RN Advocate Lambasts Media Portrayal Of Nursing

“I don’t get no respect,” said the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, comically lamenting a lack of understanding for the work he believed he did for society. Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, will present a lecture next week at Luther College in Iowa claiming the same lack of respect for the nursing profession nationally. However, for Summers, that lack of respect is no joke.

Summers has been a practicing nurse for more than two decades. She began her career in the emergency departments of hospitals like San Francisco General, Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C. There, dealing with the large population of San Francisco and the aftermath of criminal violence in the Washington and New Orleans areas, Summers soon realized that nurses are not always appreciated for the hard work they do.

She left the States for a time to work in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She taught nursing teachers and engaged in research that helped to benefit the nursing field in Cambodia. Upon her return, Summers attended a graduate program at Johns Hopkins. Her goal in attending Johns Hopkins was not just to increase her education or improve her career options. Her intention was to grow in the field so that she could help educate the public on how important nurses are to medicine.

Since 2001, Summers has led a campaign to challenge the portrayal of nurses in the media as a non integral part of the medical process. She believes that negative media portrayals undermine the trust between nurses and patients and can be damaging to patient care. Her presentation at Luther, titled “Saving Lives: Why Media’s Portrayal of Nurses Put Us All at Risk,” will hopefully play a large role in helping to educate the public on how integral nurses are to providing quality care.