Nurses' representation in health news media

In 1997, "The Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media: Health Care's Invisible Partner" documented the underrepresentation of nurses' voices in media coverage of health issues. Not only were nurses not included as sources on health stories in leading public and trade publications, they were seldom identified in photos that accompanied these stories. Researchers concluded that the nursing profession was essentially invisible to the media and, consequently, the public, and they recommended that more health-related stories should include information by and about nurses.

Twenty years later, are nurses better represented in health news? BMSG researchers, in collaboration with the George Washington University School of Nursing's Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement, replicated the 1997 Woodhull study to determine whether there has been an increase in nurses being used as sources in leading print media. We found that nurses remain invisible in health news media, despite their increasing levels of education, unique roles, and expertise.

Related resources

Journal article full text: The Woodhull study revisited: Nurses' representation in health news media 20 years later

News release: Researchers find no progress in media representation of nurses over last 20 years

Comic: Ask a nurse: The Woodhull 2 study

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