My Thank You to the Ladies of “The View,” from a Former Pageant Girl, AND a Nurse
A few days ago, the nursing community started a movement in response to certain remarks made by hosts of “The View.” I am a registered nurse, and a former pageant girl. I was offended by these comments. I am thankful for the support we have received in response to these comments as a nursing professional. I am even more thankful that there is a renewed sense of comradery and unity among our profession. As many have already said, education is the best remedy for ignorance. These comments were a good reminder that there is much to learn regarding the nursing profession, and the Miss America pageant system. I am most thankful that this is the start of a series of many dynamic changes that will be made to our healthcare system because we now, stand as one.
I have been an emergency room nurse for almost 7 years. I felt a calling. I decided to go into the profession after seeing all of the wonderful nursing care my grandmother received by nurses before she passed away. As an emergency room nurse, I have the opportunity to care for patients in their most vulnerable moments. I am honored and proud to work alongside exceptional nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals who take great pride in what they do. Some of my most difficult days are at work: seeing traumatic accidents, adults and children pass away, patients at their most psychotic and dangerous moments; yet I am fulfilled with what I do, because I know I can make a difference. The other day, with their permission, I had the opportunity to pray over a patient with family, as they were taking their last breath. For myself, and millions of others, nursing is not “just” a job, it’s a calling. Several years ago, I competed in the Miss America pageant system at the local level: Miss Covina. I was able to compete at the Miss California pageant several years ago, and although I didn’t make it far, today I still use what I learned from my participation years ago. The pageant experience endowed me with interview skills, public speaking skills, and lifelong friends.
Thank you to the hosts of “The View.” You see, as a nurse, I have never felt more part of a community than I do now. Inspired by comments (which nurses or pageant contestants didn’t appreciate) made by the hosts of this show, there has been a national “nursesunite” campaign where thousands of nurses have pulled together in a wonderful way. There is a “Show me Your Stethoscope” page on facebook that has received over 700,000 members within a few days. Nurses from all different departments, countries and states are now connected, and the sleeping giant has awoken. I’m thankful to “The View” because their comments inspired many people, including major corporations, Ellen, and people from all walks of life to rally in our defense. As nurses, we don’t perform our duties for thanks or accolades. We do it because we care. I have never felt more pride for my profession. I’m thankful to “The View” because the disrespectful comments started a movement. The nursing profession is now empowered to make great changes to our healthcare system. We are listening, and we are engaging. Miss Colorado demonstrated strength and character by defining her role and talent as a nurse. I also thank “The View,” because women should be encouraged to replace harsh and judgmental words with kind, and friendly words about one another.
It seems there is some confusion over whether nursing is a talent and why nurses are wearing doctor’s stethoscopes. All nurses are talented. Some of us care for children with cancer, for adults after they have open heart surgery, for recovering addicts, for people in life threatening situations. Regardless of one’s ethnicity, gender, religion, or age, we do not discriminate; we provide all our patients with compassionate care. Lots of talent, education, and skills are required for our jobs. As a group, we span over 100 different specialties. Some interesting facts that you may not know: Nurses are injured more than constructions workers. Nurses are assaulted more than prison guards. Nurses report one of the highest rate of satisfaction with their profession. Nurses care for an average of 8 million Americans a day. Nurses comprise the largest percentage of the healthcare workforce. Carrying a stethoscope is not unique to doctors. Nurses are required to assess their patients, and a stethoscope is required to auscultate (listen) to different parts of the body such as the heart, lungs, and abdomen. In the emergency department, usually nurses are the first ones that have interactions with patients and can quickly assess the acuity of a patient by using their stethoscopes. Unfortunately for me, I am on my second stethoscope. The first stethoscope grew legs and ran off the unit several years ago.
Dismissive and unkind words were used to describe some of the talents of the Miss America contestants. In order to compete in Miss America scholarship pageant, these contestants have undergone hours and hours of practice, and have been successful at several different pageants (their local city and state pageants.) These young women are talented. Did you know that the talent portion is unique to the Miss America pageant? Most other pageants do not require a talent portion at all. It takes alot of courage to perform a monologue, an incredibly unique talent to the Miss America pageant. I applaud Miss Colorado. She delivered a touching monologue that many nurses, healthcare professionals, patients, and families resonated with. Miss Colorado is proud of her profession, and she is one of thousands of talented nurses. I hope that one day, if my 2 month old daughter ever decided to enter the Miss America pageant, that her talent, whatever it may be, would be received with kind and loving words. The Miss America pageant is about more than physical beauty. In every local city pageant, people volunteer their time so that these young women can have better interview and interpersonal skills, become better public speakers, become more worldly, and ultimately, more confident. My experience with Miss Covina involved dozens of local business owners that volunteered their time and services to empower these young women. The Miss America pageant also promotes volunteerism in their contestants by requiring a platform that they are encouraged to be involved with. The Miss America pageant also helps thousands of young women by providing scholarship money to the winners. I was able to pay for part of my community college with my winnings. Thank you to the Miss America scholarship pageant for all that you have done for your participants.
Finally, this is my call to action: let’s use this momentum to make positive changes to our healthcare. To anyone that may be reading this: fellow nurses, former patients, doctors, police officers, firefighters, affiliates of “The View,” or anyone else looking to make a difference in healthcare, please sign this petition. This petition seeks federal legislation for safe nurse to patient ratios, so that we, as nurses, can provide the safest, highest quality care to our patients. In many states, there are no laws regulating how many sick patients a nurse may have. This is unsafe. This federal legislation directly effects you, your child, your mother, your sibling, or anyone else you know that may require nursing care. Please let this movement be the start of nursing solidarity. There are many other issues we can tackle together including legislation regarding workplace violence. This is where we start. Over 3 million nurses, together as one, united for a cause.
A Proud Nurse and Former Pageant Girl
P.S. I don’t take many selfies, especially in my uniform, but when I do, you bet I’m wearing my stethoscope!