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Posts tagged ‘Media’

“Are You My Nurse?” The Importance of Claiming Professional Identity

This post is from CHMP Graduate Fellow, Amanda Anderson, RN’s blog, This Nurse Wonders. More frequently than not, Amanda writes toward her simple goal, “I want nurses to start talking.” Here, she muses on the importance of using titles in health care.

By neglecting to title ourselves, we allow others to paint us as whatever stereotype is the most convenient, or the most useful. Work by Richard Prince, Registered Nurse. 2002.

By neglecting to title ourselves, we allow others to paint us as whatever stereotype is the most convenient, or the most useful. Work by Richard Prince, Registered Nurse. 2002.

In their book, From Silence to VoiceBernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon discuss the silence of the nursing profession in the media. Chapter after chapter, they expose how reluctant we are to share with the public the details of our job, how we hide behind the stereotypes and discriminations of our profession, and, most importantly, what we lose because of this silence.

I’ve picked it up again, after my first read years ago. It’s funny, to see the notes I scribbled in the margins then. Lots of ?!?!? and WHY DO WE DO THIS?! It’s not so funny, seven years later, to realize how much remains unchanged.

Over the weekend, on a bus ride back from a quick DC trip to see my sister, I read the chapter entitled, “Presenting Yourself As A Nurse.” I remember reading this so long ago, thinking their recommendation to introduce myself as “Nurse Anderson,” while expecting other providers to address me as such, seemed kind of dated. Do I want to be called Nurse Anderson by interns who are now, a growing handful of years younger than me? Kind of feels like being called “ma’am” by a stranger in the grocery store.

But they make a good point: the discrepancy between doctor’s and nurses title usage – doctor’s always introduce themselves as such, while nurses are often the mysteriously untitled profession – solidifies physician-identity in the mind of the patient and, ultimately, the public. Sure, when chatting at the nurses station, first-name basis between providers is fine, but in introductions to patients or family, first-name-only-nurses surrender their professional identity.

I floated to endoscopy yesterday. Assigned to man the recovery room with two other nurses, I pondered this identity challenge, and decided to conduct some experiments. As sleepy patients wheeled in from their various procedures, I’d give them a little shake, and with Buresh and Gordon in my brain, I’d say, “Hello! I’m Amanda, I’m a nurse,” to their crusty-eyed, confused gaze. Just coming out of twilight anesthesia, many marveled at the simplicity of my greeting, and its ability to provide them with much needed context. Not one of them asked me where they were, or who I was, and honestly, it felt good to title myself openly.

I used my new, identity-charged greeting all shift – when I called the pharmacy for medications, I said, “Hi! I’m Amanda, I’m a nurse calling from endoscopy.” When I phoned the operator to connect me to another unit, “Hi! I’m Amanda, I’m a nurse,” came easily, and I was shocked at how clearly it was received, and how many clarifications it saved me.

While I fluidly added my title to my introductions, making them direct and clear, I was amazed at how muddled and ambiguous my co-nurse’s greetings sounded in contrast. Smiling down at her sleepy patients, she said, time and time again: “Hello! I’ll be taking care of you.” Huh? Where am I? Who are you? Were the most common responses.

I’ll admit, I’ve said this phrase countless times. But hearing it in the shadow of Buresh & Gordon’s recommendations, made me wonder why we nurses think it’s acceptable – are we ashamed to call ourselves “nurse,” or do we just not recognize how important our title is?

In an era where nurses no longer have a recognizable image, where we all work in different capacities and at different levels, and where our education and practice is frequently called into question, it is becoming clearer and clearer how closely-linked the act of verbal title distinction is to our professional success. By neglecting to state who we are – the nurse – we give up control of our identity, our rights to our work, our voice as a profession; our silent namelessness allows us to become whatever stereotype is the most convenient, or the most useful.

My titling experiment cemented itself into forever-practice around three pm, when I prepared to call report on a patient who was returning to her bed on the floor. I asked the patient if she knew her nurse’s name, to speed up the phoning process. She told me it was Samantha, who I requested when I phoned the unit. “Oh, Samantha is the nurse’s aide, I’m Jane. I’m the nurse.” Damn.

All that work, all that time, all that expertise, all that knowledge, and the patient still has no clue who we are. A simple switch of the tongue might be a start to something big, nurses. While I may not introduce myself as Nurse Anderson just yet, I’ll definitely be seasoning my communications with my title from here on out.

