Respecting Registered Nurses

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First, I better hope that this head cold/flu that I have had all week does not land me in the hospital needing nursing care! Right now I think every nurse in the USA is mad at me. And guess what? I don't blame the nurses. How do I know that so many are mad at me? The hundreds of e-mails I am getting telling me that I am — in essence — an idiot. What is the evidence? I described a guest on last night's show as Terri Schiavo's nurse and she is not a registered nurse (search).

So please accept my apologies. It is a mistake and a big one. R.N.s deserve accuracy from me — nursing is a profession that is very demanding, underpaid and critical to our healthcare system. At the very least I owe it to them to get it right. To properly "punish" myself for my mistake, I have posted a bunch of the nurses' e-mails below.

While I am in the "correcting mood," I learned after the show of a second error. One of our guests who was at the Federal Courthouse Thursday night when a suspicious package was found, said on our air that everyone evacuated, including the federal judge who presided over the hearing. After the show was over I spoke with Tampa attorney Jeff Brown and he told me that the federal judge did not evacuate (I guess he was not worried about a possible bomb and no U.S. Marshall is going to order a federal judge around — even if it is an evacuation order because of a suspicious package.)

Instead he stayed in the courthouse after everyone left so that he could make his decision about Terri Schiavo (search). He obviously wanted to make as fast decision as possible because the clock is running out for Terri and even if he decided against her (which he did hours later,) he wanted to decide fast so that the Schindlers would have time to appeal his order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

By the way, being a judge is not a great job. Every decision generates a very disgruntled group of people — the people who don't agree with you. You can't please everyone and you necessarily displease some by any order. Plus, every decision you make is challenged in a higher court so it must feel like you don't do anything right some times! The sign of a good judge is one who is willing to stay late (like the federal judge in Terri's case) and make a decision quickly so that the losing party can quickly appeal him. If he were a lousy judge, he would take a few days to decide the matter, which, of course, would not give Terri's family a chance to appeal should the decision be against them.

E-mail No. 1 — the e-mails below are some of the nicer e-mail corrections I received about nurses:

Recently, you had an interview with a person who was introduced as Terri Schiavo's former "nurse." Later, it was stated that she is actually a CAN — Certified Nurse's Assistant. A CNA is a nurse's aide and does not have the education to make the kind of judgments regarding Terri's level of consciousness that you were trying to have her make. It is extraordinarily misleading to try to pawn her off to the public as licensed professional. Please correct this serious error the future.
CNA does not equal nurse.
Lori, R.N.
Orlando, FL

E-mail No. 2

Really respect Greta’s reporting. However, I hated hearing Terri Schiavo’s “nurse” on the news tonight. She in fact described herself as a medical assistant. In California it is actually illegal to call oneself a nurse unless one has an R.N. license. Unprofessional and immature presenters like this give a very bad image to professional nursing, which is already demeaned enough in our society. When nurses are used in the news, they should have at least a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nursing, and preferably higher education, preferably in a specialty, so as not to sound like bumbling idiots. Okay. I have had my say for today!
No love lost for FOX News!

E-mail No. 3

Greta, as a former neurology nurse I was really looking forward to hearing from a nurse who had taken care of Terri Schiavo. Imagine my disappointment when she was a CNA who claimed to be able to tell us Terri was "in a coma." I'd like to have seen someone point out that she is not qualified to make that judgment.
Broken Bow, OK

E-mail No. 4

Please do not ever make the mistake again of calling a nursing assistant — certified or not — a nurse. It is a gross insult to the thousands of men and women who have acquired years of specialized education to earn the title of "nurse." The woman you had on your show tonight is not well educated, nor is she even ethically aware enough to realize a nurse would not breach patient confidentiality and say the kinds of things she said about Terri's husband. (Aren't you concerned about encouraging slander?)
Granting someone like that the unearned title of "nurse" harms the entire profession. It causes the general public to disrespect nurses, and hurts recruitment efforts. We are having enough trouble recruiting fine men and women into the field without giving the impression that she is the image of a professional nurse. Please be more careful ... get the titles correct.

