An Open Letter to Joy Behar

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 instead, take a moment to teach.

I am a big believer that the first step in resolving ignorance is education. So allow me, for a moment, to educate you.

The stethoscope is a medical device used to auscultate (that means listen to) the inner workings of your patient. (read; heart, lungs, and bowel)

Doctors do this when they examine their patient.

So does the Respiratory Therapist.

The Physician Assistant.

The Nurse Practitioner.

And the Nurse.

The average patient in the hospital will be examined by their doctor every 24 hours. The Respiratory Therapist likely stops by at least every eight hours. And the nurse, she or he is probably in the room hourly, with that stethoscope on the chest and abdomen at least every four hours. In the ICU this occurs hourly, at minimum.

By unwritten laws of use-equals-ownership, it seems to me that maybe it should be called a nurse’s stethoscope.

But that isn’t necessary, because in the hospital we know how to share. We know that we each play a role in taking care of that patient, and as a result, we just call it a stethoscope.

I encourage you and your cohosts on the View to learn more about nurses and to teach your viewers the same. To begin, there are close to 3 million of us in America. By numbers, we make up the largest proportion of the health care team. Well over half of us are women, although this trend is quickly changing.

Remember how I said the doctor may only see a patient once in a 24 hour period? They are able to do that because they can trust the nurses to assess (there’s that stethoscope again) in their absence, and alert them of any issues that may arise. If you have questions when the doctor leaves the room, your nurse will answer. If you are afraid your father is disoriented when you leave each evening, don’t worry, the nurse and the nursing assistants will gladly keep him calm, comfortable, and safe.

Your hospitalized child is suddenly unable to breathe? Gasping, coughing? Don’t worry, the nurse will listen, the respiratory therapist will listen. The doctor, will run from near, or maybe very far; to assist and make a plan. But while they are on their way, you will be very glad someone else in the room knows how to use that stethoscope!

A woman in a beauty pageant put on baggy clothes and walked on stage to talk about her job, and all that a woman who is paid to sit at a table and gab could come up with was insults.

That wasn’t a sad moment for nurses. It was a sad moment for women, and I for one, am embarrassed, not angry. As a supposed advocate for women, I just ask that you learn and you choose your words more carefully before attempting to degrade and minimize the work of millions.

Because despite your lack of understanding and your silly remark, we will be ok.

Because like other formerly quiet groups in America, we nurses are finally finding our voice.

We are the people who not only listen to the heartbeat of people you love, but it is our work that personifies the heartbeat that America was built on, exemplifying the caring, compassion, and selflessness that we need more of in this country.

This is our voice, and there are 3 million of us that you will not be able to keep quiet.

Warm wishes,


2,421 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Joy Behar

  1. Thank you for posting this letter, i hope it educates a few and impacts many. And i want to thank you for all you do for all your patients you help. I hope everyone finds a caring nurse when they need one.

    1. Though retired now, I am so proud to have spent my nursing career in such a rewarding field. I am even more proud to join my fellow care givers in supporting Kateri. My stethoscope still hangs in my bedroom, just in case…..

  2. Great article! Medical Assistants are also using stethoscopes to check blood pressures on every patient that comes in for an appointment. Doctors rarely check the blood pressure as they trust us to get an accurate reading. Dental assistants are also using them to check blood pressures 🙂

  3. Don’t forget the Medical Office Assistant , who also use a stethoscope to do vitals on patients which frees up the nurses to do what it is that they do best

  4. So eloquently worded, while I want to believe Ms. Behar’s particular type of comedic “flavor” has always been what I consider “judgemental” I believe she was most likely doing what she does best. That being said I am so sorry Ms. Behar, you picked the wrong platform, topic, and clearly the wrong person in which to poke fun at! I have watched the view sporadically through the years, and the ideals on which this show was founded have long been forgotten, Its expiration date is past due!
    In 1991 I lay dying in a hospital bed dying, while I was being misdiagnosed by the doctor several of the nurses, brainstormed my unsusal symptoms in the middle of the night, and alerted the chief surgeon. These “earth Angels” saved my life, as I had perontonitis, if they had waited until morning I would not be here today!
    The majority of these amazing women, and men are underpaid, overworked, in a field that is so emotionally charged, yet they do it with love and kindness usually reserved for family and friends. It is a “Thankless” position, many of the patients will never see that nurse again.
    Whether Ms. Behar comprehends the gravity of her disrespectful comments or not, going by the incredible amount of comments, I would safely bet that she may avoid the topic of anything having to do with nursing as a whole for the rest of her life.!

