The comments made earlier this week on the View about the Miss America contestant, Kelley Johnson, continue to spur nurses to remark in social media. The hashtags #NursesUnite , #JustANurse and the Facebook page #NurssesShareYourStethescopes are swarming with spirit and support for nurse power.
As The Nurses’ Nurse, I have spent years promoting the power of nurses in society. I am so grateful to Kelley Johnson who competed in the talent section of the Miss America Contest as a nurse. She recited a story based on the poem, Just A Nurse. Her short speech, about being a nurse who gave dignity back to a man with Alzheimer’s disease was great.
Rather than appearing as just another female entertainer in a flowing gown and a push-up bra, Kelley dressed in scrubs and a stethoscope, to prove that the beauty of a woman should be judged from the inside out.
It took over 500 pages of my book, Labor Pains, to say what Kelley said in less than three minutes. Patients don’t cry out for the doctor to save them, they call for the nurse. It takes all the arts and sciences together at the bedside to give compassionate care. If that’s not a special talent I don’t know what is.
It is sad that the View, which should portray powerful women, presented themselves as a group of hens pecking at the integrity of a nurse for a few cackles. This type of catty behavior is at the core of what makes it so hard for nurses to break out of the social stereotyping that has portrayed us as sex objects who are incapable of being both feminine and smart.
Kelley Johnson may have taken third place in the Miss America contest but she will always be #1 with the nurses. Never underestimate the power of a nurse.