E-mail No. 5

Dear Greta,
The "nurse" you had on tonight commenting about Terri Schiavo's husband as being "mean" was a nursing assistant with a certificate (about a six-week course depending on what state). The subtitle mislabeled her as a nurse. She is not a nurse with a degree and a license. There is a big difference.
I enjoy your show and appreciate credible reporting. Please know that this "temporary" nursing assistant who had only worked intermittently with Terri Schiavo for 4 months did not appear credible and was a disgrace to registered nurses.
I will continue to watch your show. I'm telling you the above information because I want your show to succeed and I want you to continue your high level of reporting that is so respected compared to that of other TV stations (that grab anyone off the street because they have had something to do with the story that is being reported).
Keeley Harding, RN, MS, CPNP

E-mail No. 6

Dear Greta,
You had a guest on your show this evening (3/24/05) with a caption stating she was a "former nurse" of Terri Schiavo's. Please respect the profession of nursing by not calling a CNA (certified nursing assistant) a "nurse."
A CNA has significantly less medical training and education than the professional Registered Nurse. CNAs deserve respect for their hard work and dedication to their role in patient care, but should not be confused or represented as a "nurse." (Relating this to your professional world it would be like representing a law clerk as an attorney!)
I enjoy watching "On the Record" nightly and know that you will be sensitive to this detail.
Marilyn Franchini, RN, Med

E-mail No. 7

Please take the time to correctly identify the people you are interviewing. The woman you interviewed this evening is a "CNA" — certified nurse's aide. She is not a nurse. A nurse is an educated trained professional. A CNA is not: they are trained as aides to assist nurses in the physical care of patients, usually by the nursing home or long term care center which employs them. Furthermore; this woman broke many federal privacy laws in her remarks regarding her involvement in Terri's care. She broke patient confidentiality and said things she was not qualified nor authorized to speak about. Please don't harm the image/reputation of professional nurses by misrepresenting who is and is not a "nurse."
Longtime viewer,
R.N. — a "Nurse"

E-mail No. 8

Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo Terri Schiavo.
Why don't you people create a new channel called "Insignificant News" and feature her. I have no opinion about whether she should live or not ... all I want is my news back!
William Del Re

E-mail No. 9

Talk about being arrogant, where does Gov. Bush get off thinking that he is above the law? If not for his intervention prior to this date, Terri Schiavo would be resting in peace and most certainly be better off than she is right now. And, who suffers if the governor is successful, they go through a period of time and discover that they need to remove the feeding tube again? Certainly not the governor. This issue right now, is not about Terri Schiavo, it is about politics. Who has the power?
The courts have made the right decision. It’s not their place to intervene into the affairs of families. If they do, they abuse their powers.
The neurologist, William Cheshire of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, is a bioethicist who is also an active member in Christian organizations, including two whose leaders have spoken out against the tube's removal. Now here you have a doctor with an agenda all his own. He hasn’t done a thorough exam, so he has no basis for his view. He is taking sides due to his affiliation with a Christian organization, which has leaders that are also weighing in on this case. Once again you have a group with their own agenda and are not concerned with Terri Schiavo.
My heart goes out to the families. It’s a very hard decision to make, and it’s even harder to let go, but in the end that’s what you have to do.
Thanks so much for your show and incite.
John Sheehan
Winton, CA

E-mail No. 10

This case is a travesty, at best. Terri's husband has admittedly been in an adulterous relationship with another woman for 10-plus years, which has produced 2 children out of wedlock. He gave up any right to make decisions for Terri when he became party to this adulterous relationship. The State of Florida should have appointed a guardian for Terri, or appointed her parents as her guardian a long time ago. A person who starves a dog to death is charged with animal cruelty. What will these people be charged with if/when Terri dies? Is she any less than a dog?
Donna H.
Virginia Beach, VA

E-mail No. 11

Just as another issue not being looked at ...Terri is in this predicament because she was bulimic, depriving her body of food and nutrients to remain thin and now she is dying of starvation. A lesson in be careful what you wish for, or even a call to all of us that our dangerous obsession with weight, looks and plastic surgery can end people up in the same position as Terri Schiavo ... the spiritual irony is alarming. Those working in the eating disorder and weight industries should head this call to say look at the risk here ... look at this woman ... she wanted to starve to be beautiful and now she is starving to death.
Melody Krell
Los Angeles, CA

E-mail No. 12

Once again I read the sampling on the Web site of e-mails sent to you concerning Terri Schiavo and once again, notice that they are all anti-Mike Schiavo and/or one-sided. I know you get e-mails of differing opinions. It is curious that you don't print these.
Brian B. Burpee
Community Specialist
WCI Communities

E-mail No. 13 — this e-mail is about our show two nights ago:

I was very upset with your show last night. You call that fair and balanced? Susan Estrich, David Boies and Larry Tribe?? It was like watching the three liberal amigos with no counterbalance. Greta, please get some conservatives on your show!
Dallas, TX

