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Posts from the ‘Media’ Category

Media Savvy Nurses & Minnesota Sun Flakes: A Recent Nurse Messenger Training Day

This post is by Barbara Glickstein, co-founder of CHMP. Barbara is a producer and health journalist for WBAI Radio – NYC, a consultant for various health care organizations including The American Nurse Project, and a force behind nurse messenger media & leadership programs, which she leads for nurses around the country. She tweets @bglickstein.

Photo credit: Cyphunk, Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo credit: Cyphunk, Flickr Creative Commons.

Snow in April would paralyze New York. But this was Minnesota, and snow with sunshine would never be an excuse for anything.“Unusual,” Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer said, but she and her students arrived earlier than the start time that Tuesday morning. They were eager to get media savvy, ready with ideas, all ears for the fourth annual nurse media training, “Media Relations: A Surprising Strategy in the Nurse Leader’s Toolbox Workshop,” sponsored by the Center for Spirituality and Health in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Fourteen participants came prepared with a health issue they’d focus on and craft into key, media-ready messages. Topics reflected their clinical, educational and research expertise, many bringing long-time passions left on the back burner, revived in this unique training by myself and my colleague, Diana Mason.

Examples ranged from the use of integrative health therapies to reduce pain in children undergoing bone and blood marrow transplants, teaching self-care and mindfulness practices to school-age children to build resiliency and learn healthy coping skills, patient engagement in health care decision-making, digital trends in nursing, and the role of self-care for health care providers in improving patient outcomes.

We were invited back for our annual media training by Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN, Founder and Director of the Center for Spirituality and Healing and co-director of the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) program in integrative health and healing, a collaboration between Nursing and the Center DNP program at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

Dr. Kreitzer understands that media training is critical to leadership development for nurses. She’s a media maven, in addition to her penchant for commentary on the weather. Whenever the sun peaked out during the all-day media training, she’d alert me and point out the conference room window to the rays that peaked through the gray clouds. I joked with Kit Breshears, Communications Director at the Center for Spirituality and healing, and asked if the precipitation was a flurry of sun flakes, Minnesota style.

Happy to be indoors, the students were engaged, worked hard, and after only 20-minutes of team prep time, nailed their individual on-camera mock television interviews and mock press conferences. Delivered to participants-turned-journalists, the exercise is always a favorite culmination of our media training curriculum.

At the end of the workshop, we asked everyone to share a take-away.  “Developing key messages and using the message triangle. It’s going to help me with all my presentations, including one in class tomorrow night,” said a student participant, speaking about a concept that we use to teach message delivery. Another said, “It built my confidence in so many ways,” while others shared of plans to create a stronger online presence. Many shared appreciation for their new skill of crafting messages, “…on this issue[s] that I care a great deal about.”

They came ready, and with topics of interest. We trained them on message delivery, and walked them through how to develop their own media plans. Then Diana and I  asked them to commit to one post-workshop action. Commitment could include writing an op-ed, starting a blog, or reaching out to a reporter they follow to pitch a story idea to them.

Then one participant asked, “When’s the next Advanced Media Training Workshop scheduled?” A few more chimed in. “Yeah, when will you come back?” We laughed and looked over to our sponsors.“In June. When it isn’t snowing.”

For more information on Nurse Messenger Training, an evidence-based, industry-recognized program by nurse journalists with over twenty-five years in media and health care policy, please contact CHMP.

Healthstyles December 18: Global Nurse Leaders & Innovators

Healthstyles on Thursday, December 18th is hosted by Barbara Glickstein and features interviews with two global nurse leaders innovating with new technologies that are having an impact in managing conditions, saving lives and reducing the health care costs.  Read more about them and listen to the interviews.

Sueellen MillerSuellen Miller,PhD, RN, CNM, MHA is a nurse midwife, researcher and innovator. Dr. Miller is Director of the Safe Motherhood Program at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, and Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at University of California San Francisco. Hear how she adapted a piece of ambulance equipment to be something useful to women dying of childbirth-related hemorrhage in developing countries. The Lifewrap, is a low-cost, low technology, first-aid device to treat postpartum hemorrhaging saving women’s lives in remote towns and villages globally.



