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Why I am not Surprised by Joy Behar's Ignorant Comments

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Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, post op, ICU. Has 4 years experience.

What did Joy Behar say about nurses?

Joy Behar of The View may have well-informed opinions on many topics, but her views on nursing are downright ignorant. It isn’t surprising that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about where nurses are concerned because most of the public doesn’t know, either.

Why I am not Surprised by Joy Behar's Ignorant Comments

In case you missed it, a "comedian" on the talk television show The View has some very misguided notions about what it takes to be a nurse. Joy Behar, long-time member of the all women panel on the social commentary show, made her ignorance about nurses very clear with some of the comments she made regarding the profession.

It all started with the very brave actions of Miss Colorado in the Miss America Pageant. The contestant appeared on the show during the talent section dressed in work scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. She explained how her talent was for nursing, helping people, and caring for others when they are at their worst.

Being fashionably feminist, Behar and the other women on the panel are against pageants, but that is an opinion for another site. She began mocking Miss Colorado saying that she was wearing a "doctor's stethoscope" and was dressed in a "nurse's costume." Her comments showed no respect for the profession and what we do on a day to day basis. The next day, after much public backlash, Behar "apologized" by saying that she was only making fun of the pageant and the comments against nurses were only jokes.

Nurses have been outraged all across the internet, and rightly so. In fact, a Facebook group called "Show Me Your Stethoscope" has over 600,000 members and hundreds of stethoscope selfies in just the few days since the comments.

Although Behar's comments are surprising, what is not is her ignorance. As a nurse, I am not surprised that someone in the spotlight knows very little of what nurses actually do. In fact, I was not aware of it until I put on those scrubs and slung a stethoscope around my neck. No one knows what it is like to be in those shoes, enduring the soaring rush of saving a life and the devastating blow of losing a patient.

Traditionally, nurses are seen as doctor's secretaries, and this fueled Behar's comments. Of course a nurse wouldn't need a stethoscope: she -- always a she -- would only need a clipboard to take notes for the doctor. It doesn't occur to the media or the public that nurses are just as involved in hard core medicine as doctors are. As I've always said, give me a nurse with 20 years experience over an intern any day.

I believe that this ignorance arises from how nurses are portrayed in the media. When the public thinks of nurses, they think of Florence Nightingale. Nursing has changed considerably since then! What other nurses can stand up as role models, though, that could inform the public of the very serious work done by nurses?

Take entertainment. Nurse Jackie, though well known among nurses, has a cult following. She isn't exactly a role model, either. Another nurse show that aired on TNT didn't earn enough ratings, even though it still didn't show nurses in their true light. Grey's Anatomy and House focused so much on the lives of the doctors that they never showed what nurses do.

And that's the problem. No one knows what nurses do because no one has shown them. What Behar said was deplorable, ignorant, misinformed, and uneducated, but not surprising. A media talking head would have no idea what goes on in the trenches of a nursing shift. How could they? No one has told them and no one has shown them.

More education is needed for the general public about what nurses do. We don't just pass pills. We don't just take orders from the doctor. We don't just wipe behinds. We listen to lung sounds. We assess if someone is dying. We make the call whether to call the doctor or not. We are at the bedside for eight to 12 hours, and we see more of the patient than the doctor ever will. We are the thin white line that exists to protect and serve the patients who need us.

Nursing skills matter.

Fire away at Behar and get the media's attention. Eradicate this ignorance, but don't be surprised. Don't think they should know better. Nurses are misrepresented in nearly every sphere. It just took one supposedly funny person's ignorant comments to cast light on that fact.

Lynda is a freelance medical writer with experience in telemetry, med-surg, and ICU.

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144 Comment(s)

bluegeegoo2, LPN

Specializes in LTC. Has 11 years experience.

Oh, I'm sorry! Did I miss anything? I was busy fetching the doctor's coffee. :rolleyes:

ixchel

Specializes in critical care.

Joy Behar came forward admitting she had no idea what she was seeing and went further to apologize on Twitter. She's eaten her humble pie. Her co-hosts are far more deserving of the scrutiny.

I do agree more public education is needed with regards to what nurses do, but at this point I'm inclined to think many people will turn a deaf ear.

ixchel

Specializes in critical care.

Michelle Collin's tweets were just in poor taste. If you love and respect nurses, don't contradict yourself on social media. I was in shock that she thought to post her real thoughts on the issue.

synaptic

Has 5 years experience.

First world problems

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

First world problems

I'm also over this expression.