ANSWER: The lawyers we had on our show are law professors who teach Constitutional Law. They are scholars whether you like them or not or whether you object to any of their past employment. We had asked law professor Ken Starr, but he was unable to join us. The discussion was about LAW and not POLITICS. As an aside, David Boies seemed to think the Schindlers (parents of Terri) had important issues the Supreme Court should take. In other words, he agreed with the Schindler parents. Susan Estrich and Larry Tribe, who have spent years studying the U.S. Supreme Court, predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court would not take the case. Susan and Larry were right. Should we have booked guests who had no experience and thus more likely to have predicted wrong so that you would have bad information? Here is another interesting point: Had we had on our show three very conservative justices — Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas — they would have agreed with Susan and Larry since they obviously did not vote to take the case. Are they now "liberals?" Of course not. When we booked the show, we looked for guests who have studied the Supreme Court for years to give you the most comprehensive (and correct) background on the court and the law ... we were not looking for anyone's "position" on any issue. As it turned out, our guests correctly predicted the action of the Supreme Court.

E-mail No. 14 — this next e-mail presents a very serious problem. Any solutions?

Hi Greta,
As a former Wisconsinite, I was hoping this would catch your eye and you could help us get some national attention on this absurd proposal.
Under Wisconsin’s Statue 980, sexual predators (not offenders but PREDATORS) after they have served their criminal time, will be housed in a transitional facility to serve their civil commitment.
Governor Doyle has appointed a committee to recommend sites for a PERMANENT facility. The committee has narrowed the choice down to two sites and both are in RESIDENTIAL neighborhoods with little league fields, soccer fields, walking trails, school bus stops, and thousands of children — where else would a predator like to be?
As you know, by definition a sexual predator is MORE LIKELY TO RE-OFFEND than not. Citizens of my community have been accused of being members of the “not in my backyard gang” but frankly this type of facility does not belong in anyone’s backyard. Backyards are for swing sets, sandboxes, gardens and recreation — not for abutting a facility of this type. A permanent facility of this type would debilitate a community and the citizens presented an intelligent, rational case against placing a SPTF in ANY growing vibrant community, but we have not been heard. The recidivism rates are too great a liability for any community.
We are looking for national attention to address this issue since sex offenders and predators should NEVER be released to assault our children again. Please help us in our quest to stop this assault on our community — or any community in this country!
Sandy Maher-Johnson
Franklin, WI

Finally, on a different note, an e-mail from Laura Ingle at the Michael Jackson (search) trial:

Subject: Laura note

It's “CSI-porn” day here in Santa Maria today.

Yesterday, jurors and courtroom observers were visually blasted with dozens and dozens of X-rated magazine covers and photos cops found inside M.J.'s Neverland Ranch (see yesterday's Laura “Dirty Jackson” note). Today ... crime scene ID technicians are talking about how they process evidence. A couple of those X-rated magazine covers were shown again in court while one of them testified. The covers were in plastic with black fingerprint dust all over them. A secret service forensic scientist told jurors this morning how his department processes fingerprints, to give them an idea how this all works. Jurors look interested. I think the TV show "CSI" has made this more exciting for them, because usually this stuff is boring, but to see the fingerprint dust everywhere, and look at the evidence sealed up in big plastic and brown bags that crinkle when they move, makes you feel like you are right in the crime lab looking over their shoulders.

All of this is being done to show the teenage accusers fingerprints are on one of the X-rated mags, and so are Jackson's. Prosecutors contend Jackson used the magazine to help seduce the boy before he allegedly masturbated him. Mesereau says Jackson caught the boy once with the magazine and took it away from him, which explains the prints.

Inside court, several jurors had their hands up to their chins while looking at another round of naked ladies ... like "mmm" — almost looked like they were just trying to cut the distance between them and the image on the big screen. Katherine and Joe Jackson have stayed in their seats through all of the porn showing of evidence, watching page after page of what their son had in his house. One juror was wearing dark sunglasses in court today. M.J. looks like he's losing more weight. His red velvet armband around his suit coat looks messy because his coat is so big for him. He has watched the screen as well. Moving only to adjust his court issued back pillow for comfort.

Speaking of medical issues: his attorney Brian Oxman who collapsed yesterday and left in an ambulance is reportedly being kept in the hospital for observation. He has pneumonia in his right lung. His wife says he's resting comfortably.

"Majestic the Magnificent" — Jackson's personal magician — is not here today. He's been in court the last few days sitting with the family. No, he doesn't wear a cape or do tricks in court. And the British judge who was here visiting from the "Queen's Bench" is gone too.

So far, no fainting fans or collapsing attorneys, but the day is still young.

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