The Truth About Nursing denounces the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the many other persons of color who have died as a result of law enforcement abuses. We doubt we have much to add to this discussion, but we believe we should at least use our position as a nursing organization to oppose racism, which causes so much harm to our society’s health. We understand that these abuses are just one result of an entrenched structure of racist policies and economic inequality. We also understand that, despite some progress, this structure still causes great disparities in health, education, employment, and standards of living for communities of color. And we know that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected those communities, as the many nurses caring for Covid-19 patients can attest.
Breonna Taylor was herself an emergency medical technician (EMT) who planned to become a nurse. She would likely have spent part of her life caring for injured police officers. So it is terribly ironic that police officers took her life. This act shows the self-destructive nature of racism and violence.
Those responsible for these killings—and myriad other unjustified assaults—must be held accountable.
The Truth About Nursing also condemns law enforcement attacks on those who are protesting peacefully about our nation’s failure to uphold its ideals. That includes attacks on health workers who are simply trying to assist protesters who have been injured. Some officers have shown restraint, but video evidence shows that many have not. Nor have their superiors acted effectively yet to stop abuses. As others have noted, nurses in clinical settings regularly manage to calm or at least restrain angry, altered, and even violent patients. But they do so without beating, choking, or killing them. And they do so without relying on weapons or a culture of impunity.
The Code of Ethics for Nurses requires nurses to promote the health of all, regardless of race, gender, or any other identifier. We believe nurses should also advocate for redirecting far more of the United States’ vast economic wealth toward the health and wellbeing of underserved communities, and away from activities that undermine those communities and betray the national interest, including the over-policing of petty crimes and mass incarceration. We hope all will join us in opposing racism and supporting those trying to reduce its effects, including the severe damage to public health.
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...
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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!
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...