ED's Letter

1 September 2013

Nurses and journalists – chalk and cheese?

It has been interesting for the past decade writing about one of the most trusted professions as a member of one of the least trusted.

Yet again in the recent Readers Digest poll, nurses came out as New Zealand’s fourth most trusted profession (just pipped by paramedics, firefighters, and rescue volunteers) while journalists came 43rd (falling between airport baggage handlers and real estate agents).

I guess that just as not all journalists are unethical, scandal-mongering, sensationalists, nor are all nurses saintly, ministering angels. These stereotypes do neither profession any favours!

I also suspect that journalists and nurses have more in common than their poles-apart reputations would lead you to believe. Most of us are smart, hardworking, and came into our professions with a belief in serving the public good. Both workforces sometimes struggle to hold onto those ideals under tight budgetary constraints.

From my experience, nurses are also often good storytellers, and in this edition, we explore the use of storytelling in nurse education and have some nurses tell their own stories of their unique career paths.

Nurses are also not all immune from the temptation of gossip … we have an article from a nurse-turned-lawyer on patient privacy breaches following the recent infamous “eel” x-ray and Jessie Ryder cases.

And one of the areas I believe journalism as a profession has much to learn from nursing is the necessity to meet ongoing competency and professional development requirements. Jocelyn Peach looks back 25 years to the origins of the professional development recognition programmes (PDRPs) and what helped spur this very important work.