Nurses Still Underrepresented as “Expert Sources”

New research conducted by the George Washington University School of Nursing’s Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement has found that nurses “continue to be underrepresented as sources in heath news stories despite their increasing levels of education and expertise.”

The study, which is a replication of the 1997 Woodhull Study on Nursing and the Media, identified nurses were listed as sources in only 2% of health news stories, a decline from the original Woodhull Study, which found representation of nurses “in less than 4% of health news stories.”

Though nurses are well-educated and intelligent, the study shows a bias exists. The researchers noted that participants indicated prejudices endure in terms of positions of authority, and that “rock-star doctors” are a preferred source. It was noted that this mindset stems from “newsroom cultures,” and some participants said they have had to defend using a nurse as a source in the past.

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