Nursing Outlook Celebrates 60th Anniversary by Collaborating with UCLA to Publish Ground-Breaking Research on Portrayal of Nurses in the Media

Special Issue, media supplement feature pivotal thinking, dialog, debate

St. Louis, MO, October 3, 2012 -- Historical impact and modern media stereotypes of nurses offer a fascinating contrast in the September/October issue of Nursing Outlook, published by Elsevier, the leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. Nursing Outlook celebrates 60 years of leading the nursing field in 2012 with two special issues.

“Supplement Issue: Nursing and the Media” Millions of viewers watch nurses being portrayed on TV shows, news and movies. Yet, many of these portrayals display an outdated and incorrect image of nurses. Nursing Outlook, in cooperation with the UCLA School of Nursing, is releasing groundbreaking research on how the nation’s most ethical and honest profession is depicted in the media.

At a time when America’s nurses are assuming greater responsibilities in health care, it’s crucial that the public understand the vital professional role of nurses. Nurses, which have topped Gallup’s annual Ethics and Honesty Survey for more than a decade, are often absent in medical dramas, with physicians depicted on screen doing the work that a nurse would do in reality.

This Nursing Outlook supplement examines the financial, social, cultural and gender forces that impact the way screenwriters, producers and directors portray screen representations of nurses in TV and film. 

Topics include:

  • Media images and screen representations of nurses
  • Nurses and doctors in prime time series: The dynamics of depicting professional power
  • “Nurse Jackie” and the politics of care
  • A film producer focuses on issues of social justice and nurses: An interview with Richard Harding
  • Empowering expatriate nurses: Challenges and opportunities—a commentary
  • The representation of nurses in 1950s melodrama: A cross-cultural approach
  • A review of images of nurses and smoking on the World Wide Web
  • Making a difference from the inside out: advocacy with media creators

The guest editor is MarySue V. Heilemann, PhD, RN, UCLA School of Nursing; authors include award winning academic Joseph Turow, PhD, considered the reigning academic expert on media fragmentation and Theresa Brown, New York Times Opinion Columnist.

“Today’s nurses possess in-depth clinical knowledge. They have effective tools and technologies at their fingertips, play key roles in the patient care process, help drive national health policy, and are leading the way in many dimensions of critically important clinical research. In short, they are transforming healthcare in ways that will have a tremendous impact on the nation’s health. We want the public to understand our vital work, so accurate portrayals of nurses are crucial,” said MarySue V. Heilemann, PhD, RN, UCLA School of Nursing. 

The “Nursing and the Media” supplement was launched by a UCLA symposium that brought together nursing professionals and media representatives from film and TV to deepen the dialog on media images and screen representations of nurses. Publication of the supplement is made possible through the support of Barco’s Nightingales Foundation. 

Video: Theresa Brown on How Nurses Can Change the Image of Nursing Joseph Turow on How Media Informs the Public on Nursing
Dr. Linda Sarna talks about the image of nurses and smoking : McHugh interviews Richard Harding:

“Special Issue: Anniversary Issue: 60 Years of Leading the Field” In the special Nursing Outlook anniversary issue, nursing thought leaders examined six decades of the profession’s development, beginning with Nursing Outlook’s inaugural issue in 1953.

The result is a collection of nine historically significant articles that reflect emerging themes, discovery and progression in nursing practice, education, research and policy. Insightful commentary connects past and present thought in nursing, highlighting critical changes in the profession.

Topics include: Molding the future of advanced practice nursing, nursing research, interdisciplinary education, public policy, and the public’s stake in health insurance. The guest editor is Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Mary O’Neil Mundinger Professor at Columbia University School of Nursing.

“The review was inspiring to remind us of what we, as a profession, have contributed to creating a more progressive, productive, prosperous, just, and healthful society,” said Joanne Disch, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Minnesota, School of Nursing and American Academy of Nursing President. “Nursing Outlook’s history brings a wealth and richness of thought; looking back and connecting our history with our present is a powerful way of learning, reconnecting with our values and recommitting to our future work in nursing.”

As the official journal of the American Academy of Nursing and the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, Nursing Outlookprovides critical and timely analyses of emerging professional and healthcare issues of importance to all nurses.

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Notes for editors

Journalists interested in the full text of the editorial “Wisdom in Our History” by Bobbie Berkowitz or “Media Images and Screen Representations of Nurses” by MarySue V. Heilemann, Nursing Outlook, Volume 60, Issue 5 (September/October 2012), or who wish to set up interviews with Dr. Berkowitz or Dr. Heilemann, may contact Jami Walker, at + 1 314 447 8987

About the American Academy of Nursing

The American Academy of Nursing ( serves the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. The Academy's 1,890 Fellows are nursing's most accomplished leaders in education, management, practice and research. They have been recognized for their extraordinary contributions to nursing and health care.

About Barco’s Nightingales Foundation

Barco’s Nightingales Foundationsm ( was established in December 2008 by Michael and Frida Donner on behalf of Barco Uniforms. Their objective is to support the vitality and courageous heart of nursing, while also dedicating themselves to honoring the spirit of those women and men who choose nursing by focusing their philanthropic efforts on helping to mend the lives of children and their families

About the UCLA School of Nursing

The UCLA School of Nursing is redefining nursing through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. For more information, please visit the website at

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and close to 20,000 book titles, including major reference works from Mosby and Saunders. Elsevier’s online solutions include ScienceDirectScopus, ReaxysClinicalKey and Mosby’s Nursing Suite, which enhance the productivity of science and health professionals, and the SciVal suite and MEDai’s Pinpoint Review, which help research and health care institutions deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC, a world-leading publisher and information provider, which is jointly owned by Reed Elsevier PLC and Reed Elsevier NV. The ticker symbols are REN (Euronext Amsterdam), REL (London Stock Exchange), RUK and ENL (New York Stock Exchange).

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

Media contact
Jami Walker
+ 1 314 447 8987