A very unusual thing happened at the Miss America Pageant last Sunday evening. A contestant offered content that matters! It was Kelley Johnson – AKA Miss Colorado – who skipped the usual song and dance, instead briefly talking about her work as a nurse:
The deep thinkers on ABC’s The View found her choice baffling. I don’t watch it much, but this clip from the show shows that Joy Behar knows close to nothing about health care, it seems. She was able to identify a stethoscope, although she thinks only doctors use them. As I said, she knows close to nothing about health care. Michelle Collins, on the other hand, assumes that nurses’ emails consist of stories about patients. Apparently she’s never heard of HIPAA.
My first reaction was to thank my lucky stars I don’t waste my time listening to such clueless chatter on ABC. Then I thought about it a little. Most Americans get most of their information on TV, and that includes information about health care. It explains why Americans are so poorly informed, so often misinformed, and yet so confident in their knowledge. TV sets such low standards for itself that you can’t really blame folks who depend on it for news. It seems clear that the folks at The View fall squarely into that camp. Ignorance is bliss, right?
To help educate folks misled by The View, I’d like to offer five quick points:
1. Most folks don’t know much about nurses or health care in general. That’s fine, nobody knows everything, right?
2. For those who want to learn more, congratulations! Please take my advice: don’t rely on television. TV offers lots of inaccurate and misleading content.
3. If a doctor provides most of your care, clearly you’re a character on a TV show. Real people get most of their care from nurses, who also use most of the stethoscopes. Real doctors usually can’t use stethoscopes because they’re somewhere else. Stethoscopes don’t reach very far.
4. A “Doctor’s stethoscope” exists only on TV, specifically on The View. It seems possible that Joy Behar invented it. Everywhere else, they’re just stethoscopes. Lots of different professions use them.
5. Federal law (HIPAA) strictly protects patient privacy. Yes, nurses use email. Lots of people do. They don’t use them to discuss patients. Nor do they use them for monologs on TV. Michelle Collins on The View, however, might do so.
Here are some other people’s reactions so far:
- Nurse angry at ‘The View’ for bashing Miss America nurse contestant. It’s not Miss Colorado that’s angry, not in this article anyway. It’s nurse Hilary Helkenn: “It is a NURSE stethoscope too. I use it to listen to a child’s lungs, so I can quickly get them to the appropriate level of care, reassuring both child and parent. I also use it to listen to our elderly loved ones, who sometimes have aging hearts that go into abnormal rhythms. It is the NURSE that usually sees the patient first, and it is often the NURSE that notifies the doctor of what is going on. … Your comments denigrated our most noble profession. You owe all of the nurses of this world an apology.” Sadly, I get the feeling that the folks on the View have long ago gotten used to owing apologies basically all the time. Just a guess. This link also includes lots of other comments from Twitter.
- On Facebook, I found this great quick video link on nurse blogger Gail Ingram‘s timeline: Lawrence O’Donnell on the value of Nurses, based on his experience as a patient under their care. Here’s her comment: “I definitely feel that some education is in order. Unfortunately, Joy Behar is not alone in her confusion regarding nursing roles. Millennials and middle-aged adults (who haven’t been hospitalized) don’t know what nurses do. (The mission of my website is to change this by showcasing nurses as health experts.)” Her site is called NurseGail.com:
3. Nurse blogger Katie Duke started a hashtag campaign on Twitter using #NursesMatter , #MyTalentIsNursing , and #ProudNurse. I don’t know about you, but I plan to use all three. To the extent that people remain ignorant about nurses, it hurts both groups. Only informed patients are best able to take part in their care planning effectively. Nurses have long played the dominant role in patient education; physicians as a group offer far too little interest or time in patient education to meet patients’ needs. Patients unfamiliar with nurses’ role are at risk of care without informed consent.
4. The Coloradan has Miss Colorado’s back. They published this pic:
5. Kelley does have some supporters on ABC. At least one ABC affiliate in Colorado took The View to task and posted some viewer opinions. They weren’t kind:
I’m biased, of course, but on the whole, I’d say Kelley won this one. It’s not the first time The View has shown a lack of intelligence, class, and taste. In this case, though, at least they helped out nurses everywhere. Honestly, who in America wants to admit they agree with clueless Joy Behar and her silly “Doctor stethoscope?”
Thanks, Joy. With enemies like you, I think nursing will do just fine. Maybe you could work as a paid consultant, help fire us up!
Oh, by the way, Joy, you got an award. Here it is, courtesy of Joyce Harrell: