Arin Piramzadian, DO, posted this photo to his Facebook page after feeling frustrated by comments made about nurses on “The View.” (Photo: Facebook)
Members of the medical community are not happy with The View after several show co-hosts made disparaging remarks about a Miss America contestant who spoke about her job as a nurse during the pageant’s talent portion. Among the comments: “Why is she wearing a doctor’s stethoscope?” (The View co-hosts have since apologized.)
But nurses were not impressed, and the hashtag #NursesUnite quickly went viral on Twitter.
Arin Piramzadian, DO, an emergency medicine physician in Jacksonville, N.C., wasn’t thrilled either and decided to speak up for his colleagues. He posed for a photo, wearing the stethoscopes of several nurses in the hospital where he works, and posted it on Facebook with the following message:
“I would like to thank ‘The View’ for reminding me to confiscate all the doctor stethoscopes since my nurses only use it as fashion accessories. Let’s just hope none of the 200 patients in the ED today need vitals taken, have to be triaged, need to be reevaluated or have unimportant organs like lungs, heart or bowels that need to be evaluated. Let’s just hope the nurses don’t want their nurse costumes back from me.”
The photo went viral, earning nearly more than 330,000 shares and nearly 30,000 likes in less than 24 hours.
Piramzadian tells Yahoo Health he decided to take the photo on a whim after walking into work and seeing the outrage of his colleagues over the “incredible condescending and demeaning comments” made about them on The View.
A little more about what sparked it all: Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson performed a monologue in which she discussed her profession as a nurse.
But some of the talk show’s co-hosts thought it was funny.
“There was a girl who wrote her own monologue and I was like ‘Turn the volume up, this is going be amazing, let’s listen’,” said show co-host Michelle Collins. “She came out in a nurse’s uniform and basically read her emails out loud and shockingly did not win…it was hilarious.“
“Why does she have a doctor’s stethoscope on?” added Joy Behar. Responded Collins: “She helps patients with Alzheimer’s, which I know is not funny, but I swear you had to see it.”
(The American Nurses Association released a statement on Wednesday, calling the remarks “disturbing.”)
“To put down not only nurses but men and women in general who dedicate their lives selflessly for others left a very bitter taste,” Piramzadian says.
Since he was a little early for his shift, he borrowed a few stethoscopes from his nurse colleagues and asked another nurse to snap the photo.
“I expected the picture to be seen only by my own staff and friends as my initial privacy settings [on Facebook] are very strict, but within minutes people were sharing the picture and it just spread like wildfire while I was working,” he says. (He later decided to make the photo public.)
Behar apologized on Wednesday’s show, saying, "I was looking at a Miss America tape, and there’s a woman wearing an outfit with a stethoscope, and I’m thinking is she in a costume? It’s not like I was trying to be funny. It was just stupid and inattentive. I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.”
Despite the apology, Piramzadian is still annoyed by the comments. “Nurses are the backbone of the medical community,” he says. “Without a nurse, no patient care is possible.”
Nurses work tirelessly alongside doctors and other medical professionals in physician’s offices, nursing homes, and hospitals. But they often don’t get recognition for the work that they do.
Among the many important duties they perform in Piramzadian’s emergency department: Triaging patients when they walk in based on how severe their medical issues are, calling doctors if there is an immediate medical attention, alleviating anxiety that comes with being in an ER, starting IVs and medications, getting blood work, and constantly updating doctors on patients.
Despite often being seen as “less important” than doctors or even mocked for their profession (remember Meet the Parents?), research backs up the importance of their role. A study from the University of Pennsylvania released earlier this year found that patients who visit hospitals in which nurses play a large role have a 20 percent lower chance of dying than those in other hospitals.
And it’s not an easy job.
“Unfortunately, people in the general public do not understand how hard a job it is to leave your family for 12+hour shifts, to miss family events and holidays because we are here to take care of them,” Piramzadian says. “There is nothing more frustrating or infuriating than having to walk into a patient’s room to hear a nurse either being talked down to or even threatened. I respect my nurses and if you do not show the same respect to them, I will make sure that you do.”
Sanford Vieder, DO, the medical director of Lakes Urgent Care in West Bloomfield, Michigan, echos the sentiment. “The comments made on The View are absolutely deplorable,” he tells Yahoo Health. “There is no way physicians are successful without nurses.”
Vieder says nurses are often “silent partners” in patient care, adding that he stresses to new medical students that it’s vital they respect their nursing staff. “If you don’t respect the nurses that you work with, they will break you — not in patient care, obviously, but in paperwork and all of the other important duties they perform,” he says. “They pick up the pieces where we fall apart.”
While Piramzadian is surprised by the attention his photo has received, he’s happy for the “overwhelming” response, adding, “at least it is for a reason that matters.”
Read This Next: When a Nurse Is as Good as a Doctor