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DiversityNursing Blog

TV Anchor Shares Personal News In Heartbreaking Broadcast: 'I have ALS'

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Feb 02, 2015 @ 11:55 AM

By Chris Serico

larry stogner resized 600

Larry Stogner, a retiring news anchor for an ABC affiliate in North Carolina, stunned viewers on Friday when he revealed he has ALS.

"For nearly four decades, I have met you right here, usually at 6," the WTVD anchor said during a Jan. 23 broadcast, as a slideshow of his life and career appeared on a screen behind him. "Boy, we've seen a lot of change over those years, but we have to stop meeting this way. I am sure that in recent months, you've noticed a change in my voice; my speech, slower. Many of you were kind enough to email me ideas about what it might be, or just to show concern, and I truly appreciate that. As it turns out, I have ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease."

Stogner added that, last summer, he'd participated in an Ice Bucket Challenge video to help raise awareness and money for the cause. "Little did I know, it was about to change my life," he said. "There is no cure. My career in broadcast journalism is coming to an end."

Married with six children, Stogner joined WTVD in 1976. In addition to conducting one-on-one interviews with Barack Obama, John McCain and other prominent political figures, the Air Force veteran reported live from Raleigh-Durham and beyond — including a 2002 assignment in Afghanistan, according to his ABC11 bio.

In the final minute of the broadcast, Stogner called his WTVD position "the best job in the world," and shared plans to take two weeks of vacation with his wife before returning in early February to share "a few final thoughts and a more personal goodbye."

Flanked by four of his WTVD colleagues, he concluded, "And now more than ever, I say to you, for all those 39 years: Thanks for the company. Have a good night."


Topics: news, Awareness, health, healthcare, disease, medicine, treatment, cure, ALS, ice bucket challenge, TV, cause

With 'Tale of Two Cities,' ABC's 'NY Med' Paints Portrait of U.S. Health Care

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 @ 12:12 PM

By Alan Neuhauser

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They’re just 12 miles and two train stops away, yet NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and University Hospital, Newark, exist in “two different worlds,” says Terence Wrong, executive producer of ABC’s  "NY Med."

The show, an eight-episode mini-series, returns Thursday night. In previous seasons it featured one or two top-tier hospitals – Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2000 and 2008, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s and Mass General hospitals in 2010 and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the city's Lutheran Medical Center in 2012. This year, however, it's turning its HD lenses on a premier hospital in one of the wealthiest zip codes in the world along with one that, while well-regarded, is located in a city that’s had nearly 7,000 shootings in the past decade alone. 

The decision to examine the disparity is, in part, dramatic. “You really want to change tempos and speeds on the audience to have an alchemy in the show,” Wrong tells U.S. News.

Yet there’s a far larger idea at work, too.

“It is a tale of two cities,” he says. “The mainstream audience hasn’t really had life in the inner-city thrust in their face since 'The Wire' on HBO. Rather than demonize that world – because it is violent, people do have problems that they don’t necessarily have in Manhattan – what comes through to us is the extraordinary humanity of the patients we meet there and the way they bond and the way the nurses and doctors bond with them.”

The show, he insists, isn’t a typical medical or hospital show, with gratuitous gore or doctors hooking up or an unrelenting stream of life-and-death situations.

Produced through ABC’s news division, "NY Med" captures individual human dramas, Wrong explains, allowing it to paint an intimate and illuminating portrait of modern American health care. Issues range from the practical – “Who’s bearing the costs when a disadvantaged community uses the ER for primary care?" Wrong offers. "Does that impact the hospital’s bottom line?” – to the profound: “the individual will to live, connections and bonds between families and people and strangers,” he describes.

The first episode opens with a woman with a sunburn being rushed to a hospital by ambulance; – viewers soon see that the skin on her legs has bubbled to at least the size of tennis balls. The cameras cut to another patient, a man in the cardiac unit whose aorta begins to rip just as he’s being visited by cardiologist and TV star Dr. Mehmet Oz. Also on the same episode: a teen who was shot multiple times in Newark, a new female urologist helping insert a penile implant in a 73-year-old man, and a married father of three who’s about to have surgery for a tumor on his spine – and who has yet to tell his wife about it.

“Here’s a guy who doesn’t tell his wife that he’s got this life-threatening disease and they kind of capture that intimate moment where she gets through it,” says Dr. Philip Stieg, chief of neurosurgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, who performs the operation. “Those are things that we as physicians, we have to deal with and help that family get through that.”

