Shepherd University nursing students proudly display their stethoscopes Wednesday on campus from the perspective of the patient.

The real ‘View’ on nurses

(THE PICKET) – During Sunday’s Miss America Pageant, Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, a registered nurse, dressed in scrubs, spoke about her career as a nurse. The following day, Johnson was mocked on ABC’s The View for her speech, outfit and her “doctor’s stethoscope.”

“There was a girl that wrote her own monologue and I was like turn the volume up, lets listen. She came out in a nurses uniform and basically read her emails out loud and shockingly did not win…I swear to god it was hilarious,” said Michelle Collins, co-anchor.

As if Collins’ statements weren’t disrespectful enough to a noble profession, co-anchor, Joy Behar said, “Why does she have a doctors stethoscope on?”

“As a nurse we are the first line. We listen to the patient’s heart, lungs, and abdomen. We recognize if there is a problem and we call the physician,” Shepherd University Professor of Nursing, Laura Clayton said. “We are the patients’ advocates.”

Collins and Behar and other co-anchors, let us take a real ‘View’ at nurses.

Nursing is the largest health care profession nationwide with 3.1 million registered nurses nationwide, according to The American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

“Students and graduates work in all areas of health care…(critical care units), medical-surgical units, pediatrics, mother/baby, the operating room,” Clayton said. “When you think of a hospital, almost every possible unit has nurses.”

Nursing delivers an extended array of health care services including primary and preventative care by advanced nurse practitioners, for example in pediatrics, family heath, women’s health and elder care. The nursing scope also includes nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists, as well as care in cardiac, oncology, neo-natal, neurological, obstetrics/gynecological nursing and other advance clinical specialties, according to eh AACN website.

The AACN reports that nurses out number physicians four to one.

Clayton said that Shepherd University graduates approximately 75 nurses per year.

“(Nurses) are the ones that pick up the problem and work in partnership with the physician,” Clayton said.

“The nurse is the one that watches the patient’s heart rate and breathing and calls the doctor,” Jennifer Foster said, an area emergency room and ICU nurse.

I have deep ties to the nursing profession and find the comments made by The View anchors incredibly ignorant and rude.

My brother, Chad, a registered nurse has worked in an intensive care unit, the emergency department and currently is a flight nurse. In every single one of these departments, he needs to use “his” stethoscope to assess his patients.

After the episode aired, social media ignited with comments back to the anchors.

Rueben Layton, a flight nurse, emergency room nurse and combat medic posted on Facebook, “Doctor’s stethoscope served in Bosnia, Iraq and on 780 patient flights. Maybe someday it will be called a nurses stethoscope.”

Layton served with the U.S. Army for nine years.

“Dear stethoscope: Thank you for helping me assess countless patients every shift I work! I know those 12-hour days are exhausting but we hang in there! Also, thank you for allowing countless physicians use you even though you are a NURSE stethoscope! Thank you for having my name engraved on my stethoscope, letting everyone know it belongs to a nurse,” Foster said on Facebook Wednesday.

“(Collins) definitely downgraded the nurse’s role in patient care, to watch them degrade our role in patient care,” Foster said.

What other profession can you go to work for 12-hours, get screamed at and then come home, take care of your family and act like nothing happened. Turn around and console a family after they lost their infant…how many people can do that, Foster said.

“I was frustrated with her comment, as nurses we are the first line. I watched Miss Colorado’s speech and I was super impressed. She talked about the caring aspect (of the profession)…that is what nursing is all about,” Clayton said.

For many years nurses have been ranked as the most trusted profession. Nurse’s work with the patients, the patient’s family and other health care professionals to assure the patient is receiving proper care, Clayton said.

“We get that because of being there for the patient and helping them understand what is going on and noticing changes (in the patient’s condition),” Clayton said. “The doctor walks in for a few seconds and then leaves.”

I experienced this first hand over the summer with the death of my grandmother.

The nursing staff in the intensive care unit where my grandmother was hospitalized, specifically the nurses taking care of my grandmother went above and beyond to assure that the physician was updated with any changes in her condition. Additionally, these nurses assured that my mother, an only child, was taken care of and comfortable.

Crissy Cessna, a nurse for 15 years and her mother, Kelly, a, ICU nurse for 40 years made themselves available 24/7 to talk to my family.

Crissy and Kelly went above and beyond to assure that my grandmother was comfortable, my family and extended family understood the current and future treatment plan.

I have had the pleasure of working beside some of the best, most intelligent, compassionate, caring, passionate nurses in the area. These nurses go to work on a daily basis working long hours, seeing dozens of patients, skipping breaks, standing on their feet for hours only to be cussed at, hit, and spit on by patients.

Johnson is just one of millions of nurses that leave work after their shift and return the next day.


Because they love what they do!

The next time the anchors of The View decide to make a mockery of a person or profession, maybe they should pick a person or profession that deserves it.

Behar, just to be clear, nurses and doctors are not the only professionals that use stethoscopes. Respiratory therapist, emergency medical technicians, paramedics also use them.

“Come follow a nurse for a day, ICU, critical care or ER and see the impact a nurse has on the lives of patients,” Foster said.

“We don’t do it for the money. We do it because we like taking care of patients. We miss Christmas’ and Thanksgiving to take care of other people,” Foster said. “Collins didn’t show much gratitude.”

Thank you to all the nurses that do what you do day in and day out.

Todd Bowman is a staff writer for The Picket. He can be reached at or on Twitter @todd_bowman87.


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