Why Nurses Need A Google Doodle

National Nurses Day is less than a month away, and I’m not excited about it. I’ve received one too many “Code Brown Queen” cards in the span of my career. More frequently celebrated with cheesy, tongue-in-cheek gifts than genuine recognition of the achievement, skill and accomplishments of its 3.1 million members, this nurse wonders if it isn’t time to change things up on May 6th.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass on the joke-y cards, magnets and sweatshirts. I don’t need the swag or even the extra attention; I’m just doing the job I feel called to, after all. But since the holiday exists, I think we should use it as an opportunity to actually further the visibility of the nursing profession in a proactive and intelligent manner.

So, this year, I’m asking for the Nurses Week gift I actually want: Nurses and their supporters to demand a National Nurses Day Google Doodle. 


Maybe, if the millions of Americans Googling something on May 6th saw a tribute to modern day nursing, we’d be able to start a conversation about our profession that’s long overdue. 

The Google Doodle team calls for suggestions that “celebrate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation.” Nursing was founded on the laurels of individuals who changed the course of medicine, and continues on the backs of nurses who daily care for and protect millions of lives through creative troubleshooting, critical thinking, and fast-paced decisions. Florence Nightingale practically discovered germ theory, most modern-day hospital procedure is based on nursing research, and any nurse who has worked short-staffed, survived the shift by relying on innovation.

So why hasn’t Google celebrated us since they started doodling 14 years ago? (To be fair, they did a small, somewhat belittling doodle for Nightingale’s birthday in 2008). 

I don’t blame Google for neglecting us every year, exactly. The trouble with us nurses, is we don’t talk about what we do. Our creativity and guile and innovative genius lays locked within the halls of our practice. The tiny work-arounds we find and share with each other at the bedside change lives, but are rarely known by anyone but nurses, much less understood publicly. Nursing research, although utilized in almost every existing medical decision and implemented at the Federal level, is often poo-pooed as a soft science. And for some reason, we can’t manage to break into Hollywood as anything but drug abusers or tyrants. We’re largely missing from policy debates, few of us have paced the floors of Congress, and the pages of our newspapers are void of our heroic stories and focused opinions. It’s time we start sharing what we do in a way that those we serve can understand.

With our foundations and our future in mind, I think nurses – all 3.1 million of us – as American innovators, need a shout out from Google, the portal of the universe, this National Nurses Day. Maybe, when we’re showcased on the most innovative website on the internet, our country will realize how much we deserve to be there, and we will start actively telling them why.   

So, here’s my plan: Starting this Sunday, I’ve e-mailed the Google Doodlers a suggestion for a doodle celebrating modern-day, living American nurses, calling attention to our innate innovative spirit. In each e-mail, I’m showcasing a living nurse innovator. Sunday, I wrote about Cathy Papia, a nurse from my hometown of Buffalo, who started the White Wreath Protocol, a simple way to alleviate the suffering that comes along with dying in an ICU when a hospice unit is unavailable. Monday, I told the doodlers about Mary Wakefield, the Obama-appointed administrator of the HRSA. Yesterday, doodlers got a briefing on the profoundly innovative contribution of UCSF’s Living Legend, Patricia Benner, and today, I reminded them of Carol Gino, whose voice has peppered the profession with innovative narrative for decades.

Tune in, and share: I’m posting the e-mails I send to the Google Doodle team on my blog, This Nurse Wonders, and I’ll re-hash here, on the Facebook page, Why Nurses Need A Google Doodle, and via @12HourRN.

Nurses are amazing, multi-faceted clinicians, inventors, policy makers, artists, problem-solvers and care-givers. Long before Google became a verb, “nurse” entered the language of the globe and changed it forever. We’re still here to tell our tales; perhaps Google will give us a boost.

Healthstyles: The ACA’s Health Home role in addressing substance use

Substance use disorder refers to a spectrum of excessive or harmful alcohol or drug use. In this segment of Healthstyles co-host Barbara Glickstein, RN, MPH, MS interviews Daliah Heller, PhD, MPH, an expert in Drug and Alcohol Policy Research. Dr, Heller talks about one specific provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Homes, will change the way we address substance use. These models of care have been charged with providing comprehensive care management, coordination, and health promotion to address the medical (physical), behavioral (substance use and mental health), and social support (eg, housing, transportation assistance) needs of this population. Dr. Heller talks about the potential benefits of this new model.

