the profession and themselves. In the meantime, a negative image… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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