Funding: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. Financial support was received from The Atlantic Philanthropies to subscribe to a clipping service through the University-based Nursing Education in South Africa (UNEDSA) project.
Nursing Work Life Research
International Nurses Day and press coverage in South Africa
Article first published online: 10 APR 2014
© 2014 International Council of Nurses
International Nursing Review
Volume 61, Issue 2, pages 186–193, June 2014
How to Cite
van Zyl, G.S. and Christofides, N.J. (2014), International Nurses Day and press coverage in South Africa. International Nursing Review, 61: 186–193. doi: 10.1111/inr.12101
Conflict of Interest: No conflict of interest has been declared by the author(s).
Ethical approval: An ethical waiver was issued by the Health Research Ethics Committee of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, as this study did not involve humans or human records. The articles included in this study are available in the public domain.
- Issue published online: 19 MAY 2014
- Article first published online: 10 APR 2014
- The Atlantic Philanthropies
- Content Analysis;
- International Nurses Day;
- Press Coverage;
- South Africa
In some countries, nursing's appeal as a profession is diminishing, partly due to poor press coverage and the media's portrayal of an over-loaded, poorly paid profession. The media is important for shaping public perceptions and raising policy issues. International Nurses Day gives nurses an opportunity to profile their critical contribution to quality health care.
To determine the influence of this commemorative day on press coverage about nursing by examining whether there was a difference in the proportion of South African press articles on nursing between January–April and May–June 2010.
A quantitative content analysis was conducted of all press articles mentioning ‘nursing’ or ‘nurse/s’ in the South African lay press from 1 January–31 June 2010. Articles were coded for theme, slant and prominence, and inter-coder reliability was assessed. Descriptive statistics with chi square or Fisher's exact tests were used to compare the two time periods.
We identified 242 articles in 95 publications. The month of May had almost double the press coverage of January. International Nurses Day articles were mainly positive, and appeared in May to June in weekly community publications rather than in daily national and regional newspapers. When they were excluded, most articles portrayed nursing negatively.
The 6-month period may not be representative of the entire year. Only the dominant topic was coded, which possibly influenced the analysis.
International Nurses Day positively influenced the extent and slant of press coverage. Efforts to sustain coverage beyond the event through strategic partnerships and media engagement should be strengthened.
Implications for nursing and health policy
The media's portrayal of nurses and nursing may influence the choice of nursing as a career. International Nurses Day is an opportunity to portray nursing positively. Media training may help nurses to advocate for their profession in the media.