Dear Michelle, Joy, & View Crew,
Your response to Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, and her monologue at the Miss America Pageant were flippant, belittling, and at best, thoughtless. “She basically read her emails out loud.” Really….really? How would you know anything about the thought and time she put into picking just the right words? You wouldn’t have, so that comment was very inconsiderate. I’m pretty sure her patient Joe could not have written an email thank you for her to simply read. He is an advanced staged Alzheimer’s patient after all.
I first became aware of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYoCW1DQWQE when my dear cousin shared it with me late on Sunday night, and tagged me to be sure I remembered I wasn’t just a nurse. I watched it and was moved. That monologue made every nurse I know who saw it feel proud and want to stand up and shout, “YES!!!” So when you mocked her, you were downplaying nurses in general-- and our incredible work.
I understand you make a living commentating about what other human beings do, and you need to fill air time, so you talk. Sometimes what comes out of your mouth doesn’t come out right, or is simply a huge mistake. I understand that, and I think most people do.
Monday was simply you commenting casually and ignorantly (which we’ve all done and will likely do again). I saw the original comment and I cringed a bit (view the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNQW9l5_2y4). It’s not so much the words you said, but it was what those words suggested; Miss Colorado displayed a lame, thrown together, poor excuse for a talent.
What you said, or what you left us to infer is that nursing is NOT a talent. And that struck a chord with nurses and those who love them. I guess she should have worked on her baton twirling routine and done that instead, because getting an IV start on the first try for a patient who has self proclaimed “crappy veins” is nothing that can be displayed on stage. Neither can the loving touch, or comforting way a nurse goes about their job be shown for all to see. In fact, our audience is usually an audience of one.
If you wanted to debate the appropriateness of her presentation in the talent competition, you could have done that. Perhaps what you meant was that as much as you love nurses and respect what they do every day, it’s not a performance talent suited for the Miss America pageant. Instead you called it “hilarious.” So, you screwed up; we all do! I figured given the chance you would address it and make things right.
You took a crack at fixing it on your show Wednesdays, but I think you fell drastically short. I listened to your response about the flack you took for your comments, and I was hugely disappointed. You started out just fine, saying how you love and respect nurses, feel they are underpaid and urged our bosses to give us raises. What you didn’t say, however, spoke much louder than whatever fluffy praise you offered.
Not once did I hear anything that could have been construed as an apology, and I rewatched it a few times just to be sure I didn’t miss it. Instead, I heard defensive language explaining how this was all taken out of context to make it clear you did nothing wrong. You went so far as suggesting everyone who was upset by your comments simply didn’t listen well enough to what was said. I’m pretty sure I heard you loud and clear, and the context in which you spoke did not excuse your poor choice of words or your total lack of apology afterward. Might I suggest what you could have said to make this problem go away? Any variation of this would have gone a long way in helping you make amends:
“On Monday, we were commenting on the Miss America Pageant talent competition. In an effort to be funny and have something amusing to share with our audience, hurtful and careless comments were made about Miss Colorado and her monologue, ‘Just a Nurse.’ All we saw at that moment was a woman in scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck, when we are used to seeing women in lovely ball gowns singing opera, or playing a violin. Because it was different than the usual talent show entry, we made fun of someone, and something that deserved much, much more from us. After getting comments from very upset people, we actually took the time to hear the beautiful words of that monologue, and are so sorry we ever made light of it. You nurses out there are amazing and talented. We value you and the work that you do, and we give our deepest apologies. “
Seriously, I know this is not a life and death matter. Your comments will not change anything about our work, or how we feel about it. As nurses we will go on doing the best we can, saving as many lives as we can, making our patients as comfortable as we can, and caring about our patients as deeply as we can. All the while hoping after everything we’ve given there is something left of us at the end of our shift besides full bladders and sore feet.