When I saw Kelley Johnson step up in scrubs to perform her monologue for the Miss America 2016 talent portion of the show, I was hopeful. A nurse, promoting nursing, giving visibility to our profession could only be good. I was wrong, and very disappointed.
Then I heard about The View ladies making jokes and comments further damaging the public’s image of nurses. We don’t deserve it, and are forced to defend our profession.
For those in the dark, let me enlighten you.
This is the video of Kelley Johnson’s monologue:
In 90 seconds, she manages to say “just a nurse” four times with the emphasis on “just”. A more appropriate statement in her monologue would be “I will discuss your treatment plan, and what’s not working for you, with your doctor in the morning ” or “I’ll discuss your medications with your care team and see what we can do to help you through this”. In her short monologue, she managed to devalue the contribution nurses make to patient care every day by repeating her mantra.
I’ve read that repeating or hearing a statement (affirmation, mantra, sales pitch, etc.) a few times can make you believe it or accept it subconsciously as fact. It is the premise behind those famous words from The Help. A great movie, but an even better book.
I am not “just a nurse”, and neither are my coworkers. Nurses are so much more. We need to educate the public about the nursing profession faster than the media can ruin it.
Also disturbing was Ms. Johnson’s epiphany that patients are not room numbers and diagnoses, but people first. This is Nursing 101 education. Learned, believed and practiced all through nursing school and ever after. The fact that it hit her well after college and after being allowed to care for Joe is mind boggling.
The View and Perception of Nurses
Joy Behar and her co-hosts poked fun at Kelley Johnson’s monologue on The View. In 30 seconds they managed to belittle Kelley Johnson and nurses everywhere by asking “Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope on?”.
First, it is not a “doctor’s” stethoscope. It is a “stethoscope” and many types of health care providers use them for many things. Respiratory therapists, emergency response personnel, nurses, etc. I take offense at her question. Every nurse has a stethoscope, and knows how to use it.
For instance, yesterday while the “news” was hitting the fan about this, I used my stethoscope more than 24 times. My patient was on a magnesium sulfate drip to prevent eclamptic seizures. This medication administration requires careful assessment for toxicity. Every hour I auscultated her lungs and used the bell end to elicit and assess deep tendon reflexes.
What I do with a Stethoscope
Some other things I can do with a stethoscope: listen to heart rates, heart sounds, determine normal and abnormal heart rhythm patterns, listen to breath sounds and assess normal and abnormal sounds, listen to bowel sounds, take a blood pressure, and listen for bruits. I can also plug my ears with it when Joy Behar speaks.
Some things I’d like to do with my stethoscope after watching Kelley and Joy: things not fit for print and social media, as I am a licensed professional nurse and must work to promote rather than denigrate or degrade the public perception of nurses.