Hot Under the Stethoscope

So last week, I was scanning through Facebook and saw a couple of my nurse friends had posted this clip from the Miss America pageant:

A couple of thoughts ran through my head, not necessarily in this order:
-It’s a little trite
-But it’s kind of cool to see nursing represented
-Though really, how exciting is it to be represented in the Miss America pageant, an institution that is about as relevant as buggy whips and “duck and cover” drills?

I probably clicked the “like” button on the posts I saw, and didn’t give it too much more thought. I felt like the sentiment at the heart of her mini-monologue was a reasonably good synopsis of nursing, though, again, a little trite. I have seen so many incredibly moving, honest and real descriptions and discussions of nursing that I didn’t find this clip especially compelling.

So I was surprised to see it pop up again at the beginning of this week. I was even more surprised to see a whole mess of hot bubbling anger brewing up over the apparent trashing of Miss Colorado, RN and evidently nurses as a whole by the yammermouths on The View, the morning talk show that is slightly more relevant than the Miss America pageant. From what I could tell, the women on The View, and Joy Behar in particular, said that nurses were not important, had no talent, and stole stethoscopes from their doctor bosses. Appalling!

A Facebook page titled “Ban The View” or some similarly outraged title had quickly popped up, and nurses were posting pictures of themselves in uniform, with their own stethoscopes, describing how exactly they used their stethoscopes to help them care for patients and save lives. Some of these were pretty funny, and some of them were stern and lecture-y. Then I started reading the comments.

Good, lord, these were some irate nurses who felt very strongly that Joy Behar is a stupid dirty whore who needs to pull her head of her dirty whore ass and shut her dirty whore mouth. And those were the restrained ones. Surely Ms. Behar’s comments must have been horrendous to provoke such righteous fury.

So, the only comment I heard clearly was the question, “Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope on?” A moronic question, to be sure, but hardly a level of insult that should cause anyone to swear a blood oath against her. There was also a muffled statement that I believe has been interpreted as ‘That’s not a real talent.” One could read that a couple of ways: first, one could assume that she’s talking about the monologue itself. There’s some justification for that take on it, as it’s a pretty uninspired delivery. Second, one could assume she’s talking about nursing. That is not justified, as it takes an enormous amount of talent to be a good nurse. The general consensus among the frothing masses of pissed-off nurses is that she meant the latter.

Her question about the stethoscope is ignorant and ridiculous, and there were some pretty entertaining responses, like from this doctor. Way to be a team player, doc! With regard to her other statement, if she truly meant that nursing isn’t a talent, then yes, that does deserve a response. But you know what kind of response doesn’t really prove that nurses are skilled and talented caregivers and professionals? Calling someone a stupid bitch in an enraged sputtering Facebook post riddled with spelling errors.

I dunno, it seems to me that nurses don’t really have to prove anything to anyone, other than maybe hospital administrators trying to cut staffing and payroll. We certainly don’t have to prove anything to Joy Behar and whoever else is on The View now. We are consistently chosen in public polls as the most trusted professionals. I have definitely heard people complain about individual nurses they’ve had, but when it comes to the things people say about nurses in general, I’ve never heard anything but incredibly high praise. Being a nurse has been a point of pride for me, and that pride is strong enough that I don’t need to get my knickers in a twist over two vaguely insulting and uninformed comments. Nurses, we are better than this.


Respond with that sharp sense of humor that you have honed to get you through your shift, respond with an internal eye roll and “idiot” muttered under your breath, respond with education, just like you do at work. You have enough opportunity on the job to raise your blood pressure into dangerous territory, don’t do it on the internet. We don’t have to get angry when someone says something stupid about nurses. Our work is valued by thousands of people every day, and someday, Joy Behar will value it too.


2 thoughts on “Hot Under the Stethoscope

  1. I agree the comments were harsh. As nurses we may care for thousands during our career. Our opptunity to make a difference as individuals is limited by where we practice, our scope of nursing and how many shifts we work. The view and other media venues reach millions every day. What an amazing opportunity to spread kindness, acceptance and respect for the people who put everything into helping people heal.
    Miss Colorado isn’t that old, she cannot have been practicing long, but she was gifted insight early by a patient who was reaching the end of his journey, and helped her to find the depth of possibilities in the years to come.

    • Andi, thanks for your comment. Although it does read that way, I’m not really trying to tell people how to feel about either Miss Colorado’s speech or the comments on The View. I don’t have particularly strong feelings on either, and although I wasn’t upset by the comments made by Joy Behar et al, it’s certainly not my place to tell people what should and shouldn’t upset them. However, I do have a problem with the tone of the response and I do feel it is out of proportion to what was said, particularly when it gets so ugly. The level of vitriol, along with the constant trolling for the latest source of outrage on the internet has contributed to an overall nastiness in our society, in my opinion, and its unfortunate that some nurses are choosing to represent their profession in this way. That is really what sparked this post for me.

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