Comedian Joy Behar learned an important lesson over the last 24 hours.
DONT. MESS. WITH. NURSES.
The hashtag #NursesUnite took over social media after Behar made comments that made nurses across the world see red.
It all started when 22-year-old nurse Kelley Johnson, who was running as Miss Colorado in the Miss America pageant, performed a rather unusual, but amazing monologue in the talent portion of the competition.
Instead of singing, dancing, or playing an instrument, she walked on the stage, donning work scrubs and a stethoscope.
She performed a piece dedicated to being a nurse and a special experience she had with a life changing patient.
“Every Nurse has a patient that reminds them why they became a nurse in the first place” she started before describing Joe, Alzheimer’s patient who was suffering with his disease.
When he asked for help with things like changing medications, she said she’d often respond, “No Joe, I’m just a nurse.”
However, the nurse and her patient bonded on many other levels, from connecting over family to joking about her height.
She reminded him that he was more than a patient or a room member, but an important person, and in turn, he reminded her that she was more than a nurse, saying, “You have changed my life, because you cared about me.”
Miss Colorado’s performance struck a chord with the nation and went viral on the internet, bringing pride and joy to many nurses.
Eventually, the monologue made it to ABC’s daytime program The View, where talk show co-host Behar flippantly remarked that Miss Colorado looked like she was wearing a costume, and asked Seriously?!" with a perplexed look on her face, in response to Miss Colorado’s talent.
To make matters worse, she then asked, “Why does she have a doctor's stethoscope on?" as if to say, only doctors use these tools.
Another co-host Michelle Collins joked, comparing her talent to reading e-mails on a stage.
Not surprisingly, once nurses got a hold of this information, they defended Miss Colorado and the nursing profession like a fierce mama bear protecting her cubs.
“I was a nurse for 45 years. I healed YOUR children, helped you give birth, held your hand when your husband died, held your hand when your baby died, held your hand (and stopped your bleeding) when you had a miscarriage. I had to purchase my own stethoscope, my nurse's stethoscope! I will NEVER watch the View ever!!!! You are IGNORANT and I hope that when you need my help you will appreciate me and my peers,” said Youtube commenter Sheila Rudesill.
Nurse bloggers like Kateri took to their platforms to voice frustrations, but also took it as an opportunity to educate.
“I am a big believer that the first step in fixing ignorance is education. So allow me, for a moment, to educate you. The stethoscope is a medical device used to auscultate (that means listen to) the inner workings of your patient. (read; heart, lungs, and bowel),” Kateri wrote.
“Doctors do this when they examine their patient. So does the respiratory therapist. The Physician Assistant. The Nurse Practitioner. And the nurse.”
She also pointed out that if we consider who who uses stethoscopes more frequently on a daily basis, it should probably be called a “nurse’s stethoscope”. Can’t argue with you there Kateri.
Add angry nurses with a dose of internet revenge and you get hilarious, well-deserved memes.
Or how about this:
Or this one is a particular favorite:
Miss Colorado ended up placing second, but she will forever be a winner and a hero in our hearts.
As for Behar and the other snarky comments that were made by panelists on the view, they weren’t the first people to trivialize the importance of the nurse and all that we do, and they won’t be the last.
However, Behar and Collins provided us with an opportunity to prove the exact point Miss Colorado was trying to make-- we are more than the lowly help mate of the doctor.
We are more than those women and men who fluff your pillows and turn your bodies over to avoid bed sores.
We are educated and compassionate people that doctors depend on.
We have often times been the difference between life and death, and we still manage to lend an ear to family, friends and patients, all in a day’s work.
So, I guess what we’re really saying Miss Behar and Miss Collins, is thank you for your ignorance. Thank you for this opportunity to teach you what we’re about, and after this internet is done roasting you and the tongue lashing against your comments dies down, I’m sure you’ll never forget this most crucial lesson, which is treat nurses with the utmost respect.
They deserve it, and sooner or later, you or someone you know will need us.