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Monday, July 19, 2010

Part 3-Students Write About HR 4601 The National Nurse Act of 2010

Pictured: Elizabeth McPhee RN

Elizabeth McPhee RN and immediate past SNA PCC Chapter President (Class of 2010) and USA Today Coca Cola Silver Scholar continues our four part series spotlighting portions of papers written on HR 4601 The National Nurse Act of 2010. Elizabeth's paper, Nurses Need a National Nurse stated the following:

"Florence Nightingale can be quoted as saying “Nursing is a thing, which, unless we are making progress every year, every month, every week, take my word for it, we are going back” (Whyte, 2009). Historically the image of nursing has been a conflicted one. Its image has either been held in high regard as a noble and respected profession, usually by those who come in direct contact with the nurse, known as “merciful angel,” “heroine,” or perhaps the “greatest mother.” Or its image is misrepresented by what the media wants to portray such as “handmaidens,” subservient to physicians, “ battle-axes,” drug addicts or sex symbols.

Through exhaustive research it was found that nurses were completely underrepresented in the media. This study reviewed over 2000 health related articles from 16 major news publications and found the nurses were cited only four percent of the time. Additionally, one of the study’s key recommendations said that “if nurses merely wait for the media to discover their emerging roles as researchers, educators, problem solvers, and practitioners they are doing the public a disservice.”

Other recommendations included a call for nurses to speak out and promote professional images, to use strategies such as marketing and advertising to promote nursing, to create a database of experts at the national and state levels including local teams, and to increase visibility by writing to editors and correcting misreported information or under-reported issues.

Progression of nursing will need aggressive efforts at improving its image, and one key element of this study reveals, that it is necessary to begin with changing the media’s portrayal of nursing (Woodhull, 1998). Having Congress designate the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service to be known as the National Nurse would help this important position become more visible and recognized by nurses and the public. In addition, this change would provide a huge boost to current efforts by nursing advocacy organizations who are working to improve nursing's image throughout the country."


The Woodhull study on nursing and the media: health care's invisible partner. (1998) Center Nursing Press, Sigma Theta Tau International, Retrieved March 25, 2010 from database.

Whyte, A. (2010, January 6). Relighting the lamp. Nursing Standard, 24, 18-20

The National Nursing Network Organization Team—Monday, July 19, 2010  

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