Analysis: Nursing media thrive amid change

With the Government keen to see nurses take on tasks traditionally carried out by doctors, Ian Hall takes the pulse of Britain’s nursing media and asks how PROs can engage with the glut of specialist titles in the market

The flurry of changes to their profession in recent years means Britain’s 650,000 nurses and midwives have a growing choice of specialist media to keep them informed as the Government pushes them nearer the forefront of care.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) press officer Craig Turton describes the nursing media as ‘thriving’, with Government policies creating a market for titles such as Independent Nurse, a weekly just launched by PRWeek publisher Haymarket.

The most popular titles, straddling the profession, are Nursing Times and Nursing Standard, but there are also a plethora of niche journals.

Boosting disease awareness

Nurses are becoming supplementary prescribers able to alter dosage and frequency of medicines. So their media become an increasingly important conduit through which PROs can seek to boost awareness of best practice in treating conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

Primary care nurses are particularly important in decision-making about which drugs should be prescribed, with pharma PROs increasingly looking at ways of targeting them through their publications, says healthcare PRO Neil Kendle.

Kerry Holmes, the only full-time staffer on Reed Elsevier’s fortnightly Practice Nurse, says PROs are welcome to contact her with feature ideas that would interest Britain’s estimated 18,000 practice nurses, but adds: ‘A lot of PROs call with ideas only relevant to hospital nurses.’

Such mistargeting remains commonplace in this market. Liam Benison, editor of Practice Nursing, published by MA Healthcare, says: ‘We are not interested in drugs trials and products that aren’t yet licensed. We write about things that will actually change nurses’ role in primary care.’

Likewise, Independent Nurse clinical editor Monika Polak is keen to hear from PROs about ‘anything that affects how nurses manage patients’ in the primary arena, adding that PROs can facilitate contact with clinicians, lead investigators on clinical trials and researchers at conferences.

Heavily branded campaigns are likely to get short shrift across the nursing media, however.

And across this most specialist of media landscapes, woe betide the PRO who fails to tailor messages to exactly the right title.

Nursing Times

Editor Rachel Downey

Key contacts for PROs news editor Rebecca Norris, deputy news editor Jo Hartley, features editor Kathy Oxtoby, assistant features editor Vici Hoban

ABC 71,274

Who’s your typical reader?

Ambitious nurses across all grades and branches of nursing. We are popular with young and newly qualified nurses as well as policy makers and influencers.

What makes your magazine different from rivals?

We are a more accessible read, especially our clinical pages.

What do you want to hear about from PROs?

On the features side, we want to hear about nurses who are extending their practice; for example, nurses who are the first to carry out particular procedures, such as a cystoscopy [inspection of the bladder]. Also for our Careers News pages, PROs at employers such as NHS trusts and Bupa and educational institutes can contact us with stories on training, recruitment, retention initiatives, or staff moves.

With which comms people do you generally deal for news?

It’s primarily those at NHS trusts and we find them very varied. The better ones are often former journalists and have an understanding of how a weekly pressurised newsdesk works. Our first point of contact tends to be with nurses or directors of nursing. We are not pleased when we are blocked from talking to nurses directly. The best PROs are those who clear the way for us to speak to nurses directly.

Nursing Standard

Editor Jean Gray

Key contacts for PROs news editor Graham Scott, features editor Charlotte Alderman, special projects manager Laura Downes

ABC 69,764

Who reads Nursing Standard?

Nurses across a range of workplaces – it’s a diverse profession and they even work in places such as film studios. We have news and opinion at the front and then peer-review articles at the back of the magazine.

What makes your magazine different?

We think we have more of a rapport with our readers – we are more interactive. For example, we are running a competition to establish a figure to improve the image of nursing in association with Hit Entertainment, the firm behind Bob the Builder.

What can PROs offer you?

PROs should offer us nurses to talk to. We also like exclusivity and information as far in advance of, say, a launch as possible – our features editor is always interested in products that make a difference to people’s lives. Nurses are also keen to hear about patients’ views, so case studies on patient experiences are useful.

Can you give an example of a bad PR call?

When PROs follow up a press release and sound as though they are reading from a script. We publish a range of titles, such as Paediatric Nursing, so asking for the newsdesk where they may get put through to the same person each time is very annoying. That kind of blanket approach is useless.

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