Book Discussion: Saving Lives:Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts us All at Risk


Hi All!

I was wondering if anyone has read or is reading "Saving Lives: Why the Media's Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All at Risk" by Sandy and Harry Jacobs Summers. I got a Kindle for Christmas and game across this book. As a student beginning an Accelerated BSN Program in May, it intrigued me.

The book is about, as the title suggests, the various ways nurses are (mis)represented in the media. The authors repeatedly correlate these representations to the nursing shortage (the book was published in 2009). I am interested to see if nurses who have read this are rallied behind it or if they think maybe it's a little *too* much.

I'd love to start a little discussion about the booK! As a student who never considered nursing for a long time for many of the reasons in this book, it is important to me to be educated about this topic.

Looking forward to opening up the floor on this book.

Here's the link for it if you're interested:


104 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology/Home Health CM, OB, ICU, MS.

I haven't read the book, but somehow I don't think I have to.

People don't get our role. I can't blame them; I really had no idea myself, before becoming a nurse.

I predict that all of a sudden one day, the real role & stories of nurses will become "hot". (It's way overdue :)


32 Posts

Specializes in ED. Has 2+ years experience.

I'm curious by what they mean by "at risk?"

How much is the e-book?



12 Posts

It's $7 for the e-book, you can buy it at the link in my OP if you're interested!

Their point, as I understand it so far, is that we are all at risk ("all" as in the general population) because by failing to give nursing the proper respect it deserves; we risk having hospitals continue to cut nursing positions that are actually needed and therefore any patient is at risk. The chat about the media misrepresenting nursing (i.e. having physicians with such a prevalence at the bedside, i.e. being "physician nurses", on shows like Grey's Anatomy and House) which does no favor for the general public's knowledge of what nurses really do.


131 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, Med-Surg, Progressive Care. Has 5 years experience.

I'm only on page two or so (Kindle doesn't have pages per se), and I can tell that this is going to infuriate me. On the other hand, it's nice to know that the truth about nursing is out there, such as the immense responsibility associated with the profession and the academic rigor of nursing programs.

I decided to change my major to nursing on a whim, and while I sometimes second-guessed myself, it definitely pays off during those small moments where you feel human at the most spiritual level. Just a few days ago I had a patient who was in his fifties and not more than a few days from death from cancer, and I noticed that he was getting a bit scruffy in the face. I had a revelation that was almost like the scene in The Blues Brothers where Jake is bathed in holy light. I wondered to myself whether he was known to have facial hair, or if he was generally a clean-shaven fellow. According to one of his daughters, she'd never seen a hair on his face. So, I took care of it. Making a patient "look more like Dad" (daughter's words) doesn't require a prestigious degree or title (I work as an LNA alongside school), but it definitely is just as important as prescribing medication. You don't see things like this in the media. Nursing deserves as much prestige as the medical professions, and it really is terrible that we are seen as handmaidens (or manservants in my case).

I graduated second in my class from high school and serve in the military, and I can honestly say that A) Nursing school is hard, and B) Nursing is not an easy or 'girly' job. Nursing is 'manlier' than fixing fighter jets, in my opinion. Until the general population understands both of the things that I have mentioned, we will never get the respect that we rightfully deserve.

I'm going to keep an eye on this thread and keep reading this book.

Sorry for the off-topic ranting.