The Oregon Center for Nursing’s 2015 fundraiser had a theme of “The Nurse Effect,” which prompted many to ask: What exactly is the nurse effect?
On Sunday, September 13, 2015, The Miss America Pageant aired its annual competition, or scholarship program. Among the contestants was Kelley Johnson who proudly represented the state of Colorado and nurses everywhere. During the talent portion of the competition, instead of a lavish song and dance number or playing a musical instrument, she delivered a monologue on her experience as a nurse.
The next day, social media was buzzing about Johnson’s monologue and praising her passion for her profession, but not all were fans of her performance.
During an approximately 30-second conversation on The View, hosts Behar and Collins shared their less than favorable opinions of Johnson’s monologue suggesting “she was reading her emails aloud” and asking, now infamously, “why is she wearing a doctor’s stethoscope?”
Enter “The Nurse Effect.” Nurses around the country — scratch that — nurses around the WORLD were incensed by the comments, and took a stand on any and every social media platform they could find. Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for The View and its hosts were inundated with feedback about the comments made regarding Johnson. Nurses created hashtags such as #showmeyourstethoscope, #nursesunite, and others to light up Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. A new Facebook page dedicated to the controversy was created that collected more that 800,000 members in a two week period of time.
By the next Thursday, outrage at The View, it’s lack of respect for Johnson, and the nursing profession had reached such a pitch that a few small advertisers pulled their advertising. And by small advertisers we are talking about household names Eggland’s Best and Johnson & Johnson.
The View decided to demonstrate their love for nurses by inviting just a few to join them for a segment of their show devoted to understanding the complex work of nursing.
NBC’s Dr. Oz did one better. One week after The View dissed Miss Colorado, she joined Dr. Oz for an entire episode dedicated to nursing.
And this is “The Nurse Effect.” Every day, nurses are quietly working to impact the lives of their own patients, their own families, and their own communities. Sometimes, the work can feel lonely or closed off, but nursing work has a measurable effect every single day. This experience has even had a lasting effect; that Facebook page dedicated to the controversy surrounding Behar and Collins’ statements? It’s now a forum for nurses to support each other in the hard work they do every day.
It just goes to show that when nurses join together for a singular purpose, amazing things can happen. Nurses can change the world.