“The Non-pneumatic Anti-shock Garment (NASG) is a first-aid device used to stabilize women who are suffering from obstetric hemorrhage and shock. It is made of neoprene and VelcroTM and looks like the lower half of a wetsuit, cut into segments. This simple device helps women survive delays in getting to a hospital and getting the treatment that they need. It can be applied by anyone after a short, simple training. To date, it has been used on over 6000 women in 6 countries.”

You can hear the interview with Dr. Miller here

Increasingly, health care involves technology. Tech companies are venturing into the diagnostics and treatment market. People can use their smart phones to monitor their condition and there are 1000s of apps available for people to choose from to support their health needs.

NYPresbyterian Jane Seley NYT Tribute to Nurses winner NYWC January 12, 2011Jane Jeffrie Seley, DNP, MSN, MPH, BC-ADM, CDE, CDTC, is the inpatient diabetes nurse practitioner in the Division of Endocrinology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program and a contributing editor for the American Journal of Nursing “Diabetes Under Control” column. She shares the latest innovations in health technologies for diabetes and how they are changing the lives of people living with this chronic disease. It’s also changing the way health care providers in partnership with their patients are working together to maximize the impact of these new tools.

You can hear the interview with Dr. Seley here

Healthstyles airs every Thursday at 1 PM on WBAI Pacifica Radio 99.5 FM and streamed live at Healthstyles is produced by the Center for Health, Media and Policy.

HealthCetera’s Health News

HealthCetera’s Health News is CHMP’s weekly news update produced for WBAI’s Morning Show on 99.5 FM. Today’s segment covered how Americans voted on health care issues; Science and health writer, Sonya Collins, article on, “Immunotherapy Brings New Hope to Cancer Fight” and New York City Council and The New York Academy of Medicine’s expansion of the Council’s Age-friendly initiative by establishing Age-friendly Neighborhoods in 10 new districts.

Listen to HealthCetera 

Invisible Nurse Redux

leslie nicollThis post is written by Leslie H. Nicoll, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN  a passionate nurse, wife, and mother. She lives in Portland, Maine where she owns her own business, Maine Desk LLC. She is the Editor-in-Chief of CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing and Editor of Nurse Author & Editor. Dr. Nicoll is an advocate for the poor and vulnerable in our society and lives this mission by working 2 1/2 days per week as the Coordinator at the Portland Community Free Clinic. Dr. Nicoll was very proud to be inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in October 2014. 

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was quarantined in a tent in New Jersey for four days, has become a household name—sort of. What isn’t as well publicized are her educational credentials and expertise. Nurse Hickox is presented as “just a nurse” and if one is to believe the comments written about her in public discourse (newspapers, Facebook, Twitter) she is the worst kind of nurse: selfish, narcissistic, ambitious, egotistical, and negligent. Definitely not the sort of nurse someone would want at their bedside when they are in extremis, if you are inclined to agree with the opinions that many anonymous writers have shared.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t start paying close attention to Nurse Hickox’s story until she left New Jersey and came home to Fort Kent, Maine. But once her situation became local news (I live in Portland), I couldn’t ignore it. “QUARANTINED NURSE” was the lead headline for the past week.

One thing I noticed, right off the bat, is that all stories about her gave the bare minimum of information—her name and sometimes, her age (33). That’s it. No mention of her employer, education, expertise, or experience. Reporters did talk about her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, 39, a nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. It was surreal to feel like I knew more about Ted than I did about Kaci, who really was the person of interest at the heart of this story.

Limited info about Nurse Hickox didn’t stop the online “pitchforks and torches” crowd from attacking her, however. Think of the nastiest thing you can say about someone and multiply it by ten—that will give you a sense of the vitriol that has been posted on the websites of the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News. I ventured to a Kaci Hickox Facebook page and read more of the same, including this comment: “Bet this fanpage isn’t working out the way you expected it would, bitch!!”

