For those readers who know me from Career Beat, the column I wrote for ADVANCE for 8 years, you may remember I am passionate about wanting to get the correct message to the public about who nurses are. I encourage all nurses to be "media watchdogs." In other words, if you notice incorrect information about nurses or nursing in the media -- newspapers, radio, television -- or any other publication or outlet, it is your responsibility to call the writer or reporter and simply question the information you heard or read.
Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. Last evening, on a Philadelphia television station, an investigative reporter related a story about students enrolled in a $12,000, one-year training program for medical assistants. The program claimed to be accredited and advertised its graduates were eligible to take the certifying exam after graduation. I applauded the reporter's choice of this story advocating for consumer protection and specifically for these students.
My problem with the reporting of the piece was it started out with a student in the program identifying herself as a nurse. She says she had previously been a nurse and because of illness had to leave nursing and now wanted to return. In fact, this is what caught my attention. However, then the story switches to this individual then enrolling in this allegedly fraudulent medical assistant program. Of course, this makes no sense at all. I have left a message for the reporter and hopefully he will call me so I can question, first, if I did hear the piece correctly and then if I did educate him about the need to clearly identifiof nurses-RNs, LPNs or non-nursing personnel, medical assistants, in future stories.
I want to emphasize we need the press to help the public receive more accurate information about nursing. So by all means be polite and courteous. You don't want to start off with an adversarial approach that will not result in a positive relationship. As a nurse of 43 years, I want nurses to be recognized for their hard work -- and not be misidentified to the public.