On episode 198 of RNFM Radio, we dig deep into some hot topics (in our minds, anyway!). We wonder why nurses sometimes feel painted into a corner or shoved into a box, and what myths (and brainwashing) persist about what nurses do and what they’re capable of. This leads us to a conversation about the media (the news, TV, Hollywood) and how they pigeonhole nurses or egregiously ignore nurses altogether.
Keith brings up the example of Ken Burns’ cancer series, “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies“, which doesn’t feature a single nurse doing anything of consequence or having a voice during multiple episodes of the series. What’s up with that? Do no nurses do anything important in the course of oncology treatment? Burns almost genuflects to the physicians, making them almost God-like in their race to cure cancer, while completely ignoring the nurses who are simply “behind the scenes”. Ken Burns owes nurses big time.
Why aren’t more nurses in the news, and what can we do about it? How can we leverage the media in our favor? Bernice Buresh and Suzanne Gordon give nurses powerful advice about how to educate the public and the media in their seminal book, “From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know And Must Communicate to the Public.”
What can nurses do? Nurses can get passionate about nursing, write letters to the editor, speak to their legislators, and find receptive media outlets who will hear their message and listen to their story.
Nurses can bring their definition of nursing to others via social media, print media, video, audio, or simple conversations. Nurses can educate others and find a way to make their voices heard.
Meanwhile, nurses can just talk to their communities, friends, neighbors, and families, educating them about who nurses are and what nurses do. We can do our best to subvert the dominant paradigms that push consistently push us into boxes and paint us into corners that we simply need to reject.
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