Nursing is my talent
Friday, September 18, 2015
During the talent portion of last weekend's Miss America pageant, Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, gave an emotional monologue describing her experience as a nurse. It was a beautiful delivery detailing her emotional experience with an Alzheimer's patient. She described what many nurses have the opportunity to experience everyday — to touch a life in need.
The nursing community was abuzz that a nurse was being showcased on national forum. The hashtag #nursingismytalent started trending on social media, and nurses were enjoying the spotlight. At least for a little while.
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Michelle Collins and Joy Behar of the daytime TV show The View, were doing their usual mockery and discussion of current hot topics when the story took a whole new turn. In discussing Johnson's monologue, they proceeded to demean her presentation by stating she was "reading her emails" followed by wondering why was she wearing a doctor's stethoscope.
Well, that was all it took to light the fire under the nursing community and create a new sense of solidarity among nurses — #NursesUnite.
The Internet erupted with nurses responding to what they felt were demeaning comments. Nurses started to explain that it was not a "doctor's stethoscope," but in fact the tool used by varied healthcare providers, including nurses. In response, Collins proceeded to sent out tweets such as, "I'm not taking an anti-nurse platform haha. Like everyone prescribe yourselves a Valium and let’s just all relax."
Sadly, the following morning, the hosts of The View proceeded to give an explanation about how they "love nurses," and Behar was "just confused" about why she was wearing that costume on stage. By then, clearly the damage had been done, and the insincere apology was not well received. Not only were nurses disappointed that a peer was the subject of ridicule, but advertising sponsors were starting to stand by them as well.
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Johnson and Johnson released a statement stating they "disagree with recent comments on daytime television about the nursing profession, and we have paused our advertising accordingly." In 2002, Johnson and Johnson launched the Campaign for Nursing's Future to show their commitment in meeting the predicted shortage of nursing in the United States.
By Thursday, Sept. 17, the momentum had reached unprecedented levels with a newly developed Facebook group "Show Me Your Stethescope," which featured more than 600,000 members proudly showing their stethoscopes in solidarity for the nursing profession. This continued pressure certainly contributed to a second advertiser — Eggland's Best — deciding to completely stop advertising during the TV show.
Although many feel the comments were made in jest, the remarks certainly continue to contribute to the train of thought that nurses are not independent healthcare providers.
In a statement, American Nurses Association President Pamela F. Cipriano noted that 3.4 million registered nurses provide high-quality and compassionate care, as well as dedicated leadership from the bedside to the board room. Therefore, when they are insulted and not recognized for all they do in healthcare, they should stand up and set the record straight.
"This is a great opportunity for those in the media to highlight the important, lifesaving role of nurses and to show them the respect they deserve," Cipriano wrote.
Truly, that is what it all comes down to, just a little respect.
Another popular daytime TV personality, Ellen Degeneres took a different approach. She had Johnson on her show Thursday and allowed her to discuss her heart and desire to share her talent of being a nurse. She went on to discuss how she felt compelled to share a glimpse into the greatness of nursing.
On Friday, Sept. 18, The View hosted a segment to essentially set the record straight. They interviewed two nurses from New York University and allowed them to discuss the role nurses have in healthcare along with the required education. The hosts, notably Michelle Collins, realized they clearly "didn't understand the challenges nurses face."
Nursing is far more than "just a job" for most. It truly is a mix of high knowledge, coupled with true compassion for those suffering and in need. Nurses work with patients from life to death and in all facets of healthcare. From caring for their patients in the hospital, to visiting them in their homes, to working in clinics providing education to patients, to caring for our soldiers in the combat fields, nurses are meeting human needs everywhere.
Have we forgotten the bravery just witnessed last year during the Ebola infection in Texas where nurses put their own lives on the line and a few did actually get sick? This is not an isolated incident. The risk and exposure in the workplace is like no other. Not only does a nurse have to fear a communicable disease, but also violence toward healthcare providers, which is on the rise.
As nurses unite as a collective front, the next question is this: What will we do with our new-found attention? Will nurses be able to truly come together in an unprecedented demonstration of unity?
Although this was an angry demonstration for disrespect, it certainly seems to be garnering the strength to make some significant changes in healthcare. It will be exciting to watch it all happen.
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