Unless you live in a cave, or maybe in a Tiny House off the grid, which I’m guessing you don’t since you’re reading a blog, you’ve heard the uproar caused by the women on The View mocking Miss Colorado – and hence the entire nursing profession – for wearing her nursing “costume” and a “doctor’s stethoscope” and giving a monologue about her experiences as her talent. Although I’m not a nurse myself, one of my best friends is, my neighbor is, my aunt is, my daughter-in-law’s sister is. And many others I know are. And so I joined my voice with those who were pretty outraged by those comments.
But I’m rethinking my position.
Now, Pam, and Becky, and Aunt Sonja, and Tricia, and Krystal, before you start throwing things at me, let me explain.
In one short week, nursing has been propelled from the background into the bright, bright spotlight. People are hearing story after story of how nurses change people’s lives. How nurses make unimaginably difficult news just a bit easier to bear. How nurses catch things that save lives. How nurses make frightened little kids smile in the midst of their terror. How nurses sit with the elderly during the last minutes of a lonely life. How nurses care for us, calm us, comfort us, and yes, fix us.
I’ve had a lot of experience with nurses over the course of my life. I was an accident prone kid who spent so much time in the ER that they knew me by name at St. Joseph’s. Same thing at St. Bernardine’s as a young adult because of asthma. My elder son was born 11 weeks early and all I can say about that is God bless the NICU nurses. God bless them. God. Bless. Them.
And then there were the nurses who took care of my mom in her last few years, when she faced one health issue after another. One hospitalization after another. One round of tests after another. Nurses at the many, many, many doctors’ offices who made sure she got in as quickly as possible because she didn’t have the strength to sit in the waiting room forever. Nurses at the hospitals who understood that cranky old women were really just frightened old women who needed someone to brush the hair out of their eyes, or give them a gentle pat, or just talk to them for a minute, amidst all their other duties. Nurses who never failed to stop in the hall and answer my questions, or get ice water when I asked even though that wasn’t in their job description.
But like so many people, I don’t think about nurses that much. I think about them when I need them. And I always hope I don’t need them. Now I’m thinking about them. I’m thinking about all the times in my life when they have been the most important people in my world. I’m thinking about all the hours they’ve spent taking care of me, of my children, of my husband, of my father, of my mother. I’m thinking about how they then went home and took care of their own families. And then did it all over again the next day. And I am so grateful to them, all over again, for the hearts that they have. And for that, I say hooray for the women on The View, for making me conscious again of these wonderful men and women who choose to be nurses.
I’m pretty sure the women on The View are probably not feeling contrite over their words – except maybe because they’ve lost a couple of sponsors. I’m just conjecturing here, but their callous non-apology that merely reinsulted nurses by implying that they didn’t have the wherewithal to understand The View’s sophisticated humor, or else they just weren’t listening indicates to me that those women are probably sitting around rolling their eyes and wondering what all this fuss is about.
You know what? They’re the ones who don’t understand. They’re the ones who aren’t listening.
I’ve read some posts on social media that said things like, “What’s going to happen when Joy Behar finds herself in need of a nurse?”
Here’s what’s going to happen: A nurse will be there, and will take good care of her, and will brush the hair out of her eyes, and will give her comfort.
Because that’s what nurses do. See, nurses are bigger people than, say, talk show hosts.