What was Joy Behar thinking? If you are a nurse and you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve heard by now how the hosts of the daytime talk tv show, The View, put their collective feet in their mouths when they talked smack about nurses this week. The conversation revolved around the recent Miss American pageant where Miss Colorado flipped the script on the talent portion of the competition by showing up in scrubs and a stethoscope and talked about her experiences.
The offense? Hosts Joy Behar and Michelle Collins talked about the nurse wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope” and described her scrubs as a “costume.”
The response has been swift and sure. Within hours of the show, “Show Me Your Stethoscope” was born. A Facebook group that showcases profiles of thousands of nurses from around the world and from all specialties has already garnered over 600,000 members in days. The page is full of nurse selfies describing their days as well as physicians, CNA’s and other health care providers showing their support, and patients whose lives and those around them have been touched by one of the three million nurses in the United States.
Twitter wasn’t far behind, with #theview and #nursesunite trending worldwide. Behar felt the pressure and tweeted an apology, but it was vague and nobody bought it. As the pressure mounted, The View hosts issued an apology on the show, sort of, and it wasn’t well-received, either. As bad as the initial comments were, the resulting fumbling apologies didn’t help matters.
The American Nurses Association wasn’t happy and issued their own statement. “Each and every day, the nation’s 3.4 million registered nurses provide expert, high-quality and compassionate care, as well as dedicated leadership from the bedside to the boardroom,” reads a statement from ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano. “We are the frontline caregivers, 24 hours, 7 days a week, who are with individuals from birth, throughout their lifespan, and at the end of life. … That’s why it was disturbing when Joy Behar used her national platform and influence to mock Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson for wearing a ‘doctor’s stethoscope’ while performing a dramatic monologue about her experience as a registered nurse during the pageant’s talent competition, as if Johnson were wearing a costume.”
All major media outlets are covering the story – from CNN to Entertainment Tonight and TMZ. You know it’s bad when TMZ is quoting you.
Worse than that, three million nurses is a lot of people to make mad and the advertisers took notice. Eggland’s Best, Snuggle, and Johnson and Johnson have pulled advertising dollars and rumors are swirling that more are sure to come.
It’s going to take a PR genius to pull The View out of this quagmire, but a good place to start is to take a page out of Ellen DeGeneres’ playbook. She invited Miss Colorado to her daily talk show and (along with Shutterfly), gave her $10k for grad school. That’s classy. And good business.
And by the way, that stethoscope I wear doesn’t belong to any doctor- I earned it, and like the 3.4 million other nurses in the country, I use mine to save lives.