Letter on New York Times Veteran Suicide Story

I just had this letter published in the letters section of the New York Times on the recent story on Veteran suicide.

 To the Editor:

Your article about the post-deployment suicide rate in a single Marine battalion does a disservice to the dedicated staff engaged in suicide prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For a forthcoming book about the V.A., I have observed and interviewed its health care providers, patients — many of whom tell me that the V.A. saved their lives — and members of patients’ families in V.A. facilities throughout the country. I have been tremendously impressed by the V.A.’s systematic efforts to help patients cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury of the sort highlighted in your profile of these Marine veterans.

Readers of The Times are, unfortunately, left with the impression that the V.A.’s mental health outreach and counseling, suicide prevention hotlines, and peer support groups are either inadequate or inaccessible. From what I have seen, this is not the case, and such programs, when properly funded, are working well. In fact, V.A. staff … Continue reading

Another Post from an RN

635707320842725884-FTCMissColoradoThis is a post that was sent to me by Annemarie Dowling-Castronovo, PhD, RN,Associate Professor, Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing, Wagner College, Staten Island, New York.
My colleagues in communications and my experiences have taught me that negative press can do good. Clearly, enough has been publicized about The View’s inability to understanding how caring for people is a talent that Kelly Johnson, Ms.Colorado, proclaimed in her now famous Monologue. Since those few negative sound bites, an unprecedented backlash from the nursing community unleashed. Much of that has been with an all too familiar snarky defensive nurse tone. Thankfully, Joy Behar realized her moments of being “stupid and inattentive” and graciously did some damage control. So yes the RN won, but opportunities must be made to seize this moment of having the public’s attention and educate.

The View could have done it. They could have had representatives from Johnson and Johnson speak about their investment in nursing care for the American public so that viewers could understand why they suspended advertising.  Ellen DeGeneris could have done it, but instead the stethoscope controversy turned to the … Continue reading

Open Letter to Joy Behar from My Pal Kateri Allard

My friend Kateri Allard who is a pediatric nurse, just posted this on her blog According to Kateri.  We decided that I would post her blog on the Miss Colorado/Joy Behar incident on my blog and she would post my comments on her’s.  So here goes.cropped-image

As many of you have seen, Miss Colorado delivered a beautifully spoken monologue about nursing during last week’s Miss America pageant. Recently, on The View as the pageant was discussed, Miss Colorado’s scrubs were referred to as a costume, and Joy posed the question of why she was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope.” Below is my now calmed down reply to all of it. Additionally, I would like to personally and publicly congratulate Kelley Johnson RN on her chosen talent, it is one that will reward you forever. 

Dear Joy Behar,

A beautiful woman in a beauty pageant put on baggy clothes and humbly walked across the stage to talk proudly about her career, and her passion for caring for other human beings, and the only thing you and your co hosts could muster in response were insults grounded in ignorance.

Rather than being offended or getting angry, I will … Continue reading

Short Post on Just Words

tumblr_static_bo8byijx4q0o48g40gsokw8gcI have been told that some nurses think the comments made on The View about nurses aren’t important.  They are just words.  Indeed, they are.  But let’s not forget that just like a nurse is not just a nurse, words are not just words.  Words are not a jumble on letters on a page.  Words are how we put into language what we think.  When Joy Behar used the words “a doctor’s stethoscope” the problem wasn’t the 18 letters that left her mouth.  The problem was the thought, the attitudes those words reflected.  Those thoughts were surely that physicians do the important work and nurses, well they just just….  These attitudes stand behind all the decisions that we make about patient care.  For example, many patients think doctors are the ones to go to when they have questions about their illness,and  that nurses have nothing to offer.  Policymakers think nurses are just extensions of the physician’s brain.  Think of the term “physician-extender.”  Where does that come from?  It comes from the same kind of thinking that makes people use words like the “doctor’s stethoscope.”

Words like “girl,” to describe nurses … Continue reading

Just a Nurse Contest

justanursepoemI have always wanted to run a Just a Nurse contest.  People can see what I have written on my posters and bookmarks on Just a Nurse.  But what about you — working nurses.  So here I go, I am inviting anyone who reads this and anyone who cares to make this go viral to write a couple of lines a la my Just a Nurse riff to amplify it.

For example:

I’m just a nurse, I just teach physicians about medications

I’m just a nurse, I just advise medical equipment companies about how to make better devices

I’m just a nurse, I make sure patients don’t get the wrong dose of medications

You see what I’m after.  Please give it a go and send it on to ask others to do it.  For my contest, I will judge the best offerings and then send whomever wins — there will be three winners — a copy of my Just a Nurse poster as a gift.  Please make this go viral and then we can post things on this website.