Instead of Doing any Real Writing, I’m Going to Post Links Instead

Sort of screwing the pooch today, which means I’ve picked at about five different posts for your ongoing amusement, but got bored with all of them and finished none. Instead, some bits and pieces bouncing around my draft pile. Consider it my version of the clip episode.

1. The Truth About Nursing, a web site that monitors how the media portrays nursing, released its Best and Worst Media Portrayal of Nurses of the Decade.

Wanna guess, dear colleagues, which shows get it in the tender parts?

1. Grey’s Anatomy — created by Shonda Rhimes, ABC, 2005-2009.
This hugely popular drama pretended that nurses play no significant role in hospitals, as the heroic surgeons who dominated performed many critical tasks that nurses do in real life. But the show also included direct attacks on nursing, and presented nurses as bitter or fawning losers.

2. House — created by David Shore, Fox, 2004-2009.
This hit hospital show ignored nurses completely–except when it showed them as mute, anonymous lackeys to the smart physicians who provided all the important care, and when the brilliant Greg House attacked the nurses as annoying fools who were just there to clean up the mess.

3. Private Practice — created by Shonda Rhimes, ABC, 2007-2009.
The show began by mocking clueless nurse Dell Parker–who worked as a receptionist at an L.A. health practice–for his midwifery studies. Although Dell eventually appeared to become a nurse midwife, he showed little expertise compared to the brilliant physicians who dominated.

What’s even worse are the clearly clueless nurses who defend these shows being “entertaining” and that the “public really knows the difference.” Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

2.  The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario gets all cranky and upset about physician assistants:

TORONTO, January 21, 2010 – Members of the public will not be well served if the provincial government pursues a plan to allow physician assistants (PAs) to work in hospitals, family health teams, community health centres, and family physician offices.

The board of directors of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has unanimously endorsed a position statement, which raises serious questions about the level of education and regulatory oversight physician assistants have and how these could jeopardize patients.

The role was adopted by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2006. A number of pilot projects are currently underway in selected Ontario communities. Physician assistants are not regulated health professionals and can only work under the direct supervision of their assigned physician. They can conduct physical examinations, interpret test results, diagnose and treat illnesses, write prescriptions and assist during surgery.

Wendy Fucile, President of RNAO, says the association is alarmed about the inadequate educational requirements to become a physician assistant. “They only need two years in an undergraduate program to be admitted into a PA education program and their course of study doesn’t have to be in a scientific or health-care related field. The candidate could have studied history or engineering to be accepted.” Fucile also takes issue with the program itself saying the requirement to spend one year in the classroom and one year in a general clinical setting is insufficient.


RNAO’s Executive Director Doris Grinspun says if the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is interested in improving access to care and improving clinical outcomes in a cost-effective way, it should be educating and hiring more registered nurses and nurse practitioners instead of creating a new type of health-care worker that is unregulated. “Patients in Ontario can rely on the fact that RNs and NPs are highly educated, skilled professionals. That’s why nurses enjoy the highest level of trust among members of the public.”


Part of this is a territoriality issue. But the reason I find this annoying is that for 30 years or more the RNAO has been pushing for and focussed on the credentialization of nurse practitioners, who represent a tiny fraction of Ontario’s nurses. The rest of us, as far as expanding our scope of practice goes, have been failed by our leadership. Hence the perceived need for physician assistants.

3. Amid all the horror and tragedy in Haiti, spare a thought and a prayer, if you’re so inclined, for Yvonne Martin, a nurse on medical mission, who’s among the known Canadian dead:

The sons of an Ontario nurse who was killed in the Haiti earthquake hours after setting foot in the impoverished country say their mother was a generous person who just wanted to help others find their way.

Yvonne Martin was the first Canadian to be confirmed dead in the devastated region. Her body was found Wednesday, the day after the shelter she was staying in collapsed under the pressure of the tremor.

Luke and Terry Martin said their mother had a special affinity for Haiti. This was her fourth time in the country on a Christian mission.

“She was growing her love for Haiti, this was her retirement plan, to fundraise, learn Haitian Creole and go back,” Luke Martin told CTV’s Canada AM Friday in an interview from Kitchener, Ont.

Yvonne Martin, a resident of Elmira, Ont. travelled to Haiti with World Partners — the missions’ agency of the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli.


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  1. #1 by wilomis on Thursday 21 January 2010 - 1338

    You neglected to list Mercy… a particularly difficult show for me to watch… my wife puts it on TV just to torment the ethically and moral sensibility of my nature…

    • #2 by torontoemerg on Friday 22 January 2010 - 0932

      Your wife really doesn’t like you, does she? :)

  2. #3 by Maha on Thursday 21 January 2010 - 1424

    There was a scene in Grey’s Anatomy that made me stop watching the show completely, so livid I was with rage. One of the characters (George) after fucking up his exams tries to make ammends with the chief of surgery (and by extension the entire hospital) by monitoring a patient’s fluid balance all night. YEAH RIGHT that would ever happen in real life! More likely, some resident would storm up to the nursing station and demand an accurate fluid balance RIGHT NOW OR ELSE (always when I get 3 brand new patients). S/he usually gets something akin to “there’s about 700 in the foley, and the patient got 3 liters through their IV and check the NG output container and make your own calculations.

    I have to research more about PAs and thier roles but it seems that their role is a little redundant.

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