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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $29.95

Paperback 360 pp.
6.125" x 9.25"



Publication date:
September 2014

Imprint: OUP US

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Saving Lives

Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk, Second Edition

Sandy Summers and Harry Jacobs Summers

For millions of people worldwide, nurses are the difference between life and death, self-sufficiency and dependency, hope and despair. But a lack of understanding of what nurses really do - one perpetuated by popular media's portrayal of nurses as simplistic archetypes - has devalued the profession and contributed to a global shortage that constitutes a public health crisis. Today, the thin ranks of the nursing workforce contribute to countless preventable deaths.

This fully updated and expanded edition of Saving Lives highlights the essential roles nurses play in contemporary health care and how this role is marginalized by contemporary culture. Through engaging prose and examples drawn from television, advertising, and news coverage, the authors detail the media's role in reinforcing stereotypes that fuel the nursing shortage and devalue a highly educated sector of the contemporary workforce. Perhaps most important, the authors provide a wealth of ideas to help reinvigorate the nursing field and correct this imbalance.

As American health care undergoes its greatest overhaul in decades, the practical role of nurses - that as autonomous, highly skilled practitioners - has never been more important. Accordingly, Saving Lives addresses both the sources of, and prescription for, misperceptions surrounding contemporary nursing.

Readership : Lay readers in health care, nursing, public health, labor, gender studies, and social/media psychology.

Echo Heron: Foreword
Part One: Dangerous Ignorance: Why Our Understanding of Nursing Matters
1. Who are Nurses and Where Have They Gone?
2. How Nursing's Image Affects Your Health
Part Two: The Great Divide: The Media versus Real Nursing
3. Could Monkeys Be Nurses?
4. Yes, Doctor! No, Doctor!
5. The Naughtiest Nurse
6. Who Wants Yesterday's Girl?
7. You Are My Angel
8. Winning the Battle-Axe, Losing the War
9. Advanced Practice Nurses: Skilled Professionals or Cut-Rate Physician
Part Three: Seeking Better Understanding of Nursing-and Better Health Care
10. How We Can All Improve Understanding of Nursing
11. How Nurses Can Improve Their Own Image

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Sandy Summers is the founder and executive director of The Truth About Nursing. She practiced nursing for many years in the emergency departments and intensive care units of major U.S. trauma centers. Ms. Summers has master's degrees in nursing and public health from Johns Hopkins University. A native of Connecticut, she lives with her family in Baltimore. Harry Summers is the senior advisor of The Truth About Nursing. A lawyer who practices in Washington, DC, his background includes international development work in Cambodia and a Fulbright scholarship in New Zealand. Mr. Summers has degrees from Columbia and Georgetown. A native of Pennsylvania, he lives with his family in Baltimore.

Polio Wars - Naomi Rogers

Special Features

  • Details media's role in reinforcing stereotypes that fuel the global nursing shortage and impact public health.
  • Offers practical ideas to improve understanding and perception of nursing.
  • Highly current case-study examples from popular media (TV's Nurse Jackie, The Mindy Project, House, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; musical group the White Stripes) that are perpetuated in every new class of television and film.
New to this Edition
  • Examines the portrayal of nursing in news, entertainment, and advertising media in an era of massive change in health care.
  • Coverage of nursing shortage and the implications for public health and health care.
  • Examples of evolving portrayal of nursing across new media.