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Are nurses getting the respect they need to save lives?

October 8, 2019

Dentist assumes NINR interim director post

Campaign to replace him continues. Please join!

Despite protests by over 4,300 nurses, and constructive interactions with NIH director Francis Collins, a dentist and a biologist have now assumed the interim leadership positions at NINR. The search for a permanent director is underway. Join our campaign for NIH to appoint a nurse as interim director as soon as possible!

Following our tweet-storm and the launch of our campaign on August 27, more than 4,300 nursing supporters have urged the National Institutes of Health to appoint a nurse to lead the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), instead of the dentist who assumed the interim director job on October 1. The NIH's second search for a permanent NINR director is underway. We urge everyone to continue watching and urging NIH to place a nursing leader in charge of NINR as as soon as possible!

See a full description of the elements of our campaign below--including links to the September 13 Business Insider story on the campaign that was reprinted around the world, a new account of our September 20 phone call with NIH director Francis Collins, and our latest letter to Dr. Collins dated October 1.

Francis Collins

Francis Collins, MD, NIH Director, needs further encouragement to appoint nurses to lead NINR

Dentist Lawrence Tabak, NINR's new Interim Director, started Oct. 1st

Dentist Lawrence Tabak, NINR's new interim Director, started Oct. 1st

A Chronology of Our Campaign So Far

See the detailed communications between the Truth About Nursing and NIH Director Francis Collins:

The Truth About Nursing requests a phone call with NIH Director Francis Collins


NIH Director Francis Collins sends a response to the Truth's campaign

The Truth provides more detail on how poor public understanding of nursing undermines the profession. This letter includes survey results showing that responding nurses overwhelmingly believe NINR should be led by a nurse


The Truth sends follow-up questions to the NIH Director


NIH Director Collins responds to the Truth's letter

The Truth follows up and seeks a more rigorous search for a temporary NINR director who is a nurse


Please continue to apply pressure on the NIH Director to find an interim director who is a nurse. We believe that Dr. Collins now understands the nature of our concerns, but that a dentist is still in charge of NINR at least in part because of administrative constraints. We gather that federal rules require that the interim position be filled by a current NIH employee.  But we urge Dr. Collins to consider the many other nurses at NIH, at least some of whom have advanced research degrees and could presumably fill the interim position, even if they would need some assistance with the administrative aspects of the job. Please join our campaign and circulate to colleagues, friends and family. Everyone has a stake in better public understanding of nursing. Thank you!

Take Action!

Click here to sign the letter--or write one of your own!

We can turn $5/month into a more empowered nursing profession. Join us?

Press coverage

Business Insider gives worldwide coverage to Truth's campaign for nurse to lead NINR

September 13, 2019 – Today Business Insider posted a piece by Allana Akhtar about nurses’ objections to the recent appointment of non-nurses as interim leaders of NINR. The article was “The US government just appointed a dentist and a biologist to head the National Institute of Nursing research – a nurses are furious.” The US story soon appeared in the NetherlandsIndiaAustralia, Germany and China. Truth director Sandy Summers was quoted as saying that the appointment wrongly suggests non-nurses can lead nurses and “damages public understanding of the nursing profession [by sending] a message nurses are not college-educated science professionals.” The piece also included quotes from Doris Carroll, the Illinois nursing union leader who founded Nurses Take DC. And the article included a response from NIH, with a helpful link to the application page for the NINR permanent director position. We thank Allan Akhtar and everyone responsible.

Business insider


Planning your curriculum?

We have ideas

Many nursing professors rely on the extensive and varied materials on the Truth's website to help their students engage with critical issues nurses will face in the future, from their public image to key aspects of nursing education, practice, and advocacy. Since 2001, we have explored and analyzed how the global media and society in general has seen the nursing profession. Join your colleagues and use this material to help plan your curriculum! Please consider some of these ideas... 

Curriculum planning

Speaking Engagements

Having an event? Book the Truth About Nursing's founder and executive director today!

Let Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, empower your nurses and help them fully embrace their autonomy!

Patients deserve better protection. Let Sandy help your nurses and students fully embrace their autonomy to strengthen nursing care, reduce errors and improve care! Sandy speaks widely to a variety of international nursing groups. Click here to see details and book her today!

Sandy Summers


How can nurses become fierce advocates?

Sandy Summers delivered an empowering message to new graduates at graduation speech at Widener University's Nightingale ceremony last week

In a short, compelling address, Sandy Summers welcomes new graduates to the field of nursing and inspires them to become fierce patient advocates--to put patients' interests first. Sandy explains her holistic vision of nursing advocacy and shares strategies to help nurses find their voices. She highlights areas in need of our advocacy and offers perspectives on how to overcome the resistance we meet when we challenge the world to do better. Nursing advocacy saves lives, and our patients need us to do it. So please join Sandy and let’s get started!

Widener University


Imagine a world where nurses were fully empowered to protect patients

Get an author-signed copy of Saving Lives for you or a friend

Saving Lives is the transformative book acclaimed by nurses, nursing leaders, scholars, and the media. It can help your friends, colleagues, and students be the strong nurses our profession needs to protect patients from errors, injuries, and disease. See praise for Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nursing Puts Us All at Risk by leaders in nursing and the media as well as the awards it has earned, including three Book of the Year awards from the American Journal of Nursing and an award from Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing. The updated second edition from Oxford University Press is now available! All donations and royalties go directly to support The Truth About Nursing, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Thank you for your support!

Saving Lives book cover

Think about the future

New international text Nurses and Nursing leads off with chapter by Truth leaders

The exciting new textbook Nurses and Nursing: The Person and the Profession includes a chapter on nursing's image by Truth leaders Sandy Summers and Harry Jacobs Summers. Edited by Padraig O Luanaigh, RN, EdD, the thought-provoking new textbook from Routledge "draws on international contributors with a range of backgrounds to explore, engage with and challenge readers in understanding the many aspects and elements that inform and influence contemporary nursing practice." Our chapter is "Nursing's public image: Toward a professional future." We thank Dr. Luanaigh for the opportunity to be a part of this important new project. Please consider this book for your classes in professionalism, nursing and society, and nursing leadership. Click here to request a free copy for review now! See more about the book here...

Nurses and Nursing book cover

Change the world with us!

Your support is what makes it possible for us to improve public understanding of nursing -- one media image at a time. Please make a generous donation today. Thank you!

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