We Listened But Did You Hear Us?

I don’t normally blog back to back like this but I felt a follow-up was needed to my last post about being “just a nurse” (which blew my mind that it got shared so much!  I am overwhelmed by that!  You all rock!).  The View, in response to the uproar on social media about what the ladies said about nurses, decided to issue an “apology” of sorts to the millions of nurses on national tv.  I put this in quotations because to be honest…it was not that.  It was, rather, an even bigger insult to nurses around the world.  I saw the clip posted over and over in nursing groups on Facebook and the message was clear :  Nurses didn’t listen.  Millions of healthcare professionals apparently took something out of context and blew it out of proportion.  We didn’t listen.  Whoopi Goldberg said it herself “You didn’t listen.”  I beg to differ Whoopi.  We listened but did you hear us?

I listened to the entire clip several times over for 3 simple words …”We are sorry”.  Not once did I hear those words to nurses or to Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson for the mean and unkind words you spoke about her.  I listened to you all try to talk over each other, getting louder and louder.  I listened to you call nurses “adorable”, “funny”, and that you were at “the mercy of nurses so we have to like them” but not once did I hear you call us “respectable”, “brave”, “compassionate”, “caring” or “knowledgeable”.  I listened.  Want to know why?  Because as a nurse, we are trained to do just that….listen.  We take classes in listening to be better at it with our patients, our co-workers and our families.  Listening is what we do.  While you were all trying to talk over each other to prove a point (which I never really got btw) and NOT listening to each other, let me tell you what I listened to this week at my job.

As a nurse, listening is key in our jobs.  So many things can be learned just by listening.  This week, I listened to a 2-year-old struggle to breathe….without my “doctor’s” stethoscope.  I listened to him wheeze and knew it was time to call the respiratory therapist to give him a breathing treatment.  I listened then to him settle down, his breathing eased by the medication, and snores begin to come for the first time all night.  I listened to a newborn’s cry as we had to start an IV to give her fluids to keep her hydrated.  I also listened to her mother comfort her with soft cooing sounds all the while tears running silently down her face.    As I walked down the hall, I listened to a school age child play video games to distract himself in the middle of the night so that he didn’t have to think about missing playing with his friends.  Earlier in the week, I sat and listened to a physician tell a teenager his chances of a football scholarship were over with such a huge break in his leg at the beginning of the football season.  I watched as his face fall, his dreams of going to college shattered, his mother softly reassuring him they would find another way.  I listened while a mother didn’t understand why her baby had to be on oxygen and I went over it with her until she did.  While you ladies were bashing Miss Colorado and what nurses do for a living, I had to listen to the keening and wailing of a family watching their 17-year-old son slip away from them because of inoperable brain cancer.  I had to hold and listen to a grown man cry at the loss of his son.  While you were listening to each other talk, I was listening to raw grief.

See…nurses listen.  We hear more than your narrow minds will ever hear.  We listen.  We listen to heartbeats slowly fade away.  We listen to monitors alarming that something is critically wrong with our patients and we rush to fix it.  We listen to doctors barking orders at us fast and loud in a crisis. We listen to patients when they say they don’t understand and we stay and explain.  We listen to the first and last breaths someone takes.  We listen to your prayers.  We listen to your fears.  We listen to your secrets.  Nurses listen.  What we won’t listen to anymore is the ladies on The View because they didn’t hear us.  They didn’t hear the 3.3 million strong men and women who are nurses stand up and say we are not “just a nurse”.  They didn’t hear us say how dedicated we are to our jobs….our patients….our pride in our skills and degrees we have achieved.  They didn’t hear all the ancillary healthcare professionals, including doctors, who stood up overnight and said nurses are the backbones of healthcare….that nurses matter.  Our long hours, our blood sweat and tears, our lives that we sacrifice to take care of you and yours…these are all things we knew going into the job.  We don’t expect to be patted on the back and told we did a good job.  We expect to be respected and we expect to be heard.  We want you to know we listen, we care, we love our patients.  It is more than a “talent” or a career….it is a calling.  Ladies at The View…we don’t want to listen to you anymore.  We want you to listen.  We want you to hear us.  We are a mighty force and you have poked the bear.  We want an apology.  We want you to know that it takes hard work, our job is stressful and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Take the time and go personally thank a nurse today….and listen.  Nurses are humans too.  We just want to be heard.  We deserve that.  We listened to you and heard what you have to say…now it is your turn to listen.  And hear.

Oh yeah.  I didn’t die today.  I did, however, listen.  I am Fat Girl who know how to listen and challenges The View to do the same Running.  The experiment continues…..