Are Nurses Losing Ground? Part 2

In my last post I discussed the Woodhull Study that was published in 1998, which showed nurses were quoted in the media (newspapers) 4% of the time. The 2017 replication of study showed a drop to 2%.


Click here to view a video discussing the study, findings, limitations, and input from a panel of journalists/media experts. At the end of this post, I’ve listed some suggestions to improve nursing presence given by the nurse researchers and media panel (In no special order).

But before I get to the list, I was heartened in the last few weeks to note nurses quoted in the media:

In the Nation, May 3, 2018, Nurses have a prescription for the Democratic Party: Back Single Payer, by John Nichols citing nurses as experts in knowing what will help their patients achieve optimal health and what will benefit the health care system.

In letters re: Children of the Epidemic,a nurse wrote to the editor in the New York Times Magazine, May 27, 2018 describing her work with women addicted to crack cocaine during the AIDS epidemic in the ‘90s. During a span of two years, the babies followed by the nurses were on target developmentally. They were not “medical burdens.”

In my local paper, the News & Observer:

  • NPs step up as demand for doctors outpaces supply. (Reprinted from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis) by Jeremy Olson, April 29, 2018
  • Midwives say they can help fill gap in women’s health care,by Anna Douglas and John Murawski, May 20, 2018.
  • Medicare for all,letters to the editor, Patti Rieser, RN, FNP “supporting all medically necessary care, including dental, vision and mental health services and cover everyone from birth.” June 2, 2018.

Now back to the suggestions to improve nurse input and visibility in the media:

  1. Nursing leaders should meet with the PR department of their institutions to inform them about what nurses can contribute.
  2. Schools of nursing can provide media training for students and “media competencies” for nurse instructors/clinical experts.
  3. Nurse researchers should write press releases to the media about their study findings.
  4. Nurses need to make themselves available to journalists; develop a relationship so when a spokesperson is needed, the journalist will think of the nurse.
  5. Increase education in health care policy across nursing educational programs.
  6. Nurses should register with SheSource as experienced experts on health topics.
  7. Nursing schools/colleges are encouraged not to limit communication to other nurses and nursing sites using “inward tweets,” but cast a wider net to contact the non nursing sites/individuals or “outward tweets.”(Journalists look at both Twitter and Facebook for inspiration and sources.)


There are 3.5 million nurses

Physicians are not the center of the universe

Of course, I am always advocating that nurses tell their stories using every media venue available to educate the public, and especially the journalists, about who we are, and what we do, and how we make a difference.

By Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, I write about growing older, confronting ageism, creativity and food. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold.


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