How Being Made Fun of on National TV was the Best Thing to Ever Happen To Me

One Year Later: how being made fun of on national TV was the best thing that ever happened to me.

There isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t ask what it was like to be me on the day the television show “The View” made fun of me and the entire profession of nursing. Some of you want to know if Joy and Michelle ever apologized. Some of you want to know if they asked me to go on the show. Some of you want to express how sorry you are for me. Some of you want to make sure that I know you won’t ever watch the show again. And some of you just want to push it under the rug with a curse word and a stethoscope held high. I only have one response for you all: thank goodness for The View.

Yep, that’s right. I thank my lucky stars every single day for those ignorant comments and the insensitive women that said them.

I found out about the “Doctor’s stethoscope” comment from you all, the nurses of America. To this day, I have not watched that episode or the entire segment that featured my Miss America performance. I woke up that morning to over 2500 messages in my public figure inbox from nurses all around the world standing up for me and nurses everywhere. I read as many as I could and ultimately realized that this was a serious situation that was not going to go away without a fight. Millions of nurses, sponsors of The View, and the producers themselves were all feeling the weight of those words. It was immediately obvious how much positive momentum we were gaining as a whole; they picked the wrong profession to mess with. We, as nurses, were demanding an apology, demanding a correction, and most importantly demanding the respect that we deserve.

After their sorry attempt at an apology and spending three episodes dedicated to “educating themselves about nursing”, The View was moving on from the scandal. We were not. I did not ever receive a personal apology. I was asked to go on the show and politely said, “never”.  I have way too much respect for our profession to compromise our integrity by giving them more viewers and a chance to defend themselves in front of me. If I truly believed that I could go there and educate them about what nursing is and advocate for our profession I would have thought about it. But, that wouldn’t be the case. I would have been bullied and interrupted as most guests are on the show that have differing opinions than them.  It just wasn’t going to happen for me to be able to actually convince them they were mistaken and let them know why. Either way, they gave our profession an incredible gift.

When was the last time you remember this magnitude of enthusiasm being ignited within our profession? When was the last time our profession united together standing up for what we do and how intelligent we are? When was the last time you went to work with a new spring in your step standing proud as a nurse ready to take on anyone who downplayed your practice? This was a huge blessing in disguise that brought us together like we haven’t been brought together in a long time. The #NursesUnite campaign lit our world on fire.

Don’t feel bad for me. I spent the next year traveling to various television shows and all across our nation speaking at various engagements educating the public about nursing, advocating for nurses everywhere, and giving a voice to the millions of hardworking nurses across America that deserve to be heard, thanked, and appreciated. This improved my life because it gave me a purpose and platform to give back to the most honorable profession in the world. The opportunities that have arose from this firestorm for #NurseKelley and nursing as a whole are both chances I am eternally grateful for.

At the end of the day one thing remains true: if Joy Behar truly needed a nurse, any one of us, we would be there for her. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. It’s simply in our character to do the right thing. And that, my friends, is what makes us nothing like her.