    1. Well said. But Ms. Behar shouldn’t avoid the topic but admit her ignorance and use the opportunity to educate herself and make a public acknowledgment of the work health care workers, first and foremost nurses, do!

    2. That is a beautiful tribute to us nurses ! I must say after being a nurse for over 40 + years, I agree 100%. We have our stories, & we all have shed our tears & given our patients excellent care. Thanks so much for your comment. We care to share – Jane Webb,RN

  5. Well said Kateri…all over the world nurses and their stethoscopes are a symbol of hope to their many patients…respected and honoured for the work they do – both paid and unpaid – Kelley Johnson spoke with honesty and sincerity and brought a tear to mine and many other nurses eyes I am sure…and hear the inane remarks of ‘the view’ makes my blood boil…kudos Kelley for being a proud, caring and beautiful person who wears a stethoscope with pride as well you should…shame on you Joy Behar for showing your ignorance and denigration of a wonderful professional.

    1. While still in Health Care, and with 10 years away from direct patient care, I still (and will always) take pride in being a nurse first. Who the heck is Joy Behar, anyway? Hi Vicki (classmate?)!

  6. I spent 35 years of my life as an LPN. Although I am no longer working in the medical field I can say without a doubt in my mind and with pride …I AM A NURSE. I worked very hard all those years taking care of my patients to the best of my ability. I spent countless hours sitting by a bedside so that person who was dying alone without family doing my charting so I wasn’t getting too far behind for the next nurse coming in to take over but still making sure my patient wasn’t alone. I cried many tears on the way home to be able to walk through the door to my family so that I could meet them with smiles instead of the heavy heart I really felt. I was the one calling the doctor in the middle of the night to awaken him when my patient’s condition changed only to be berated for awakening him because he had just finally fallen asleep. I’m the nurse who frequently worked short staffed as both charge nurse and doubled as nursing assistant too way too often so that my patients did not have to suffer the indignatiesof lying in a wet or dirty bed. Yes that stethoscope was always around my neck. I’m the nurse that my neighbors ran too when their children were sick or had a splinter. I’m the nurse that my family calls to ask for advice or needs someone to explain what a certain test is or why they need it done. Nursing is not just a profession…it is a life that you choose to live. I am proud I chose to be a nurse.

  7. I love this!…it seems so easy to pass judgment upon others these days…especially when a person is accociated with a public forum!..I too used a stethoscope being a vet tech for 14 years…helping the animals that couldn’t help themselves or even vocolize their ailments!..power,strength and love to all those who choose to help others!

  8. Well said! I’ve been a registered nurse for over 25 years. Thank you for your words. This speaks for all of us 😃

  9. Well said, being an ICU nurse, Joy enraged me with her comment, not to mention the millions of others nurses. Hope the continued reminder of the importance,and roles of the healthcare team, to The View continues.
    Proud RN

  10. As I am just getting home after a long 12 hour shift, I find this blog and start reading this absolutely beautiful letter to Joy (if she is brave enough to read it). As I read those comments, I agree with every single one of them. I have tirelessly cared for the sick, comforted those who are dying, and support the family and love ones in any way possible. I work side by side with all disciplines in the medical field, far more than I can list. But as I read the blog and all the comments, this one feeling comes out strong and clear…those of us who got into the medical profession did so because we have a passion to help others. And as tired as I am right this minute, I look forward to my shift tonight, to help another human, to make a difference.