MOST of the time. :)

icuRNmaggie, BSN, RN

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Your CEO, COO, CFO and maybe even your CNO, along with ancillary therapeutic, diagnostic and custodial staff more often than not, have no real understanding of the role responsibilities and workload of a Nurse.

Therefore I am not surprised either by the crass remarks, cheap shots and ridicule from these actors and comedians.

The one bright spot in all of this is the unified response in support of Kelly Johnson.

synaptic

Has 5 years experience.

First world probs when used sparingly. Is high effective and theraptuixxxxx

icuRNmaggie, BSN, RN

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

First world probs when used sparingly. Is high effective and theraptuixxxxx

I have to question the honesty of a person in healthcare who thinks that making a mockery of the Nursing profession is a trivial matter.

OrganizedChaos, LVN

Specializes in M/S, LTC, Corrections, PDN & drug rehab. Has 10 years experience.

First world probs when used sparingly. Is high effective and theraptuixxxxx

I can't take this seriously for all reasons bolded. Also it's just a ridiculous statement, once you get past the huge grammatical errors.

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

First world probs when used sparingly. Is high effective and theraptuixxxxx

For me: It's jumped the shark.

And while I'm not bunched up about the view being cancelled, or not, I am kind of bunched up that shows that pay women to smack down women are still around.

I may have auscultated a burrito with my doctors stethoscope.... Oopsies

Joy Behar is crass and under the impression that she is funny. But she is not and never has been!

She did apologize and I feel she has done her "penance".

But as an RN, BSN with 40+ years experience, I am livid that anyone would dumb-down another persons profession, ignorance or not. Which makes me-personally-feel she did. She and others like her see nurses as the physicians hand

maidens. Making rounds. Putting K-Y on an MD's gloved hand for a rectal exam. Standing when they walk in the room.

All of that '70's stuff we did when I FIRST went to nursing school. Now, physician's seek us out to see how their patients are. They are taught in med school to appreciate the nursing staff and to depend on nurses in the care of the patient...

StNeotser, ASN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

I posted this on the blue side but will post it here too. What goes around comes around :yes:

The View has lost major advertisers after the show's hosts sparked national outrage by mocking a nurse contestant on Miss America for wearing a stethoscope.

Johnson & Johnson and Eggland's Best announced they are cutting ties with the ABC program following accusations it had trivialized the role of nurses.

Read more: Johnson & Johnson pulls their ads from the View Over #NursesUnite Controversy | Daily Mail Online

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Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

Joy Behar is crass and under the impression that she is funny. But she is not and never has been!

She did apologize and I feel she has done her "penance".

But as an RN, BSN with 40+ years experience, I am livid that anyone would dumb-down another persons profession, ignorance or not. Which makes me-personally-feel she did. She and others like her see nurses as the physicians hand

maidens. Making rounds. Putting K-Y on an MD's gloved hand for a rectal exam. Standing when they walk in the room.

All of that '70's stuff we did when I FIRST went to nursing school. Now, physician's seek us out to see how their patients are. They are taught in med school to appreciate the nursing staff and to depend on nurses in the care of the patient...

About that K-Y comment... Seriously? Did you guys really do that?

My mom was a nurse and told me about giving up her seat for the docs.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

As long as the unwashed masses continue to watch television programs such as The View, it will remain on the air. Only a loss of ratings will prompt executives to cancel TV shows. But as long as millions of daytime viewers continue to tune in on a daily basis, the stupidity will continue for who knows how long.

In the end, cash rules everything around us. Ratings = Cash.

icuRNmaggie, BSN, RN

Specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU. Has 24 years experience.

Joy Behar is crass and under the impression that she is funny. But she is not and never has been!

She did apologize and I feel she has done her "penance".

But as an RN, BSN with 40+ years experience, I am livid that anyone would dumb-down another persons profession, ignorance or not. Which makes me-personally-feel she did. She and others like her see nurses as the physicians hand

maidens. Making rounds. Putting K-Y on an MD's gloved hand for a rectal exam. Standing when they walk in the room.

All of that '70's stuff we did when I FIRST went to nursing school. Now, physician's seek us out to see how their patients are. They are taught in med school to appreciate the nursing staff and to depend on nurses in the care of the patient...

Her comment about I'm used to seeing them in gowns and bathing suits was disingenuous. She knew the contestant was a nurse. She acknowledged that she didn't know what she was talking about,, but she never apologized. Her snarky comment "well you know we're at their mercy" was more disrespect. She looked very angry and not at all apologetic.