You Gotta Listen!

Unless you live under a rock, most people in the States (and probably elsewhere around the world) have heard about the controversy that arose after the women on the television show, The View, made disparaging comments about the nurse in the Miss America pageant. As her talent, Kelly Johnson gave a moving monologue about being a nurse caring for Joe, an Alzheimer’s patient. As she cared for him, she learned from him, mainly that she wasn’t “just” a nurse. When she told Joe that he was more than “just an Alzheimer’s patient,” he rebutted that she often referred to herself as “just a nurse.” He told her she was so much more.

The View panelist, Michelle Collins, commented on how Miss Colorado came out in her nurses’ uniform and basically read her emails. That was not the case. Apparently, Michelle Collins wasn’t LISTENING! Then Joy Behar piped up with a comment about the “doctors’ stethoscope” around her neck.  (paraphrase: “And what’s with the doctors’ stethoscope?”) The panelists seemed to be more focused on Kelly Johnson’s garb than her message.

Nurses across the nation (and the world) were outraged. Our colleagues showed nurses much support on Facebook and in blogs. Doctors, respiratory therapists, health care providers across the spectrum rooted for the nurses and said “Shame on you, Joy Behar and the View.” Many used humor to belittle the comments made by Joy, Michelle and their pals.

doctors stethoscope  Nurses stethoscope Nurses stetho Why TV show

The panelists on the View didn’t “get it.” They thought we didn’t “listen” to what was being said. The next day, all of the panel said, “You gotta listen. You gotta listen.” They said they meant that they were used to seeing Miss America contestants come out in bathing suits and revealing clothing, not baggy scrubs. As they continued their chant, “you gotta listen,” it struck me how they were not listening. The pot was calling the kettle black, and doing so very loudly.

I saw many positive aspects come out of this fiasco.

  1. Several humorous memes were produced, unleasing creativity by leaps and bounds!
  2. Nurses used the opportunity to educate the public.
  3. Other health care providers such as doctors, respiratory therapists and nurses’ aides (to mention a few) commented and lent support to our profession. RTs and nurses’ aides pointed out that, they too use “doctors’ stethoscopes.”
  4. Many of the 3 million nurses in this country united in their outrage.
  5. Face Book and bloggers saw increase “traffic” as people posted and “liked” many comments by nurses, about nurses and for nurses.

It is ironic to me that talk show hosts would accuse nurses of not listening. Listening is one of the most important things nurses do. Not just with “doctors’ stethoscopes” either! We listen to our patients and their concerns. We listen to our colleagues and collaborate to provide the care needed to our patients. We listen to each other when a patient dies or when support is needed. We listen when our colleagues need our help.

Listening is not thinking about what you are going to say in response to what the other person is saying. It’s the act of hearing what is being said so you can understand the other person better.


It seems in our society today, there is much more yelling going on than listening. When I look at the political arena, I see people yelling, not listening. When the television is on and a talk host or guest appears, they seem to yell a lot. (I don’t watch daytime television because of all the yelling going on. Plus, most of it is drivel, in my opinion.)

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” Bryant H. McGill

If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.” Robert Baden-Powell

I think what we need is more listening and less YELLING. Yelling only serves to drown out the beauty in this world. The rustle of the leaves as a breeze goes through. The water running over the rocks in a stream. The soft mew of a kitten. The tender voice of a grateful patient.

Listen and you will learn and enjoy many more things.IMG_3291


One thought on “You Gotta Listen!

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