by , Jan 13, 2010, 11:16 AM
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No, it's not the medical sitcom "Scrubs." And we're not talking "Nurse Jackie," a smart, caring ER pro who copes with a demanding job with a steady diet of Percocet and the occasional quickie with the hospital pharmacist. In fairness, if I needed medical attention, I'd want a kick-ass nurse like Jackie. I've seen, firsthand, the tough work they do. Stationed in the trenches of human suffering, the pressure is enormous. And if you've ever been in ICU, you know the debt they're owed. 

Paging Scrubs. It's not a clinical work; it's a lifestyle magazine and terrific Web site geared to the 3 million RNs in the U.S., who practice in a range of settings -- from hospitals to private homes, clinics to research labs. Nurses can also specialize -- pediatrics to acute care. They are highly skilled practitioners who make independent critical decisions about their patients' care. Whatever an individual's calling, Scrubs, which claims a print distribution of 350,000 and an active online community, keeps the tone upbeat, but realistic.

Features cover stress-reduction, food, even style. The new pub has all the hallmarks of a traditional women's magazine with less cloying sentimentality and more heart. It pays tribute to a noble profession whose practitioners suffer from chronic overload and nationwide shortages. And it's a reminder that nurses, like cops, are a subculture that face specific challenges.

The mag opens with "Vital Signs," which include quick hits of information, all personalized to its targeted audience. Guess what? Nurses walk between 3 and 3.4 miles per 10-hour shift, according to a Kaiser Permanente study. Guess what else? A new video game, "Hospital Hustle," has RN Sarah high-tailing it from the OR to outrunning malpractice suits. For kids, it's a fun way to learn what their parent does each day. (Just imagine the videogame for Pentagon progeny.)

As for the skin tips, who isn't sleep-deprived? Shu Uemura's concealer addresses those dark circles under the eyes, though the hair dying tip was DOA: "Should you splurge and go to a pro, consider semi-permanent hair color, which lasts about three months." Three months? Four weeks if you're lucky, and that's according to one of the top colorists in Manhattan. When I get a haircut and the only reading material is Allure, you make 'do.

However, I did pause at the shout-out to fictional nurses. I get the selection of Julianna Margulies' character in "ER" and Dana Delaney's in "China Beach." But Betty Sizemore, Renee Zellweger's "wacky" (read insane) role in "Nurse Betty"? Sure she's pretty and sweet, but the inability to distinguish real from fake isn't cute, it's terrifying. I give you the nonexistent WMDs.

One real-life nurse, among several profiled in the debut issue, is LaTrice Vaughn. She was Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong's nurse at Indiana University Medical Center during his cancer treatment. Armstrong writes a moving first-person account of her impact on his recovery; she even flew to Texas to celebrate his 10-year anniversary as a cancer survivor.

Vaughn's dedication is equaled by the nurses profiled in "Second Acts," people who changed professions: the Buddhist monk who works in a drug and alcohol treatment center; the Wall Street banker who prefers life in the med-surg unit; the successful TV writer who traded scripts for an allergy-immunology clinic. Nursing provides them a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment. Every career should have such tangible rewards.

Distribution targets the 1,500 nursing apparel stores and key nursing associations, since Scrubs readers are a specialized audience. The cut line -- "the nurse's guide to good living" -- says it all. And they deserve it.


Published by: Strategic Media Group

Frequency: Three times/year

Web site:

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