Things reached a head, at least in my head, when I read a series of posts from people claiming to have contacted the Maine Board of Nursing demanding that her license be revoked and finding out that she isn’t even licensed to practice nursing in Maine! This caused even more outrage, with comments suggesting that she is not a “real RN” and that she was “practicing medicine” [sic] in Africa illegally.

So, who is Kaci Hickox, really? It turns out she is extremely well educated and well qualified for the work she is doing: BSN from the University of Texas at Arlington (2002), MPH and MSN from Johns Hopkins University (2011), a diploma in tropical nursing from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health, plus a two year post-graduate fellowship in applied epidemiology with the CDC. Nurse Hickox is a paid volunteer by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF) and under their auspices, has traveled to work in Myanmar, Nigeria, and most recently, Sierra Leone. She has a very definite career path to work with poor and vulnerable populations throughout the world. Interestingly, she was turned down by MSF for a job in 2004 because she didn’t have enough experience. That motivated her pursue her tropical nursing diploma and dual master’s degrees, all while gaining international experience in Indonesia and other countries.

Clearly Nurse Hickox is a smart, assertive, and intelligent woman who knows how to stand up for her rights and fight for what she believes in. But the press seems determined not to show us that side of her—instead, they keep her anonymous and vague. In headlines she is often nameless, to wit:

  • Judge in Maine Eases Restrictions on Nurse (New York Times, October 31, 2014)
  • Unapologetic, Christie Frees Nurse From Ebola Quarantine (New York Times, October 27, 2014)
  • Tested Negative for Ebola, Nurse Criticizes Her Quarantine (New York Times, October 27, 2014)

In videos that I have watched of Gov. Christie (NJ) and Gov. LePage (ME) discussing the situation—Nurse Hickox is never mentioned by name but always referred to as “her” and “she.” Gov. LePage goes on to say that “that woman” has “violated every promise” and that “we can’t trust her—I don’t trust her.”* He has also warned that she might be attacked if she leaves her home, which I heard as a veiled threat and bullying tactic.

I posted a comment in response to a New York Times article on October 31 that detailed some of her education because I was tired of the lack of information about her. So many commenters were assuming that she was undeducated and unprepared for the job and that she had gone to Africa on a lark with an urge to become famous. I wanted to do my little bit to get accurate data into the public record. 

People thanked me for  my post, saying that this information had not been shared before and was not “common knowledge.” Was I truly the first person to investigate Nurse Hickox’s background (which took about two minutes of Googling)? Turns out I wasn’t—there was an article in the New York Times on October 25 with this background, but it was buried on page A24. It was a standalone piece and none of the information contained in that article has been referenced in subsequent articles written about her. I also found alumni articles from Johns Hopkins and the University of Texas at Arlington** but has this material been shared generally? Sadly the answer is no.

So, what is my takeaway on all of this? One—the world out there: the public, reporters, governors and everyone else—see “nurses” as a commodity, one in million, who do not need to be named and identified by education and experience. Knowing this, we need to be vigilant to provide names, degrees, and credentials, for both ourselves and our colleagues. Note that in this post I have explicitly used Nurse Hickox rather than “Kaci” or “Ms. Hickox.” I believe this is a small way to be respectful and also get the fact that she is a nurse right out front.

Two: nursing education is confusing. This, unfortunately is a problem we in the profession have created but for people who aren’t pursuing a degree in nursing, it can be simplified and made clear. Most everyone knows what a bachelor’s degree is, likewise a master’s or PhD. Use those terms. “Kaci Hickox has two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins.” People will understand that Nurse Hickox must be “wicked smart” (to use a Maine term!) to have accomplished this.

Three: career options in nursing are wide and varied (good for us who are looking to do different things) but again, the public seems to equate nursing with being at the bedside in a staff nurse role. There were many opportunities in the Nurse Hickox story where misconceptions were not corrected: she has a definite career plan, she has the education and expertise to serve in complex public health situations, and she did not go to Africa on a whim.

