from healthleaders.com magazine:
getting out the word
most people in the general public probably don't realize that nurses can and do rise to the top of management ranks to head up hospitals and hospital systems. what many young women believe, says polly bednash, ph.d., r.n., is that "nursing is a career for people who are caring and nice," but that it isn't intellectually challenging and doesn't require a lot of formal education. bednash, executive director of the american association of colleges of nursing, says such notions are the chief reason women-who greatly outnumber men in the field-choose other career paths.
bednash, along with other industry leaders, is working to dispel these and other myths. together, they have formed nurses for a healthier tomorrow, a coalition of 40 healthcare organizations that aims to pique interest in the profession. organizers are pinning their hopes on a multimillion- dollar national advertising campaign that pushes the tagline: "nursing. it's real. it's life." the campaign's series of public service announcements, print and movie theater ads launched in early 2002, and quotes real nurses. "what the ads say is that you are connecting with people where they are most vulnerable and you are doing real things to change their lives," bednash says.
on the commercial side, johnson & johnson health care systems inc. kicked off a $20 million advertising campaign earlier this year that comprises television ads, a web site with nursing program and scholarship fund information.
"we decided to bring up the visibility of nursing," says john mckeegan, j&j director of marketing communications and services. the campaign's slogans "i'm a nurse" and "join the ones who dare to care" show nursing as a "dynamic field with tremendous opportunities to do different things," he says.
but what about the images of the overworked and harried nurse that people see daily? neither campaign addresses this directly. bednash agrees that nursing is challenging but maintains the field still holds many rewards. "there are those stories out there, but the reality is a lot of people are enjoying their careers."