    As I read through this blog and all the responses, I think of those ladies who host The View and feel incredibly sad for them. Sure, they have more money than I would know what to do with, they hired people to do their hair, nails, get a pedicure (oh, I would long for one of those…), clean their house, do their taxes, drive them places, and the list goes on and on. But do they feel the passion for their jobs as we feel for our profession? How empty and shallow their lives are compared to us. We do not seek glory for our work, our patients’ faces say it all. We do not need the limelight to shine, our glow comes from within us, and we do not need to put others down to feel good about ourselves.

    1. Just randomly read your reply — after I posted mine. Anytime I meet someone who tells me he or she is a nurse, I give them my most heartfelt blessings and thanks…and also remind them that they cannot underestimate the DIFFERENCE they made in the lives of not only their patients, but the patient’s loved ones. I cannot imagine how much energy you expend every day — mentally, physically, emotionally. I can never repay the nurses that have provided care to the people I have loved…but I tell you truly, I never, EVER forget them and they hold a special place in my heart and prayers. (My mother died in 2000 and the nurses who cared for her in the days between her stroke and her death made that awful experience SO much different…just knowing they were there and cared and treated her so gently…made enormous difference.) Bless you in your work…

  11. My nephew is a nurse. He not only cares for his patients, he cares about them. It’s disgusting that these women who sit around and criticize are paid more than nurses who do something worthwhile.

  12. Beautifully written Kateri. While I am not in the medical profession, I can’t imagine what I would do without all of you who are!! Let us hope for the women on The View that your words touch their hearts with caring and minds with understanding…. they are definitely in need of education and a lesson in compassion. Wishing you many Blessings….

  13. Beautifully said …I concur. It is a proud day for women though that we have educated individuals such as your self to keep their ignorance at bay. Cudos.

  14. Joy Behar is an Uninformed, Ignorant, Mindless FOOL. She is a disgrace to T V in General ! She should be Dumped Now and Forever. P. O. S.

  15. Thank you for mentioning nursing assistants too! They use those doctor thingys– I mean stethoscopes–and I might add medical assistants and ER Techs to that list. Every one of them use stethoscopes on a daily basis at work. I find it interesting that a woman who (if I am recalling correctly) stated several years ago that she never graduated from high school feels comfortable making such remarks about someone much more educated than she!

  16. I just saw the video of the view and they where saying that they weren’t talking about the profession they where talking about the talent. The view needs to realize that being a nurse is a talent it takes a special person to do the work they do.I believe it is a gift that God gave them and that it is their calling from God to help people. Not everyone can play the fiddle or dance or sing, everyone has different talents (Gift ). I applaud all health care people. Without them my mom wouldn’t be here today. She is now in a nursing home and the nurses are so awesome and patient. The care my dad had when he had a heart attach was amazing. Here is a poem I think fit perfect. ‘The Calling’ Do you sometimes wonder?Why you do the job you do? Did you choose your career? Or did your job choose you?
    Way back before you were born. God knew there was a need. And planted a caring seed.
    Then He waited and He watched.Knowing before too long. The desire in you to help others.Would continue to grow strong.
    He guided you throughout life.Through the courses that you took.Because you were a chosen one. You are written in His book.
    The caring heart He put in you. As you put others first. Leaving only one path to take.In you there was a thirst.
    Not seeking fame or fortune. Born with a tender touch.You are who you’re meant to be. That’s why you care so much.
    Because caring don’t take practice.It’s not something you rehearse. You answered a special calling.When you became a nurse.

  17. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you. As my father lay dying, even surrounded by his children, it was his nurses who tenderly and lovingly tended to him. Their gentle words and gentle hands helped ease my father’s pain, and ease his family’s grief. Some of his nurses even attended his funeral, continuing to show care to his family after his passing. Bless you all, and shame on Ms. Behar.

  18. Diane, I totally agree with your comment. Would like to add RACIST and INCONSIDERATE – to your words, although she is not the only one. I quit watching that show a long time ago. She should be made to apologize like the other public figures have too. Also, I would like to say THANK YOU to all nurses out there. My niece is a nurse and I would like to THANK HER personally. Keep up the good work ladies and gentlemen.

