I wrote the following blog on February 10, 2013.
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 in Businessweek 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 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.
The scenario continues.
On May 14, 2018 Shawn Kennedy wrote in AJN, Off the Charts: The Continuing Invisibility of Nurses in the Media
. . . “The 1998 Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media: ‘dismal’ results.
In 1998, Sigma Theta Tau International commissioned a study—the Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media—to examine how the media portrayed nursing. The results were dismal—after examining over 20,000 articles in newspapers and magazines, the researchers found that nurses were mentioned in only four percent of articles about health care
New study. Even worse results.
Last year, Diana Mason and a team from the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and Berkeley Media Studies Group replicated the Woodhull Study as part of a broader study on nurses and the media.
The summary of the results, fittingly released at the beginning of Nurses Week when the media does pay some attention to nursing, were disheartening: nurses are still essentially invisible in the media and rarely sought by media as sources or experts on health care topics. The current analysis is more disappointing than the original: nurses were quoted or appeared as sources in only two percent of articles examined in September 2017. We’ve lost ground!
Why the media ignores nurses.
Other parts of the study looked at why journalists did or didn’t use nurses as sources. Findings:
• they don’t really understand all that nurses do
• the right nurse is hard to find
• public relations staff don’t offer nurses as experts to media
• nurses may be reluctant to speak with media”
My next post will discuss suggestions to increase nurse visibility in the media.