Fourth: strong, assertive nurses (and women) are not bad people. Nurse Hickox stood up for her rights and was publicly shamed for it. This is not acceptable and we must be vocal and support our colleagues. Interestingly, Monica Lewinsky has recently come forward with a mission to stop cyberbullying and public humiliation, based on her experiences of the past 16 years.*** Cruel, heartless online posting, from people who can hide behind a screen name are abhorrent to me and unfortunately, the incidence seems to be increasing. We must do what we can to stop this practice. Getting on the right side of the Nurse Hickox story seems like a good place to start.

Fifth: modern nursing is not the profession that many envision—docile, subservient nurses dressed in white and working in the hospital. Instead, we are creative, educated, and intelligent men and women who work in settings unimagined a generation ago. Each of us has a responsibility to correct misconceptions about our profession and career and should do this at every opportunity. When asked what I do, I always say that I am a nurse first, then add, “I own my own business,” “I am the editor of a professional journal,” or “I am the coordinator at our local free clinic.”

I was heartened this morning when the headline in the Maine Sunday Telegram did identify Nurse Hickox by name. Of course, she was called “Ebola nurse” in the same headline. Sigh…one step forward, one step back.

Written by: Leslie H. Nicoll, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN


*Gov. LePage:

Gov. Christie:



Invisible Again

invisible nurse

What’s wrong with this media advisory:



NIH officials will brief reporters about the discharge of Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who was admitted to the NIH Clinical Center on October 16 with Ebola virus disease, and is now virus free.

— Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health
— Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
— H. Clifford (Cliff) Lane, M.D., NIAID Clinical Director
— John I. Gallin, M.D., Director, NIH Clinical Center
— Tara Palmore, M.D., Director, Hospital Epidemiologist, NIH Clinical Center and Director, Infectious Diseases Training Program, NIAID
— Rick Davey, M.D., Deputy Clinical Director, NIAID Division of Clinical Research


Once again, nurses are missing from media stories on Ebola. Why would the NIH clinical center not include at least the chief nurse for the clinical center to talk about the care that Nina Pham received?

We’re back to pre-Nina Pham days.

When nurse Nina Phan was diagnosed with Ebola, journalists were on the hunt for nurses who could be interviewed. While National Nurses United was proactive with reaching out to media, other journalists turned to nurses such as Karen Cox, Secretary of the American Academy of Nursing and COO of Mercy Children’s Hospital in Kansas City; Pamela Cipriano, president of the American Nurses Association;  and Elaine Larsen, international expert in infectious disease and professor of nursing at Columbia University. As president of the American Academy of Nursing, I was fielding multiple media requests, providing commentary on the situation and referring journalists to experts such as Cox and Larsen.

It was a ‘media frenzy’, as many called it. For nurses, it was heartening to see the attention to the daily, heroic work of many nurses and to see nurses as spokespeople in the media. But once Nina Pham was declared Ebola-free, the calls stopped. Now it’s all physicians and politicians all the time.

Of course, the exception is Kaci Hickox, the nurse who is being quarantined outside of University Hospital in Newark, NJ, after returning from Liberia where she cared for patients with Ebola. She is sympom-free and, probably Ebola-free; and, thus, not able to transmit the virus. Despite this, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie have set policies in their states that require aid workers and other travelers from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients to be quarantined for 21 days. This is not a house-quarantine with self-monitoring.

On CNN Sunday morning in an interview with Candy Crowley, Hickox refused to agree that the policies were reasonable. Instead, she argued that the policies do not reflect the available evidence. Indeed, as another CNN reporter pointed out, the nurses and other health care workers who are taking care of patients with active Ebola in Bellevue Hospital, demonstrating how poorly thought out the policy is. Hickox was informed, smart, and fiesty. She stood her ground and clearly articulated her reasons for opposing the new quarantine policy.

Once Hickox is able to go home, will there be any nurses’ voices in the media’s discussion of the nation’s response to Ebola and other infectious diseases? Will nurses be sought routinely by journalists as experts on health and health care issues? Will their different and important perspectives on these matters be sought?

Or will we once again be invisible?

Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Rubin Professor of Nursing


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