Cheap shots: National symposium tackles controversial portrayals of nurses in media

UCLA Health article
A group of the nation's leading media analysts, journalists, authors, and film and television experts will come together at UCLA to discuss, for the first time, controversial portrayals of nurses and nursing in the media.
Sponsored by the UCLA School of Nursing, the "Media Images and Screen Representations of Nursing" symposium will take place Thursday, May 12, during National Nurses Week, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center auditorium on the UCLA campus.
"Polls in the U.S. repeatedly tell us that nurses are among the most respected and trusted professionals, yet the media continues to portray our profession in stereotypical and confusing ways," said MarySue Heilemann, an associate professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and the symposium's creator. "This is the first-ever opportunity to bring those in the media together with nurse leaders for a dialogue on how to more accurately portray the vital role nurses play in society today."
Keynote speakers at the event will include:
A renowned author and media analyst who has been called "the reigning academic expert on media fragmentation," Turow is the author of "Playing Doctor: Television, Storytelling and Medical Power" (Oxford 1989) and the producer of "Prime Time Doctors: Why Should You Care?". He is the Robert Lewis Shayon Professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication and was named a distinguished scholar by the National Communication Association and a fellow of the International Communication Association in 2010.
Summers is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit The Truth About Nursing and co-author of "Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk." Since 2001, she has led a movement to change how the world views nursing by challenging damaging media depictions of nurses. Summers has served as a nurse in the emergency departments and intensive care units of San Francisco General Hospital, Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and Washington Hospital Center, Georgetown Hospital and D.C. General Hospital in Washington, D.C.
A distinguished list of guests will also participate on the panels "Nurses on Screen" and "How Nursing Can Increase Its Role and Improve Its Image." They will include:  
An award-winning film producer, president and CEO of Sixth Sense Productions, and president and chairman of the nonprofit End Malaria Now, Harding will discuss his upcoming film, "The Benghazi Six." Based on a true story, the film is about six Bulgarian nurses wrongly accused of infecting 400 children in Libya with HIV. Harding is also the producer of the film "The First Grader," which will be in theaters May 13.
Brown is a New York Times columnist and nurse who practices nursing at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Shadyside Hospital.
Deutchman is executive vice president of the Entertainment Industries Council.
The symposium is being held during National Nurses Week (May 6–12), as part of the UCLA School of Nursing's salute to nurses, which will also include an evening of celebration at the first inaugural Nurse 21 Awards. The awards highlight the evolution of nursing by recognizing seven champions who have helped to redefine the field. The event is being held on the evening of May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday, at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif.
Representatives of the media and the medical communities, as well as other interested individuals, are invited to attend the symposium. To register, visit
The UCLA School of Nursing is redefining nursing through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. Rated among the nation's top nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report, the school also is ranked No. 7 in nursing research funded by the National Institutes of Health and No. 1 in NIH stimulus funding. In 2009–10, the school received $18 million in total research grant funding and was awarded 26 faculty research grants. The school offers programs for the undergraduate (B.S.), postgraduate (M.S.N. and M.E.C.N.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) student.
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Media Contact:
Laura Perry

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