- Bill Wolff (Executive Producer, The View)Executive Producer, The View
- Barbara WaltersExecutive Producer, The View
"The View" -- Invite nurses to explain how they save lives with "doctor's stethoscopes"
On September 14, 2015, hosts from "The View" attacked Miss Colorado, RN Kelley Johnson, who gave a monologue about the value of nursing in the Miss America pageant. The monologue certainly could have given more specifics as to how nurses save lives, but we appreciate her attempts to highlight the value of nursing. (See Kelley Johnson's monologue.) In the middle of The View's take down of nurse Johnson, host Joy Behar asked indignantly: "Why is she wearing a doctor's stethoscope around her neck?" (See The View's film clip.) Ms. Behar apparently has never had a nurse listen to her chest for cardiac defects or electrical irregularities, or for a signs of congestive heart failure, subcutaneous emphysema or pneumothorax. Nor apparently has a nurse ever taken her vital signs with a stethoscope. Basically Ms. Behar was asking how Ms. Colorado had the effrontery to be doing physician work, because she does not know nurses do anything technical, important or life-saving. Ms. Behar and The View owe nurses a big apology and should make amends by inviting nurses on the show to explain exactly how nurses save lives with those "doctor's stethoscopes."
- Executive Producer, The View
Bill Wolff (Executive Producer, The View)
- Executive Producer, The View
Dear Ms. Behar and The View's Executive Producers:
I urge you to correct the inaccurate and damaging message you conveyed on the September 14 edition of The View in questioning a nurse's wearing of what you called a "doctor's stethoscope" while appearing in a beauty contest.
Nurses use stethoscopes every day, at least as much as physicians do, because nurses are autonomous college-educated health professionals who use their own distinct knowledge base and scope of practice to save lives. For example, nurses use stethoscopes to listen to their patients’ chests for cardiac defects, electrical irregularities or pulseless electrical activity, or for a signs of congestive heart failure, subcutaneous emphysema or a pneumothorax. These actions are part of nursing practice and they do not depend on physicians. There is no such thing as a "doctor's stethoscope." There are only stethoscopes. Anybody who has the duty to auscultate the human body has the obligation to own and use one. Nurses are the largest group of professionals with this obligation.
Your apparent assumption that only physicians use this key piece of health technology reflects a social and media environment that continues to rely on damaging stereotypes, especially that nurses are low-skilled physician subordinates who play no important role in modern health care. I know you don't see nurses use stethoscopes much on prime time television dramas, where they are more likely to appear as the passive minions of heroic physicians. This lack of understanding matters because it leads decision-makers to provide nursing with insufficient resources, as reflected in the deadly nurse understaffing that claims lives in both developing and developed nations.
Please correct your erroneous statement on the air as soon as possible and make amends to the nursing profession by inviting expert nurses on The View, such as American Academy of Nurses president Diana Mason, to explain what the profession really is and does -- and how nurses save lives with their stethoscopes. Thank you.
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