I can’t believe I was the only one.
In my last post I referenced The Truth About Nursing blog in which we are asked to write to two journalists who did not mention nurses in their article about Hillary Clinton’s hospitalization. The story read as if doctors were the only health professionals caring for her.
I’ve always been angry about how we nurses are represented in the media and, in this case, how we are ignored in the media. On February 5th, I wrote the journalists the following and copied The Truth About Nursing.
Matthew Lee and Marilynn Marchione,
As a long time nurse I am always sad when I read stories related to health care that omit any mention of the contribution of nurses. In your December 3, 2012 article: Hillary Clinton hospitalized with blood clots, http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-12-31/hillary-clinton-hospitalized-with-blood-clot, you stated Hillary needed hospitalization. Indeed she did. The main reason a patient is hospitalized is to receive the oversight, management and personal care from professional, knowledgeable nurses.
The general public relies on well informed reporting and accurate facts. The doctors were responsible for Hillary’s care in conjunction with nursing care. It is a disservice to the largest group of health care providers that they are dismissed without a mention in your timely and well presented story.
My hope is that in the future you will give credit to the role nurses play in our health care setting.
I received the following email from Sandy Summers, co-founder of The Truth About Nursing.
I’ve been meaning to write personally, I’m sorry for the delay. You were the only person out of the 10,000 on our list who wrote a letter to these two journalists. We were thrilled to get your letter and also to read your blog, which laid out so well the problems of the media. Thank you, and keep up the good work!
I can’t believe I was the only one.
Wow. The only one? Clearly you need to keep getting the word out Marianna about the important role nurses play in caring for patients. In my memoir about my son’s life and death, the nurses are some of the most important characters–I don’t know how I would have survived without their amazing care.
Yes, it is surprising. The not for profit organization: The Truth About Nursing is trying to do just that: get the word out.
Nurses are rated highest among the health professionals for honestly and ethics and have lead the ranking for 11 consecutive years. Yet we seem to want to keep this a secret.
Sadly, I can believe it. Congratulations to you for following through. I think our apathy as nurses is due to two basic things for starters–we ‘ve come to expect invisibility and we’re not socialized to think our voices really can matter in the public sphere. Keep up the good work!
Right. You hit the nail on the head. As a nursing instructor, do you think nursing education needs to focus on assentiveness training, conflict resolution, and communication skills, among other skills to promote self confidence among nurses?
I did, but don’t know if others do. I know at the time I did not address things like writing letters to the editor. I would now if I were still in the position to do so.
Yes, Lois, I know you taught communication skills when you taught nursing. How many nursing programs think this is a needed skill?
I recently taught the practicum portion for psychiatric nursing in an associate degree program. My students ran the gambit from men who had worked in the trades to experienced LPN’s, to those fresh from high school. The curriculum was almost devoid of what I see as the crux of successful nursing in collaboration with other disciplines. A nurse needs to be able to debate her point and find the language that will communicate that to the physician or the client. The curriculum was jam packed with psychiatric illness info and of course I was ‘coached’ to teach to the boards.
I am still a proponent for BSN entry to practice– primarily because of the need for more humanities to be part of basic education. After about 10 years in nursing I realized that poetry, ethics, theology built up my practice and my expertise in caring way beyond anything more I needed to know about physiology.
Another personal note and a reminder to myself to begin my own nursing memoir–I was watching the inauguration and saw on the podium behind the president a Congresswoman from California Anna Eschoo. I gave a joint conference talk with her ‘back in the day’ a dog and pony show really– on the Nurse Citizen…Active in politics — I believe it is still 1 in 4 persons in every congressional district is a ‘nurse’
Donna, I agree wholeheartedly that we nurses would benefit from a infusion of the humanities in our mostly science based education, besides learning communication skills and exposure to the politics of health care. Maybe it’s our nursing educational process that needs refinement in order that all graduates from the varied nursing degree programs will be inclinded to speak out for themselves and our profession.
A good curriculum does include this, but I remember “fighting” to get a full lab day to include this content. Others did not see it as important at the hands-on skills.
I will leave the discussion about the various nursing programs and development of curricula to nursing educators. However, I do believe we need to address how our profession is educated for the realities of today’s health care challenges. We’ve come a long way since I went to nursing school and was told to stand when a doctor entered the room and not to question his (always a he) authority. Or have we?
Once again you’ve touched on another important issue that has fascinated me for a long time. In your previous post you stated that the public relies on well-informed reporting and accurate facts. If only that were the case in our abbreviated reporting world. There are so many incomplete stories and details – and nurses and their contributions go so “unnoticed” as well. Personally, I still recall Emily at DukeRegional five years ago when she bent over leaning right into my face as the surgery was to commence. Gripping my hand she said “my name is Emily and I’ll be with you all through this operation. I’ll take care of you.” My complete body relaxed and I smiled.
Linda, Thanks for sharing this story about how a nurse made your surgical experience a positive one.
Reblogged this on Lois Roelofs and commented:
Why don’t we as nurses stand up for ourselves in the public sphere? I’m proud of the action of my friend, Marianna Crane, nurse practitioner and writer. Read her story and be inspired to act yourself.