And throughout it all, the cameras keep rolling on these real-life patients, doctors and nurses.

Stieg, who says he was at first “skeptical” about participating in "NY Med," says he ultimately chose to take part because “neurosurgery has a story to tell.” 

“There’s hundreds of thousands of neurosurgical procedures, and I’m hopeful that this small little vignette helps people understand that no matter how serious and critical the procedure may be, we have the technology to get you through that process,” he tells U.S. News. “That’s important for people to see. Let’s face it, at some point, all of us are going to be hospital patients.”

And that means the program doesn't merely show the drama of a complicated surgery or a patient fighting for his or her life, but the drama behind the drama: the new urologist struggling to set boundaries with her patients, a nurse struggling with her employers, and even doctors and nurses making mistakes during procedures. “Warts and all,” Wrong says.

“The cost of letting people see quality medical care is that, yeah, there will be warts and blemishes, because this is life,” he adds. 

And that, in and of itself, has value.

“We do feel good that we can show the doctors and the nurses this way, and still so nobly,” supervising producer Erica Baumgart says. “One of the things that we sometimes hear from patients is that they want to participate in filming because it could help other people who have similar conditions get through what they can get through.”



Topics: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, University Hospital, Newark, filming, TV

TV may reinforce stereotypes about men in nursing

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Sep 25, 2013 @ 10:49 AM

By Rob Goodier

(Reuters Health) - Fictional male nurses on television are sidelined in supporting roles, portrayed as the butt of jokes and cast as commentary providers or minority representatives, all of which makes it harder in reality to recruit men to nursing and retain them, according to a new study.

"People don't make decisions about which profession to choose just based on television, but students have told us that popular TV shows can help them choose a career, or that TV perpetuates negative stereotypes about nursing that they then have to address in practice," said Dr. Roslyn Weaver, an adjunct fellow at the University of Western Sydney School of Nursing and Midwifery, who led the research.

"So when men in nursing are almost invisible in popular culture or are stereotyped as incompetent or somehow ‘unmasculine', then men who choose to enter nursing can find it difficult to combat this," Weaver told Reuters Health by email. "Perhaps reflecting this, there are often higher attrition rates for male students than female students in nursing."

In the United States men account for roughly 9 percent of nurses, according to the census bureau. And that figure is similar in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Past research has documented "stereotypical images around nursing, such as the battle-axe, naughty nurse and handmaiden," Weaver and her colleagues write in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

With a growing number of men entering the profession, the authors point out, it's just asdescribe the image important to examine how male nurses are portrayed in popular culture.

For their study, the researchers viewed one season of each of five American medical television dramas, including Grey's Anatomy, Hawthorne, Mercy, Nurse Jackie and Private Practice. They evaluated aspects of the episodes such as dialogue, costumes, casting, cinematography and editing to compile a perspective on the ways that male nurses are characterized.

To their credit, the shows tended to expose and reject stereotypes. But, in a contradictory
trend, they also reinforced the clichés by characterizing male nurses as men who are not traditionally masculine, the researchers found.

Common stereotypes that the shows reinforced include the nurse who is mistaken for a doctor and the gay or emasculated male nurse. Male nurses and midwives in the shows tend to suffer condescension from their colleagues and patients and are the object of comedy.

The male nurse characters also tend to hit multiple diversity targets in casting. The researchers coined the term "minority loading" to denote characters who represent more than one minority group, such as Angel Garcia on Mercy, a gay Hispanic male nurse, and Mo-Mo on Nurse Jackie, a gay Muslim male nurse.

The results were "pretty consistent" with a prior study of male nurses in film that Dr. David Stanley, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Western Australia, published in 2012.

"Apart from 'Nurse Jackie' the medical programs used in the analysis reflected programs aimed at a medically focused perspective of health where nursing is seen lower in relative status and where male nurses are seen as lower still," said Stanley, who was not involved in the current study.

Some of the stereotypes may persist off screen. Male nurses can be regarded as lazy or more readily promoted, Stanley told Reuters Health, though generally they are accepted by patients and female nurses alike.

Being in the minority may put male nurses at a disadvantage, Weaver said. "This not only means men might be stereotyped but they can also be excluded from particular clinical specialties, face difficulties dealing with older female patients and be expected to do more ‘masculine' work such as heavier manual work."

Improving recruitment efforts could help, and fewer negative stereotypes in television programs might make a difference, the researchers say.

SOURCE: Journal of Advanced Nursing, online September 4, 2003.

Topics: male nurse, minority, TV, stereotype

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