Article Content

It's May-Happy Nurse's Month!! Time to again ask the question...


Does anyone really know what home care nursing is and what we nurses really do?


And we all know the answer...


Unless someone has a personal experience with home care, they likely don't have a clue!!


A 2002 Kaiser Family Foundation Study ( found that more than one-half of frequent viewers of NBC's ER studied reported they learned about health issues on ER and discussed them with their friends and family. One-third used ER to help them make choices about their or a family member's healthcare. The study concluded that it was worth the effort to make entertainment television like ER as accurate as possible because of its potential influence on the public.


In 2000, JWT Specialized Communications ( conducted focus group studies on 1,800 students in grades 2-10 in 10 U.S. cities, and found that the youngsters received their most striking visualization of nursing from ER. Under ER 's influence, the youngsters considered nursing a technical career "like shop," not a profession. They did not consider nursing a career suitable for private school students, because "more" is expected of them. In their estimation, nursing was "a girl's job."


The Center for Nursing Advocacy (CNA, is a recently formed international not-for-profit group that seeks to increase public understanding of the central, front-line role nurses play in today's healthcare. The Center's mission is to promote more accurate, balanced, and frequent media portrayals of nurses and to increase the media's use of nurses as expert sources. The Center's ultimate goal is to foster growth in the size and diversity of the nursing profession at a time of critical shortage, strengthen nursing practice, teaching and research, and improve the healthcare system.


The CNA Web site shares many examples of both positive and negative views of nurses in the media, a pilot of a proposed nurse-friendly dramatic television series recently commissioned by the CNA, plus ways for you to become active in communicating your thoughts. If you're like me, try as you may, it's difficult to find stories or examples of home care nurses in the media regardless where you look, and this site is no different. It's not that they don't put them there, it's that stories on home care nurses don't exist (other than within the pages of HHN and some books).


It's May, the month that we are always honored on Nurse's Day and Nurse's Week. With the staggering amount of influence the media, especially TV, has on the health behavior and decisions of our patients, as nurses we should be involved on how we're portrayed in all practice settings, but based on the research, especially on ER.


Have you heard of physicians objecting to how they're portrayed in the media? Hardly.


Because there's rarely something about home care nursing in any media, I'd like to see many home care nurses join and participate in this organization to let our voices be heard. Working with your local media is critical as you'll see from the many articles posted on the CNA Web site. Membership to the CNA is as low as $15.00, and there's opportunity to contribute as much as you would like.


I welcome your thoughts, and if you currently participate in this group, write me and we'll publish the letters-remember, we are a profession that has a sense of humor, but one that also must be portrayed for what we are and what we do.


Happy Nurse's Month!!