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Miss Colorado, Kelley Johnson, at the Miss America 2016 in Atlantic City, N.J. on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. As her talent, Johnson delivered monologue about why she became a nurse and why she is proud of her profession.

By: Lindsey Wilkerson (@lindzwilkerson)

On Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, the Miss America pageant finals were held in Atlantic City, N.J. The top fifteen contestants performed a variety of talents from singing and dancing to reading monologues. Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado, brought a new talent to the Miss America 2016 stage by reciting a monologue she had written about her experience as a nurse. Johnson stood on stage wearing scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck. She talked about a conversation she had with her friend and patient, Joe, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Johnson’s monologue received a lot of positive comments, and she was awarded second runner-up in the competition overall.
The day after the competition, the hosts on “The View” gave a different opinion of Johnson’s speech. Host Joy Behar asked, “Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope on?” and later said that it looked like Johnson was “in a costume.” Many nurses took offense to Behar’s words and some even started the hashtag “#NursesUnite.” This controversy led five sponsors to boycott “The View.” Johnson & Johnson, Eggland’s Best, Park City, Snuggle, and McCormick Spice have all pulled their advertisements from the show and have announced their disapproval of the show’s comments.
The hosts on “The View” have since apologized for their comments after a statement release stating they now realize how “vitally important nurses are.” The episode following the incident highlighted two nursing instructors from New York University’s College of Nursing discussing the importance of nursing.
I became curious what University of Missouri nursing students thought about the issue and if it affected their decision to become a nurse. I began my investigation with freshman Laura Liang. Laura worked for two years in Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo. on the rehabilitation floor. She worked 12-hour shifts with nurses who had eight patients each. With her experience in the hospital, Laura strongly believes that nurses are important to essential medical care. “I knew ‘The View’ had a fairly large audience, and I didn’t want people to be under the impression that, ‘Oh, they’re a big talk show. We should listen to them!’ No, you shouldn’t.” Laura continued, “Nurses play a huge, huge role, if not more than doctors when it comes to everyday care, which a lot of people in the hospital need.”
When I asked how Kelley Johnson’s monologue impacted her, Laura said that she was more excited about how it would affect younger people that haven’t made a career decision. Laura commented, “A lot of younger girls still look up to the women that are in pageants, and so with that being said, it is a really, really refreshing thing to see Miss Colorado go up in scrubs and her stethoscope on and talk about her experience as a nurse.”
Although the comments on “The View” were greatly publicized, they brought more attention to Miss Colorado’s monologue and its message. Nurses nationwide rallied together in support of each other and their commitment to their serving work. Thousands of students have been reintroduced to the profession of nursing and people across the world have now been reminded of the importance of nurses in our everyday lives. I cannot think of a better talent to have than being a nurse.

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E23 Web Director Colleen Sloyan has been with MUTV for three semesters now. She is studying for a Bachelor of Journalism and a minor in Business.