As a nurse, I have to offer my sincere thanks to the folks at The View and the Miss America Pageant. I’m surprised as anyone to see myself offer those words, but it’s true. I’ve watched both shows very little and not by my choice at that. These two programs have never seemed worth my time or attention.
Fair enough, but how did I do go from ignoring them to publicly thanking them? It’s been such an interesting week! First, Miss Colorado offered a nice monolog about being a nurse, a rare gem in a desolate landscape. Second, folks on The View thoughtlessly made some clueless and superficial remarks, hardly unusual for them. In this case, though they disrespected Miss Colorado and all nurses. If they’re half as dumb as they made themselves sound, then it might be unfair to blame them for their words. My first response was not to care much. Dumb TV is dumb TV: no surprise there and easily avoided. Then I considered how rich a teachable moment it might be, and how potentially motivating to nurses, so I published a quick post: Miss Colorado Versus The View: She Matters. They Don’t.
The response was far greater than I expected. I’m still a teeny tiny player in blog land, but that post was my second most popular ever, and it was mostly just a collection of other people’s comments. Wow! So I figured, what next? This issue has fired nurses up and got us speaking out and standing up for ourselves in a way I find very encouraging. Hence my thanks. Clueless disrespect causes us little harm. In this case, we gained motivation and a public interest in learning more about nursing.
Back to what next: these opportunities usually don’t last long, so I did something a bit rash. Without getting much feedback first – no time! – I proposed a plan to generate some drama and draw even more attention to this issue in Flush the View: Here’s How. It was a goofy plan and not especially classy, but it was the best I could come up with in the little time I gave myself, and it seemed particularly suited to my target audience: producers and viewers of dumb TV news shows. I made the proposal partly to gauge the potential reaction, and partly to buy time during a very busy work week.
As I described in that post, my hope was to spark a campaign. One guy doing a dumb stunt has little if any impact: lots of people doing the same thing is a different matter entirely. I knew it would be controversial and displease some people. As it turns out, feedback from nurses, friends, and family has been overwhelmingly negative. I can’t say I’m surprised: I knew all along I was going far out on a limb. It’s hardly useful to upset and alienate nurses over a failed campaign that only gives The View a little bit more attention and a way to look like victims. It also occurred to me that in the crazy times we live in, there might be some legal implications to sending chocolate pudding in the mail posing as poop… In short, I’ve changed my mind, and that seems a good thing for all involved. Live and learn, right?
I’m short on ideas and time, so I’m sending a letter instead. Being responsible can be so boring! I sent it to ABC’s Feedback Page. I encourage you to do the same: it’s quick and easy. I plan to send it via snail mail as well, as snail mail generally has more impact. American Broadcast Company’s headquarters is located at Columbus Avenue and West 66th Street in New York City. Here’s mine:
“Regarding the negative comments made about Miss Colorado on The View and later apologies, I’m not angry about the disrespect the hosts offered all nurses. I’m curious. The hosts came across as clueless, superficial, remarkably uninformed, and frankly too dumb to take seriously. Is that appearance consistent with your desired corporate image? As a blogger and nurse, I’m interested in your plans after offering such weak content.”
I also found a frequently updated list of show sponsors. Depending their decision to drop the show or not, I sent all firms on the list one of two messages:
“I’m curious about your sponsorship of The View, in light of the disrespect the show has shown nurses recently. Many other firms have left the show already. Any news? #YouSupportUsWeSupportYou,” or
“Thanks for the respect you have shown nurses. #YouSupportUsWeSupportYou .”
You can find many interesting nurses discussing this and other topics at NurseUp.com.
I urge you to do the same. Let’s keep up the good work, show the world we deserve and expect respect, educate the public about our profession, and back each other up as needed, just like we did this week.