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Are nurses getting the respect they need to save lives?

September 13,  2019

NIH fails to explain why dentist will oversee NINR

Thousands of nurses have urged the National Institutes of Health to reverse the interim appointments of a dentist and a biologist to oversee the National Institute of Nursing Research. But so far NIH has refused to rescind these appointments or even explain why they happened.

Please sign our letter (or write one of your own), and share our campaign widely to increase the number of voices on this issue. Thank you!

These appointments wrongly suggest that nursing is not a distinct health profession, but something anyone with some health-related background can do. 

In fact, nursing is an autonomous profession with a unique knowledge base and scope of practice. Nurses are educated by nurses, licensed by nursing bodies, and supervised by nurses in the clinical setting. Nurses independently engage in 24/7 surveillance to detect and resolve life-threatening problems. And nurses spend many years obtaining doctorates in nursing so they can pursue their own ground-breaking research, sometimes with funding granted by NINR. 

The idea that a non-nurse could competently oversee an elite nursing institution or evaluate proposals for nursing research with a view to spending taxpayer dollars on them presents a threat to both nursing and society.

Most decision-makers do not understand the value of nursing or know that nurses save lives. So nurses do not receive enough respect or resources. Clinical nurses are understaffed, threatening patients' lives. Many nursing faculty are also overworked and underpaid.

The stereotype of nurses as low-skilled handmaidens who need physicians to oversee them remains common, fueled by the news media and of course Hollywood. (We admit that suggesting nurses need dentists and biologists to oversee them is an innovation.) But damaging ideas about nursing can also be fueled by public sector leaders who make high-profile decisions that reinforce these inaccurate stereotypes, as this one by NIH does.

Please join our campaign to urge NIH to reverse these interim appointments and immediately appoint qualified nursing leaders instead! Thank you!

Take Action!

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

Francis Collins

Francis Collins, MD, NIH Director, refuses to rescind these appointments

Dentist Lawrence Tabak, NINR's new Interim Director

Dentist Lawrence Tabak, NINR's new Interim Director

Tara Schwetz

Biologist Tara Schwetz, NINR's new deputy director

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Let Sandy Summers 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 recently spoke in Washington DC, Manitoba and Vancouver, and gave the graduation speech at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She 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


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


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

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