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poster "be a nurse"Four years out of the Connell School of Nursing, Connie-Lynn Krauza '98 (center) has become a spokesperson for her profession. If her face seems familiar, it is because Krauza was chosen by Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems to participate in a $20 million public affairs campaign aimed at attracting new nurses. Krauza has appeared in TV commercials aired during prime-time shows including The West Wing and the Super Bowl. Her image also appears on posters sent to 20,000 high schools, clinics, and hospitals nationwide and on Johnson & Johnson's discovernursing.com Web site.

Krauza is an intensive care nurse at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mt. Kisco, New York. She was chosen in a search by the ad agency DeVito Fitterman that was promoted among nurses at hospitals in the New York metropolitan area. Four hundred nurses applied. Krauza landed one of 21 spots.

The tryout, she says, "didn't feel like a Hollywood thing. It was more like an interview." At a casting agency in Manhattan, Krauza and a friend sat before a camera and answered questions from a director: Why did you choose nursing? What do you like about it? "What I probably relayed," says Krauza, "is that I love nursing, I love being able to take care of people. I'm an active person. I could not be in a cube in an office somewhere." The commercial followed the same format and was unscripted, save for four final words: "I am a nurse."

Krauza sees the need for more nurses, and she's had at least one sign that the ad campaign may eventually make a difference. Recently, she visited a kindergarten class, and when the teacher introduced her as the nurse in the commercial, she says, "the kids looked at me like I was a movie star."

--Gail Friedman

Krauza, above center, in a Johnson & Johnson poster.

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