This is an open letter to the ladies on the daytime TV show, The View. Yesterday I caught a small snippet of their show and I have to say I was quite unimpressed with how they took something that I, and so many people are passionate about, and made it into a joke. So I do what I do best, and I wrote them a letter to tell them just exactly what I thought.
Normally I wouldn't let this bother me, but I can't not say anything. I am writing to you from the comfort of my bed, after working a full 12-hour night shift on no sleep, and I have only slept for about 3 hours today. And, I'll need to get up soon and go back to work. I am a Registered Nurse.
This morning the four of you decided it would be a good idea to talk about the Miss America Pageant, you know the one where women from across the country come and share their talents and get crowned for being beautiful and smart and talented, something along those lines? That's not my normal television because I truly don't have time to care about it. But I did catch an extremely inspiring monologue by Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado -- you know the one who came out in her -- and I quote Joy Behar -- "doctor's stethoscope"?
Now I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt because, maybe by the grace of God, none of the four of you or your families have ever had to have been hospitalized, but let me share something with you. A nurse wears a stethoscope too. Did you know, we are often the first ones to assess your family and our patients before the doctor does, using our very own stethoscopes? And did you also know, that many nurses have a four-year, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (it varies in some of the States, but up here in Canada, we have just one route to be a registered nurse & and one to be a licensed practical nurse - huge shout out to my LPN colleagues in both places). Don't get me wrong - a medical doctor (MD) is an MD, and they are a crucial team member, but what you've got wrong is that a nurse, is not 'just a nurse'. And had you listened to Kelley's monologue instead of calling it 'reading her emails', you might have caught her very important message.
I would like to direct this at Michelle Collins: Could you please tell me why you thought it was okay to belittle Kelley's monologue? The way you introduced the topic, "but then there was the girl who wrote her own monologue..." as if you couldn't believe she considered nursing a talent? Furthermore, I would like you to explain how being a nurse isn't a talent? You even said "she helps patients with Alzheimer's which I know is not funny" - whilst smiling and seemingly suppressing a laugh. You're right. It isn't funny. It's terrifying for both the patient and the family who has to go through it. And you know what else? It's a talent for a nurse to be able to calm someone who can't even remember their own birthday or their own family members' faces. It's a talent for a nurse to work on little sleep, long hours and hard labor to provide excellent and unwavering care for people who need them -- people who aren't their own family members, but you would often be none the wiser because nurses treat patients and families like one of their own. I could continue to share with you how many times I've single-handedly witnessed a nurse - yes, just a nurse, save a patient's life, without having time to notify the doctor (who isn't always present) until after the fact. Or how a team of nurses is the most indestructible machine on this earth, purely because we are strong, educated and wise women and men. I could even go into detail about how nurses can get a Master's Degree and become a Nurse Practitioner and go head-to-head with doctors. But I don't think I want to share specific details about the people who I've encountered: patients, families and other nurses, who've inspired me. I wouldn't want to share my emails with you, after all. If any of this is news to you, I would gladly encourage you to join me for a day of work. I'll even let you borrow my stethoscope.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure your job criticizing others' is quite difficult. To take intimate and heartfelt messages from someone who is clearly so passionate and make them into a joke couldn't be easy. But I am asking you this, Michelle, please think before you speak. Not only have you offended me, a proud Canadian Registered Nurse, but you have offended many other of my nursing colleagues across North America; who work endless hours, have many sleepless days and nights to provide excellent care to some of the sickest people, and have seen things that you probably could not even imagine.
I would like to think that you did not intentionally offend a group of the one of the most trusted professions in both the United States and Canada, but you did. And for that, you owe us an apology. That's all it will take - a simple "I'm sorry" and we will forgive you. Because that's what we do. We don't judge. We are compassionate, hard-working and forgiving people.
Do me a favor and check out the #NursesMatter and #NursingIsMyTalent hashtags on Twitter, educate yourself a little on what we do & then make your opinion.