1. Newland, Jamesetta PhD, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, FNAP, Editor-in-Chief

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On February 25th, the "beautiful people" will gather at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood and sit through hours and hours of the 79th Academy Awards, anxious to be seen and to find out who will take the Oscar home for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Actor.

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Out of curiosity, I searched past Oscar winners and discovered that a "nurse" won Best Actress in 1975; Louise Fletcher's portrayal of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest garnered her the Academy's favor. I think anyone acting opposite Jack Nicholson deserves special recognition!!


The movie setting was an insane asylum. Although Nurse Ratched's character was in some respects the very nurse we strive not to be, her struggle to be kind, caring, and compassionate toward an extremely difficult patient is universal, a conflict with which many of us can identify.


In her acceptance speech, Ms. Fletcher said, "I've loved being hated by you (the public)."


TV Nurses: What a Job!!

The media in all its forms exerts a powerful influence over public attitudes and perceptions. How often have you cringed when watching the way a nurse is portrayed on TV or in movies? If I had researched my options more carefully and been counseled differently, I would have become a "soap opera nurse." That way, I would spend all my time at the main desk socializing; I'd rarely go to the patient's bedside; and I would NEVER empty a bedpan or handle any mess. Also, I could take time off whenever I wanted, just by requesting it.


We should probably be thankful that Hollywood does not yet cast actors and actresses in nurse practitioner (NP) roles very often. If they have, I confess my ignorance because I rarely go see a movie in the theater, but instead watch select ones at home. If stories that include NPs become popular with major filmmakers, how do you think we will be presented to the public?


Protect the NP Reputation

The Nurse Practitioner National Marketing Campaign, active from 2000 to 2003 had the stated mission, "To improve the visibility of nurse practitioners among public policy decision makers, health insurance executives, and selected consumer and community groups".1


At, Johnson & Johnson includes a section on NPs and promotes advanced practice nursing roles as viable options for a nursing career. But I wonder how many hits these sites receive from the general public over a month or even in 1 year, compared to how many people go to the movies?


As popular magazines present more features about NPs and practice, as the revolving controversy over NP autonomy continues to stir, as more patients experience care from an NP, and as novels are written with NP characters, the likelihood that NPs will become visible on the big screen, albeit small, increases.


We continually clarify our role, preparation, and scope of practice. Again in 2006, the public voted nurses as the most trusted profession. This is our Oscar. The public, however, does not necessarily make distinctions within nursing; a nurse is a nurse. All efforts to protect the accuracy with which any nurse is portrayed benefits all levels of nursing. Hollywood has been added to the list of stakeholders to inform. If you are not familiar with or involved in the activities of The Center for Nursing Advocacy (, I encourage you to research further and contribute your efforts to this cause. Make sure the "beautiful people" get it right.


Jamesetta Newland, PhD, APRN, BC, FNP, FAANP, FNAP, Editor-in-Chief




1. Nurse Practitioners: Rx for America's Health. NP National Marketing Campaign. March 27, 2002. Available at: Accessed January 8, 2007. [Context Link]