Tune in tonight at 11 PM on 99.5 FM or streamed live on or listen to the full segment here.Dahlia Heller



Young people aren’t buying it.

Young people just aren’t buying it.

Young Americans, almost 20 million uninsured 18-34 year olds,  aren’t signing on for affordable health insurance through the health insurance exchanges as hoped.

The administration is expected to report on the number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance on the federal exchange this week. But the estimates aren’t great, and young, healthy people are needed to balance the risk pool.

Cost has been the greatest inhibitor to reducing young adults uninsurance rates. 

A recent HHS report states that some young adults eligible for health insurance marketplace could pay $50 or less per month for coverage in 2014.

hya-bannerThe Young Invincibles, in collaboration with HHS, has a #GetCovered campaign and just launched a video contest, “Healthy Young Americans Video Contest” to engage this group and get buy-in.  The results of the winner will be announced Friday, November 15th.

Will writing in the facts about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act into television plot lines work to get them to enroll?  Mediate reported on a $500,000 grant from the California Endowment to the University Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s  Lear Center’s Hollywood Health & Society to do just that. The Center provides entertainment industry professionals accurate and updated information on health and climate change. This grant will allow them to provide information on the ACA and it’s implementation. The full press release can be found here.

Then there’s the Koch-funded Generation Opportunity, an anti-Obamacare group, reaching out to this age group telling them not to buy health insurance.

Media does have a social impact.

No one thought this would be an impulse buy. Is this procrastination? Hold outs because the penalty in the first year is just $95?

How do we get a Millennial to take action and purchase health insurance?

Beats me.



Mauritius Nurses as Advocate: A Threat to a National Government?

Kalaloo image.003

How can a nurse be a threat to a national government? Ask those who know Kallooa Bagooaduth, MSc, BSc, PG Dip. RN, the president of the Nursing Association of the tiny nation of Mauritius, or who heard him speak at the International Council of Nurses meeting in Melbourne, Australia, in May.

Bagooaduth was a panelist in a symposium developed by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College. CHMP’s co-director Barbara Glickstein was another panelist who spoke about our work at the Center, and Diana Mason moderated the panel. They were joined by Eric Chan, the Principal Nursing Officer of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority in Hong Kong  and former Interim Nurse Scientist at the World Health Organization. More on Dr. Chan later.

Bagooaduth is a charge nurse at a hospital in Mauritius. Four years ago, he attended the quadrennial meeting of the International Council of Nurses and was inspired to get more involved in his country’s own health and nursing policies and advocacy. He ran for the presidency of the Mauritius Nursing Association and won.  Since that time, he has led the association in ways that have garnered public attention and made national policymakers nervous.

The Mauritius Nursing Association had not been visible as an advocate for the profession, nor for the public’s health. Over the past four years, Bagooaduth has led the association in developing an agenda for improving the working conditions for nurses in the country, as well as for promoting access to crucial health care services, such as abortion.

At the Melbourne conference, he discussed some of the accomplishments that were an outgrowth of using the media to get issues on the agenda of the public and policymakers, leading protests, and advocating for improving the health of the people:

Changing the requirement for the basic education of nurses from a certificate to diploma.

  • Reducing discrimination against female Nurses in pay and promotion criteria.
  • Improving nurses’ living conditions.
  • Improving the physical plant of hospitals.
  • Amending an 1893 law to decriminalize abortions in certain cases.

His advice to the audience:

  • provide information to the press that has real news value
  • be credible
  • be trustworthy
  • be available
  • speak in the public’s interest
  • be bold

He certainly exemplifies this last piece of advice. As one source who spoke off-the-record with us at the meeting, “Kallooa is not very popular with the government. I worry for his safety.”

We wish Kallooa Bagooaduth a long life of bold leadership. At the Melbourne meeting, the Maurtitius Nurses Association recieved ICN’s 2013 National Nursing Association Innovation Award and Bagooaduth was elected to Vice President of the Board of Directors of ICN. We expect he’ll be its president one day.

Kalaloo image 2.012

Barbara Glickstein, RN, MS, MPH, and Diana Mason, RN, PhD, FAAN, Co-Directors, CHMP


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