  19. I was a nurse for 46 years (13 as an LPN & a RN for the last 32 yrs of my career)–a diagnosis of Parkinsons forced me to retire in 2011. I can look back proudly on these 46 years without regret , like Miss Colorado, knowing I made a difference in the lives of my patients, their families and my staff. Will the ladies of THE VIEW be able to do the same? You added insult to injury if you think the garbage you spewed was an apology………….sorry I and many more don’t buy it! You just may have put the last nail in your own coffins ——The View needs to be canceled and certainly would not be missed!!!!!

  20. Don’t forget EMTS of all levels, even paramedics. Very important tool for every medical professional, not just doctors.

  21. As a person iving with a disability I have seen the insides of a hospital far more often than most 30 year olds. I havr lost count how many wonderful nurses I’ve met. It was a pediatric nurse who held my hand in an out of state hospital when 17 stitches from an experimental surgery were tajen from my spine when work schedules and travel time meant that none of my family were there. It’s been 15 years since then and I still love her for that.. I feel terrible every single time anasethetic has ever made me throw up on a nurse and they always laugh it off in spite of the fact that I’m sure I wasn’t the only person to do so that week or maybe even that day.I challenge Ms. Behar to watch the nurses who care for her the next time she needs them and consider if she could handle the same thingswith as much aplomb

  22. Shame on u Joy Behar. You were ignorant. May u or someone in your family never get ill and find out who really takes care of you. Its the RN.

  23. Kateri,
    God bless you and all of the nurses in this world for picking a profession that not only helps me due to the fact I have been suffering from systemic lupus for 30 yrs., but also helps my three children when they have been ill and many others in this cruel world. You all do not get NEARLY the amount of appreciation that you should. For Joy and the co hosts of the View to openly make such snyde remarks about a profession such as yours was sadly more than a disgrace it is just COMPLETELY ignorant! JOY YOU SHOULD BE COMPLETELY ASHAMED! Kateri and all you other nurses out there, hold your heads high with each and every patient you treat from the slightest cold to the worst of cancers, you are AMAZING and are doing a wonderful justice to a not so easy profession and I personally THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being there and having a heart and holding my hand all of the many times I’ve needed it, may God always guide you and bless you!

  24. I dare the hosts of the talk show “the view” to try being a nurse even for few hours. let us see how far could they go. They must think first before they speak. #nursesunite

  25. Very eloquently written! I love this and I hope that Joy Behar reads this! Thank you and every nurse out there, for the work you do, taking care of us and our loved ones. Xoxo

  26. I was and am a Nurse. I carried a license for 50 years, and am very proud, and grateful. Miss Colorado did a very brave thing by exposing the world to talents they were not aware of. Nursing requires, a caring, compassion, sympathy, courage, stamina, and true grit like no other. Ms. Behar has no understanding of that kind of talent, but wait till she needs it, and imagine her shame, when it is shared freely and with true joy with her! Maybe then she will be able to sincerely apologize, and really understand what real talent is!!

  27. Mostly this is a vent forum for disgruntled nurses and or people who have used stethoscopes professionally. You’re preaching to the choir. The health care industry is a business, you caring health care people. It’s profiting via insurance companies and Big pharma… in the U.S.A. and many of those pharmaceuticals have terrible side effects and addiction rates are going up. Pray no one ever need go to a hospital. 50% of the people who walk in for one thing come out sick with something else. The computer systems are easily hacked. So before you all think you are sacrificing and healing and whatever, how about checking your bedside manner?

    The view talk show hosts are easy targets for exhausted health care workers just as snarky and just as human, but with different interests. I loathe the View, but who cares? Beauty pageants are not pro-women so why get hung up on them? The nurse who entered was not humble… she wanted the money just as much as the other contestants. She wanted the attention and believed she was better than others due to her choice of jobs. Maybe this is true and maybe it isn’t. There are good nurses and their are bad nurses.

