The Real Meaning of a Nurse

The Real Meaning of a Nurse

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by Vickie Jenkins

Instead of showcasing a more traditional talent in the Miss America pageant 2015, Miss Colorado’s Kelley Johnson, donned in scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck spoke about her nursing career. The words to the monologue were very touching. What a wonderful example of a nurse.
Although, Johnson’s talent didn’t go over so well with the ladies from ABC’s T.V. show, The View, co-host Joy Behar told the viewers Miss Colorado basically ‘read her emails out loud.’ During the show, the question was raised as to why Johnson was wearing a doctor’s stethoscope, with her uniform.
Here is Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson’s monologue from the Miss America Pageant 2015.
“Every nurse has a patient that reminds them of why they became a nurse in the first place. Mine was Joe. Joe was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. He had moments with and moments without his memory but the hardest part about being in the condition for Joe were his nightmares. He would wake up in the middle of the night screaming absolute bloody murder but if I just went in there and held his hands for a few moments, I could usually get him to calm down, but then he wanted to talk. He would ask me if I could change his treatments and I’d say, no Joe, I can’t, I’m just a nurse. Well, what about my medications, can you fix those? And I’d say, no Joe, I can’t, I’m just a nurse. But because I couldn’t do those things for Joe, we connected on other levels. He would ask about volleyball and we would talk about his grandbabies and he would tease me about being the only nurse on the unit that could reach the gauze on the top shelf. It was a lot of laughs with Joe, but then one night everything changed. I found him in his room crying and I went over to him and lifted his head up out of his hands and I said, “Joe, I know that this is really hard but you are not defined by this disease. You are not just Alzheimer’s. You are still Joe, and he looked right back at me almost to look through me, and said, Nurse Kelley, then the same thing goes for you. Although you say it all the time, you are not just a nurse, you are my nurse and you have changed my life because you have cared about me. And that’s when it hit me, patients are people with family and friends. And I don’t want to be a nurse that ever pretends. Because you are not a room number or a diagnosis when you are in the hospital. You’re a person, very first and Joe reminded me that I’m a life saver and I’m never going to be just a nurse.”
Results of The View’s backlash over the comments caused 5 sponsors to pull their advertising from the T.V. show. Results of Kelley Johnson’s monologue given during the Miss American Pageant 2015? Priceless.
If you would like to share your opinion on what a nurse is, send your comments to Vickie to hevn_writer@cox.net to be printed in a future issue of Nursing Times. First name and place of employment please.

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