I WAS THE ONLY ONE

#1I 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.

Thank you,

Marianna Crane

I received the following email from Sandy Summers, co-founder of The Truth About Nursing.

Hi Marianna,

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! 

Sandy

I can’t believe I was the only one.

SILENT NO MORE

When will nurses cease to be invisible? The web site The Truth About Nursing discusses an article about Hillary Clinton’s hospitalization in which the author did not make one reference to nursing hospital room(MatthewLee, “Hillary Clinton hospitalized with blood clot,Bloomberg Businessweek, December 31, 2012 *). The Truth About Nursing suggests if Clinton needed to be hospitalized then she needed nursing care or she could have received treatment at home. Think about it. Can hospitals function without nurses? Instead doctors were the only ones mentioned that monitored and assessed her condition while she was an in-patient.

Do you think doctors stay at the bedside of their patients 24/7? No, they go home for dinner. If there were a problem, most likely they would be paged by the nurse on duty—perhaps at 2 a.m. Or they would hear how the nurse independently solved the problem when they made rounds the next day. Or not.

Unfortunately, to our detriment, we nurses avoid seeking attention for what we do that improves patient outcomes. Because we are so self-effacing, is it any wonder the media rarely mentions us and therefore “reinforces the damaging misimpression that physicians provide all the health care that matters.”?

Isn’t it time we spoke up for ourselves, demanding recognition for what we do? It is a sad fact that the media have long ignored nurses and nursing practice. Nurses continue to shun publicity as if calling attention to what we do is a sign of hubris. I’ve mentioned in the past that I had asked nurses in a hospital where I worked to write stories about what they did that made a difference in a patient’s life. I received few submissions. The most common reason for not writing was they didn’t want to sound as if they were bragging.

I have been guilty of not taking credit for my nursing actions in the past. The story I wrote for The Examined Life Journal, Invisible, tells of a time back in the early ‘80s when I told a doctor that I believed the patient for whom he just wrote a discharge order should remain in the hospital. The challenge there was to avoid the old doctor-nurse game. But, and this is the big but, I never told the nurse with female ptpatient I was worried about the fluid in her lungs, her labored breathing and lethargy. So she never knew a nurse made a difference in her care when a few days later she went home without those troubling symptoms. Now, years later I wrote my story.

Let’s all of us nurses start speaking out by following a suggestion from The Truth About Nursing:  email authors Mathew Lee and Marilynn Marchione at mlee@ap.org and mmarchione@ap.org, stating our concerns about omitting any reference to nursing in their article. And send a copy of your email to: info@truthaboutnursing.org

I plan to do that. I hope you will, too.

*A P Chief Medical Writer Marilyn Marchione in Milwaukee contributed to this report.