A Nurse's Response to Joy Behar and 'The View'

Dear Ms. Behar,

I am a nurse, a proud member of a group you were so quick to denigrate this week on Monday's episode of The View. Since you clearly know so little about us, I wanted to help you understand the vital role that nurses play in healthcare. For anyone who has needed a nurse, the facts are clear.

It is a nurse who will be with you in moments of a medical crisis, a nurse who will guide you through the confusing maze of modern health care. It is a nurse who will remember to ask your name as she struggles to save your life. It is a nurse who will call a code, comfort a family and sit with a patient who has no one to visit. It is a nurse who will cradle a dying baby, soothe a mother's worries and tend to a child's cuts and bruises. It is a nurse anesthetist who will put you to sleep for surgery, an OR nurse who will watch over you in the OR and a PACU nurse who will gently wake you up. It is a nurse practitioner who will find the cause of that lingering cough, an ER nurse who will resuscitate your loved one and a clinic nurse who will teach you how to manage your diabetes. It is a nurse administrator who will see that your hospital runs smoothly, a risk management nurse who will explain the legal labyrinth to you and a nurse epidemiologist who will track the source of your infection. And at the end of your days, it is a hospice nurse who will remember that you still matter. It is now and always a nurse who will stay by your side, and comfort you when you need it most.

Today, nurse's specialties are as varied as the populations they serve, and regardless of their area of expertise, at the end of the day, nurses are indeed an impressive group. It is no surprise then that nurses are the group who most frequently top the most respected list in Gallup's annual poll on honesty and ethical standards.

I am a nurse. And, though I am also a novelist and a humanitarian aid worker, it is my nursing diploma that defines me. It is the work of which I am most proud.

And despite your attempt for a few laughs at someone else's expense, when you find yourself in need of a nurse -- she, or he, will be there to care for you with the special expertise that only a nurse can provide. And yes, Ms. Behar, she will have her own stethoscope.

Roberta Gately, RN