Authors

  1. Section Editor(s): Newland, Jamesetta PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP

Article Content

Nursing as a career choice received an unexpected burst of interest after the 2016 Miss America pageant in September. I happened to be channel surfing at the time and landed on the live broadcast of the pageant. I noticed that one of the finalists was wearing scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck so I decided to watch the talent performances. I was curious to see what she was going to do, not knowing that she was a real nurse.

  
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When called to center stage, Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, delivered a short and heartfelt monologue on what it meant to be a nurse. She used no theatrics and spoke simply and quietly. She noted that many nurses often use the phrase "just a nurse," but there is no such thing as "just a nurse." Her patient's response to the phrase confirmed the importance of nurses in patients' lives. Every nurse can identify with her story. If you missed it, you can view a recording of the entire monologue during a practice session before the actual event at:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nYoCW1DQWQE.

 

Response to criticism

Later, on the popular daytime show The View, two panelists mocked Ms. Johnson's monologue, her attire, and her "doctor's stethoscope", leading to a flood of protests on Twitter from nurses and supporters around the country, represented by the hashtag #NursesUnite. All forms of media picked up the story, national nursing organizations prepared statements in response to the comments on The View, and major advertisers pulled their ads from the show in support of nursing. When Ms. Johnson appeared on the TV show Ellen, she made this comment: "A lot of people told me not to do a monologue for talent. But, I am a nurse, and my talent is taking care of people and caring about other people," Johnson said. "I wanted to give the nurses that don't have that voice, that voice and recognition of somebody going up there and just being a little bit different and unique."1

 

We should commend Miss Colorado for having the courage to step out of the box and use a national platform to tell the world about her true talent: nursing. The unplanned public relations were great for nursing, and I am proud of my colleagues from New York University College of Nursing who appeared on The View to clarify nursing education and the "doctor's stethoscope" faux pas.

 

Spreading the word

NPs have been in celebration mode all year, and our special National Nurse Practitioner Week is this month (November 8 to 14) with the theme of "Celebrating 50 years of Nurse Practitioners." Suppose you have an opportunity to be interviewed about NPs and your work. What would you say? The American Association of Nurse Practitioners has prepared a resource guide for NP Week, which includes tips for a media interview.2 The main message is that you are the authority on your topic and to maintain control of the interview by directing reporters to your message using statements like "What is most important is..." or "The main thing your audience needs to know is..."

 

You will probably have a prescribed period of time to tell your story, so speak with confidence, provide facts, and repeat your key message often while you "project your commitment to educating patients and the public." You should refrain from using jargon, as your audience must understand what you are saying. Be sure not to lose your temper or argue (no matter how uninformed the interviewer might be) or saying "no comment." Anticipate questions and prepare responses. Practice if you have enough notice before an interview.

 

We are always in view of someone's lens. As Napoleon Hill stated, "Your big opportunity may be right where you are now." Let your voice be heard.

 

Jamesetta Newland, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP

  
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF NPEDIT@WOLTERSKLUWER.COM

 

REFERENCES

 

1. Daley M. Miss Colorado addresses her Miss American Monologue on Ellen. Entertainment Weekly. 2015. http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/17/kelley-johnson-miss-colorado-ellen-degenere. [Context Link]

 

2. AANP. 2015 Nurse practitioner week November 8-14, 2015: Resource guide. 2015. http://assets.aanp.org/documents/2015/NPWeek2015.pdf. [Context Link]