    So far the articles by health care workers in the freshly pressed section, all believe they have integrity and are not writing from a base or vulgar level, because you’ve announced you are not offended but could be… and that your knowledge makes you the best to educate. but this is a joke. You have disdain for people like everybody else and you’re showing your hand. Everyone who works deserves to gripe about their specific jobs with those who feel the same way… but that’s all you’re doing here. You’re not educating healers in empathy, compassion, humility, skill or service. You’ve not elevated women any better than Joy has degraded them.

    Your’e feeling under-appreciated and you’re speaking out to get a witness.

      1. I said I loathe the View my dearest Donna. Why on earth would I work for people I wouldn’t enjoy?

        are you the author? or are you just telling me not to give any more of my individual air time because you’re bossing me around?

        Maybe take some time for you, and get a massage, so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff and worry so much about what I’ve said that you are feeling touchy about? Maybe I hit close enough to home you feel mean. But the nurses here are sounding pretty snarky…

    1. Well, I was wondering when the disgruntled, ugly minded person was going to put in their two cents worth of hatefulness. You just took care of that! Feeling extra sorry for your family and/or friends.

      1. What? Who are you talking to? I’m not a hateful person and I do care provision work for elderly and disabled people as well as work in a community of healers. Acupuncturists, energy workers, art therapy and all sorts of projects that are about caring.

        So you’ve gotten hostile on me, Mary, for no reason. I didn’t attack you. You obviously need to do some deep breathing, sweetie.

  28. My daughter.
    Is a model and training to be a nurse practitioner . We were all in disbelief what was said on the view. How could you try to degrade some one who has like my daughter dedicated there life to helping others. Spent years in collage and ran up Hugh loans to be able to help others . All you do is criticize and Dimora lies people for a living.
    Three million nurses across this country who won’t watch you dumb asses again or use the products that you advertise to make your ridiculous salary.
    Bye bye the view your all done.

  29. Out of all these posts, I would enjoy seeing one from a Dr.
    I’m not in the medical profession, and applaud anyone that is.
    Without them, many of us wouldn’t be here & see our family & friends living.
    Mistakes are often made & used. Mother always said to forgive & forget.
    She also said that once spoken it can never be forgotten.
    I’m not sure what size shoes she wears because getting them out of any
    part of her body will hurt. Wait, she can call a nurse!!!!!

  30. I respect that you approached this issue the way that you did. This is a sensitive subject that truly stirs peoples’ passion. I truly appreciate that you were able to argue this in a calm and respectful way. You make a beautiful point.



  31. Well said. Wonderful words from a profession which may be the best in the world and God bless the nurses everywhere.
    Joy Behar is a disgrace to all women.

  32. Well said. Those women on “the Voice” should be ashamed of themselves. They should try to do a nurses job for 1 hour instead of making fun of the people who take care of their loved ones

  33. Omg get over this. Joy and the women of the view were not bashing nurses…they are comedians…Get over it!!! Everyone appreciates nurses and what they do. This is the problem with social media…seriously we all need to move on from this

  34. Well said…

    I worked as a nurse for 10 years until my health forced me into early retirement. It is still surprising to me how people with that level of ignorance are paid to open their mouths and spout stupidity and negativity for all the world to hear. I am ashamed of how American women are represented by the View. I scratch my head at why she and her co-hosts are allowed on a show like this. All I can guess is that ignorant jerks make the tv executives big money…

    To all my sister and brother nurses still out there giving 110%, you are strong, amazing angels and deserve so much more recognition and respect.

  35. Awesome teaching moment I must say. I pray they get the message. As a fellow special needs Peds nurse, I believe Ms. Joy Behar and her co hosts showed signs of Brain Flatulence Dx, but I can not Dx can I. I hope for a cure in the near future. As far as Ms. Kelley Johnson, I was moved by her monolog. I am sure there are many nurses out there, including I, that have similar stories we could share. Let the moment of learning and growing acceptance continue.
    This is the future View ladies, We do not have to wear a gown to see inside our hearts. Take note, and before you choose the bully nature of your comments to reach your mouth, think twice and look deeper into your soul. You might find a sprinkle of sunshine, or better yet a valuable expression of a different kind of beauty. God Bless. Bernie R.

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