A moment of ignorance and a lackluster apology

Earlier this week, the women of The View managed to offend millions of nurses worldwide. Their comments were offensive and hurtful. It showed a blatant disrespect for a profession that I am extremely proud to be a part of. You don’t become a nurse overnight. It takes years of preparation and a true heart for caring for others. It takes compassion, knowledge and a huge heaping of integrity which is why nurses are consistently chosen as the most ethical profession in the United States. 

When Kelley Johnson, Miss. Colorado, RN, chose to step on that stage wearing her nurse’s uniform and declare to the world that nursing is her talent, she did not do so lightly. She put a lot of thought into that decision and she did so proudly. You see, being a nurse is a talent. It takes a lot of skill, whether that be knowing how to accurately assess a patient, or more clinical skills such as how to place an NG tube so a patient may receive crucial medication and nutrition, or an abundance of critical thinking skills that enable a nurse to notice when a patient has gone into cardiac tamponade and encourage the surgeon to take them down to the OR immediately, or the skill to keep on smiling despite having just used our stethoscopes to listen to a patient’s final beat of their heart. We start our days and our nights by donning our scrubs, strapping on our comfortable shoes, wrapping our stethoscopes around our necks and mentally prepare ourselves to care for your loved ones for the next 12 hours or so. In a 12 hour shift, we go through a myriad of emotions as we celebrate our patients triumphs and secretly cry in the supply room over their failures. We walk over 10 miles a shift, assessing and reassessing, making decisions on what medications to give and keep you out of harms way. We call doctors and explain what we are seeing in our patients and make recommendations based on what we are seeing so we can keep our patients safe. We provide dignity and respect to those who have lost their sense of independence. We laugh with you, we cry with you, we pray for you and we care for each and every one of you. We are skilled at compartmentalizing our feelings. We are skilled at analyzing medications, double and triple checking and often finding errors that a physician and pharmacist may have missed. Need a bladder irrigated? No problem. Suspect a chest tube has an air leak? On it. Need someone to hold your hand and listen to you as you share your life stories so that you may be heard just one last time? It’s an honor. Nursing is our talent. To say it isn’t means that you, hosts of The View, truly don’t know what all it is that a nurse does or what it means to be a nurse. Nurses are known for being highly observant and being able to quickly and accurately determine what is being said so to say we misheard or did not understand you is just you further demeaning us. 

The View’s Mea Culpa To Nurses
So, here is where I think The View went wrong in their so called apology. 

This was not an apology. This was a deflection. When you apologize, you accept responsibility for your actions. To say you love nurses, adore nurses, respect us and then continue to deface and devalue us is not an apology nor does it fix things. You do not say to 3 million nurses, oh you misheard, if only you actually listened, if only you were paying attention… You own up to your mistakes, take accountability and say I’m sorry and learn. Nothing was learned here except they just lost millions of viewers. We heard you all loud and clear. You, the hosts of The View, don’t see nursing as a talent. We, however, respectfully disagree. I will continue to don my scrubs and stethoscope proudly. My talent is being a nurse and it just so happens to also be my career. A career I am honored to be a part of.

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