When Miss Colorado stepped onto the stage in her scrubs and spoke about nursing, we celebrated her. She didn’t sing, she didn’t dance, but we were riveted—partly because the experience she described is one every nurse (in their own way) understands, and partly because it’s one that most of the world simply can’t.
So, if you ask us, we think that the talent she chose to share was the complete package. Hosts ofThe View, however, disagreed, failing to recognize the compassion, resilience, wisdom and skill that caring for another human being requires.
But here’s the thing about publicly offending a representative of a fiercely loyal and passionate community: You tend to get a lot of backlash. Hence, this letter, which was written by the daughter of a nurse, Elizabeth A. Colombo, Esq., who signs off as “Disheartened and Disappointed in New Jersey.”
Eloquent and highly personal, it’s perhaps the perfect response to the hosts’ blatant belittling of the profession:
Dear Ms. Behar and Ms. Collins,
I come from a medical family of nurses and doctors (yes, I put the nurses first). You clearly need some educating, so allow me to tell you about a nurse who is near and dear to my heart.
My mom has been a nurse for 39 years and four months. She leaves for work every day with her scrubs on and her stethoscope around her neck. HER, not a doctor’s, stethoscope around HER neck. She spends her days with bodily fluids. She risks disease from these bodily fluids every day. She comforts. She listens. She medicates to take her patients’ pain away. She communicates. She teaches. You know what she doesn’t do more often than not? Take bathroom breaks and eat lunch.
When it snows or there is another dangerous weather event, my mom has no option but to go to work. The early morning hours the day after Hurricane Sandy when NO ONE was going out because it was still terrifying outside, my mom went to work. I am a strong and stoic corporate attorney and I am not ashamed to admit that I sobbed as I begged my mom not to leave. I legitimately feared she would die on the way to work. She simply said, “I have to go in. My patients are counting on me.”
I admit that I pleaded further. You see, I’m not a nurse. So, in that moment, my mom’s safety was more important to me than any patient. She said, “I have to go. My patients need me and the night shift nurses won’t be able to leave if I don’t show up to relieve them.” Again, because I am not a selfless nurse, I sobbed and begged: “Please don’t leave me. If something happens to you, I have no one.”
Guess what my mom did? She went to work. Because that’s what nurses do. They go to work. No matter what, they go to work. It took her an hour and 10 minutes to go four miles and she admitted months later that she did, in fact, fear for her life on the way to work. But she made it, she relieved her fellow nurses who worked the terrifying night of Sandy and she cared for her patients.
I have folders upon folders upon folders upon folders upon folders (you get the point) of compliments and accolades for my mom from her patients. I keep adding more as she keeps getting more. They never end and she treasures them all because each one signifies a life she has touched. While out to dinner or out shopping or out doing anything, we constantly encounter my mom’s patients and their families. They rave about the great care she gave them and what it meant to them. As I listen to them, my heart swells with pride that I have a mom who is a nurse. She is a superheroine. To her patients. And to me.
Your comments made her cry. That’s right. Your comments were so thoughtless, selfish, vicious and insensitive that they made my mom cry. Do you know why? Because, for decades, my mom has put her body, heart, blood, sweat, tears and soul out there for the care of others.
Want to check out the rest of the letter? You can find it in its entirety here. Just don’t forget to share your thoughts on The View‘s criticism in the comments section below!
This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.