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Sharon Stone on the cover of ''Palm Springs Life''

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Sharon Stone has touched off another controversy, but this one has less to do with R-rated scenes than with the Rx scene. The nurses of Palm Springs, Calif., are fevered over a local magazine featuring Stone as a scantily clad nurse on its cover.

To highlight a section on medical issues, Palm Springs Life ran the photo of Stone — taken in 1991, before she became a superstar — in its July issue. ”It’s demeaning and does nothing for the nursing profession,” says Jo Anne Schader, director of nursing operations at Desert Hospital, one of three major medical centers in the area (nursing population: 1,000). The nurses have been calling and writing to the magazine to voice their displeasure. While Stone herself won’t comment, she’s as distressed as the nurses. ”Sharon’s sister is a nurse, so she has very high regard for the profession,” says a Stone spokeswoman. ”She would never poke fun at (nurses) in any way.” The actress was not consulted about using the photo, which is owned by an agency and was taken to parody her murderous character in last year’s Basic Instinct.

Meantime, the cover has given the magazine a real shot in the arm: Newsstand sales of the offending issue are 25 to 30 percent higher than normal.

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