Los Angeles Business Journal

Image Could Use a Booster Shot

OP-ED: Hollywood routinely misdiagnoses the crucial and varied roles that nurses play in health care. By COURTNEY H. LYDER Monday, May 16, 2011

Perhaps all this does not seem very dramatic in Hollywood. So, if it’s drama they are after, there is plenty of that, too. How about the women nurses who are leading the antitobacco initiative in China, where male physicians smoke openly in front of patients and where the state-owned China National Tobacco Corp., the largest tobacco company in the world, generates more than $77 billion in taxes and profits from its tobacco industry? Or how about the nurses in the rural villages of India who are being trained as front-line providers of HIV-AIDs care for previously neglected village women because doctors refuse to care for them?

UCLA, Yale, the University of Virginia and other major nursing schools in the United States are doing amazing work and achieving remarkable breakthroughs that will one day lead to disease prevention and the better management of chronic illness.

Recently the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Institute of Medicine released a report – “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” – that calls for new ways of conceptualizing the science and practice of nursing to meet the needs of an ever-changing health care system. Policy-makers, health leaders, and the clinical and scientific communities are already on board with this new image of nursing. It is time for the entertainment industry to catch up as well and recast its on-screen image of nursing to better reflect a profession that is making dramatic medical, scientific and social contributions to our society.

Courtney H. Lyder is dean and professor of the UCLA School of Nursing.  

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