By now the ridiculous comments from the hosts of The View have been chewed, swallowed, and barfed out like the garbage they are. Miss Colorado spoke about her experience being “just a nurse” and how an Alzheimer patient helped her to realize the importance of her work. The View managed to mock her (probably jealous of her brains), and the outcry was more than impressive. The public poured out their support for nurses. Social media made it very clear that mocking nurses would not be tolerated. And I joined in. There were YouTube rebuttals and new memes created that were both thoughtful and hilarious. I watched as my Facebook stream filled with nursing friends posing in scrubs with a stethoscope placed around their necks. It was the perfect response to ward off ignorance about the profession and remind the public of the care nurses provide.
And yet I can’t help feeling a little disappointed. A little betrayed. Not by my nursing friends but by the nursing profession. Physician Assistants are frequently misrepresented in media and the work that we do is often belittled. Our work is viewed as a “stepping stone” to be fulfilled only after we complete medical school. We get labeled as assistants that deliver coffee and can only handle scut work. Where was the support from the nursing community when we were getting slandered? Almost every day I hear stories from colleagues about how the lack of an MD behind their name causes patients to question them. But we do not have the numbers or the lobbying power to put up much of a fight. Our PR department doesn’t have much oomf yet so any strong statements we try to make are limited compared to the large nursing force. Our field has only been around for 50 years so we are kind of the new guys on the block. When we’ve been thrown to the wolves on many occasions all I heard from the nursing community was …..crickets.
I think that as healthcare professionals we should all be respected. We made it through difficult training and clinicals. We’ve weathered traumatic patient encounters and watched death whisk people away. I guess all I’m asking is for you guys to have our backs, like we have yours.
I can educate patients until I am blue in the face about the scope of a PA. I can work my hardest to give quality care to the American public. My hard work would be so much more fruitful if the PA profession had more support from the nursing community. When you hear a ridiculous characterization of a PA, call it out for the BS it is. When it is National PA Week, maybe give it a brief spot on your Facebook page. When you get wind of The View mocking the PA profession, be almost as mad as when they mocked your profession. ‘Cause right now we are the underdogs; Physician Assistants need a little support to make our profession better understood. As the PA profession continues to be the bridge the between people and access to healthcare, spreading understanding of what we do will only benefit patients. And I know the heart of nursing will always be patient care. That’s my heart as well.