UCLA School of Nursing to Hold First National Symposium Exploring Controversial Media Images and Screen Representations of Nurses

Leading Experts in Film, Journalism and Nursing to Gather in Los Angeles May 12 to Tackle Stereotypes, Stigmas of Nursing

(LOS ANGELES – April 19, 2011) — The nation’s leading media analysts, journalists, authors, and film and television experts will come together for the first time ever to discuss the controversial portrayals of nursing by the media during the UCLA School of Nursing’s “Media Images & Screen Representations of Nursing” symposium. The symposium will be held May 12, during National Nurses Week, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Auditorium in Westwood, CA.

“Polls in the U.S. repeatedly tell us that nurses are among the most respected and trusted professionals, yet the media continues to portray our profession in stereotypical and confusing ways,” said MarySue Heilemann, R.N., Ph.D., associate professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and the symposium creator. “This is the first-ever opportunity to bring those in the media together with nurse leaders for a dialogue on how to more accurately portray the vital role nurses play in society today.”

Keynote speakers for the event include:

  • Renowned author and media analyst Joseph Turow, Ph.D., who has been called “the reigning academic expert on media fragmentation.” Author of Playing Doctor: Television, Storytelling, and Medical Power (Oxford, 1989) and producer of Prime Time Doctors: Why Should You Care? Turow is the Robert Lewis Shayon Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. He was named a distinguished scholar by the National Communication Association and a fellow of the International Communication Association in 2010.
  • Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, founder and executive director of “The Truth About Nursing” and co-author of Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk. Since 2001 Summers has led a movement to change how the world views nursing by challenging damaging media depictions of nurses. Summers has master’s degrees in nursing and public health and has served as a nurse in the emergency departments and intensive care units at San Francisco General Hospital, Charity Hospital at New Orleans, Washington Hospital Center (D.C.), Georgetown Hospital and D.C. General Hospital.

A distinguished list of guest panelists will also discuss “Nurses On Screen” and “How Nursing Can Increase Its Role and Improve Its Image.” Panelists include:

  • Award-winning film producer Richard Harding, president & CEO of Sixth Sense Productions in Beverly Hills, CA, and president and chairman of End Malaria Now, who will discuss his upcoming film “The Benghazi Six.” Based on a true story, the film is about six Bulgarian nurses wrongly accused of infecting 400 children in Libya with HIV. Harding is also the producer of the film “The First Grader,” which will be out in theatres on May 13.
  • New York Times columnist and nurse Theresa Brown, BSN, RN, who practices nursing at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Larry Deutchman, executive vice president, Entertainment Industries Council.

The symposium is being held during National Nurses Week (May 6 -12) as part of the UCLA School of Nursing’s salute to nurses, which also includes an evening of celebration at the first inaugural Nurse 21 Awards. The Nurse 21 Awards highlights the evolution of nursing by recognizing seven champions who have helped to redefine nursing. The event is being held on the evening of Florence Nightingale’s birthday at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, CA.

Representatives of the media and the medical communities, plus other interested individuals, are invited to attend the symposium. The $35 conference registration fee includes parking, continental breakfast and lunch. To register, visit https://giving.ucla.edu/mediaimages/netdonate.aspx today.

The UCLA School of Nursing is redefining nursing through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. Ranked among the top nursing schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report, the school also is ranked No. 7 in nursing research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and No.1 in NIH stimulus funding. In 2009-2010, the school received $18 million in total research grant funding and was awarded 26 faculty research grants. The school offers programs for the undergraduate (BS), postgraduate (MSN and MECN) and doctoral (Ph.D.) student. For more information, please visit the website at www.nursing.ucla.edu.