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The Doctor Oz Apology: There Are Still Some Issues, Doctor

December 13th, 2010  |  The Blog

The Doctor Oz “Sexy nurses” skit on Oprah in November created a real furor, which still hasn’t gone away. Doctor Oz has since apologized and said that wasn’t the intent of the sketch. The uproar even made it to Bloomberg and the UK Daily Mail, which published the apology, which apparently wasn’t taken up by many US sites.

Doctor Oz, who’s a surgeon, has apologized for any offense, and in fairness, the skit does have a sort of “X minutes of weight loss issues looking good” approach, which if superficial, is pretty typical of the way these types of production are staged, live. This looks very much like a slightly scatterbrained, “When in doubt get a chorus line” approach to production. It’s almost standard.

The problem is that the nursing profession is in crisis, and the extremely high level of sensitivity to Doctor Oz in this context isn’t cosmetic. The image of the nursing profession is now becoming central to redefining and developing the actual nursing role. Nurses have been climbing the walls with various forms of denigration in terms of perceptions of their work.

The AMA has been patronizing and turf wars between doctors and nurse practitioners are now almost daily events. Some major league “thought leaders” in a survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that while nurses should take key roles in health care leadership, their media image was poor and counterproductive in terms of taking up those roles. That’s quite a euphemism for the facts, but it does describe the degrees of extreme difficulty for nurses in getting proper recognition in the media.

As a matter of fact, Doctor Oz could do some good by highlighting the various issues in nursing and getting these problems across to the public so they can be clearly understood. A bit of support from a well known surgeon who does know the situation could achieve the sort of media profile nurses need to get proper recognition.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt the health sector to have these huge problems front and center on major media, being handled by a medical professional. Nursing as a profession desperately needs to visibly upgrade itself in the media, and get out of the traditional image, which is so outdated it’s almost ridiculous, and definitely disrespectful.

Recognition of these critical problems could go a long way, and the public, for once, might get a true picture of nursing as it really is. Important issues like staffing, the availability of nursing training, and other big issues could get a workout.

If Doctor Oz and other medical pros in the media can get that done, the whole health care sector will be dancing in the streets.

Paul Wallis
About Paul Wallis

9 Responses to “The Doctor Oz Apology: There Are Still Some Issues, Doctor”

  • LPN said on December 17th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Clean up is very much called for and Dr. Oz would do good to give credit where it is due. This incident could actually take a very postive note and do the nursing profession good IF Doctor Oz and perhaps his media network step up to the plate and “recompnse”, not simply offer a verbal apology.

  • Paul Wallis said on December 17th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    The trouble is that the medical profession is a bit simple-minded about its presence in media. Dr. Oz could act as a catalyst for some real-world information getting through to the public on multiple levels.

  • Susan E. Nimmo said on December 27th, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Why should a doctor be responsible for highlighting the nursing professionals issues? That is one of the problems!!! Doctors are NOT the experts on nursing issues…nurses are the ones who know what the issues are and they are the ones that need to be invested in to help communicate…

  • Paul Wallis said on December 27th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    This is about marketing the image of the profession. Do you get someone people don’t know to introduce a subject that the public doesn’t understand?

  • jennifer said on January 2nd, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I disagree with the statement that the nursing profession is in crisis. The nursing profession, especially advanced practice nursing has never been so focused with clear long term vision.Physicians are not nursing experts. The same skit could be reversed with physicians portraying the role of ego centric providers out of touch with patients needs or the needs of the system.

  • Belgrade Glendenning said on February 14th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    To blame the AMA for turf battles is really low. Dr. Eugene Stead who created the first Physician Assistant degree program at Duke Universty never intended to create a rival profession but the greedy, power hungry insects at the helm of organized nursing refused to endorse a profession that reports to physicians.

  • Lisa Vale said on February 14th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    A certain segment of the nursing leadership is bent on driving physicians out of medicine. If a nurse wants to be called doctor by patients and open up a private practice why doesn’t she go to medical school?
    Nurses are the best at delivering babies, writing thesis papers, and in many other respects but the nursing establishment is DANGEROUS!

  • Edward Saint-Ivan said on February 14th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    A certain segment of the nursing leadership is bent on driving physicians out of medicine. If a nurse wants to be called doctor by patients and open up a private practice why doesn’t she go to medical school?
    Nurses are the best at delivering babies, writing thesis papers, and in many other respects but the nursing establishment is DANGEROUS!

  • Gibert Gelll said on December 11th, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    The DNP is bad for nurses too. They have to spend more years in school, take out larger loans, and get stuck with a watered down PhD.

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