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Abstract

The informational quality of press news about community health nurses is a critical factor in gaining the required public support for the scarce resources needed to advance community health nursing practice. Using content analyses, 2,561 articles on community health nursing for the period 1978–1981 were coded for key message themes and compared with articles on other nursing subjects. Results reveal that although the subject of community health nursing comprised the largest share of all clinical nursing articles, they are (1) less visible in newspapers, (2) distributed unevenly per capita among the various states, and (3) written so as to communicate low-quality information. Analysis of annual trends shows that community health nursing articles, while expanding in absolute numbers, constitute a declining proportion of nursing articles overall, and that the quality of information in current press coverage is diminishing. It is recommended that community health nurses embark on a concerted campaign to improve the quality of information carried in newspapers about their clinical specialty.