“Just a Nurse?!”

About two weeks ago, RNs across the country were horrified to hear the hosts of “The View” (ABC) skewer the monologue of Ms. Colorado in the Miss America talent portion of the competition. Ms. Colorado (Kelly Johnson, RN) a new grad, presented her excellent monologue about her experience with a specific patient and how it has enriched her perception of being a nurse. She wore scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck-standard attire for nurses across the country.

The View hosts, particularly Joy Behar and Michelle Collins criticized her monologue, made fun of her scrubs “is she wearing a costume?!” and suggested she was wearing “doctor’s“stethoscope. The outrage of the nursing community in the US was immediate and severe. Thousands of posts from offended and insulted RNs flooded social media sites and The View website. The View hosts attempted to apologize in their next show, and instead “threw gasoline on the fire” with their snarky and contemptuous comments. The most offensive comment was from Whoopi Goldberg, who suggested RNs offended were poor listeners, and The View did nothing inappropriate. I couldn’t disagree more!

These women get paid a lot of money to host this show and spend hours reviewing political and social issues to determine what gets discussed on the show. Unfortunately, not one host investigated the RN role before making their comments, appearing uneducated and defensive. Joy Behar even said “I wasn’t paying attention” to the monologue. Poor choice!

What is most stunning about the huge backlash for the show is the incredible affect it had generating support for nurses throughout the country. Big advertisers, such as Johnson and Johnson and Eggland (national campaigns) dropped their ads on The View. Doctors’ blogged, nurses posted to social media and nurse educators visited The View and other talk shows to discuss the profession of nursing.

Through it all, Ms. Johnson has maintained her professionalism and poise. I wish I could say the same for The View hosts. In spite of their poor group behavior, the hosts opened a dialog on the role of the professional RN that might not have come up otherwise. It is a chance to educate the public, motivate the US and healthcare communities to include RNs at the health policy, public health and decision-making tables. Most of all, The View’s huge blunder demonstrated that RNs in the US are far more than “just nurses!” They are the choreographers of healthcare, brokers of health resources, and a cornerstone of healthcare in this country.

Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner- MentorRN