Dear Senator Walsh,
An apology to Nurses is owed.
I’m not here to bad mouth you publicly. I’m here to provide context.
The reason responses to your comments have gone viral in the last 5 days is because you spoke tactlessly. In one fell swoop, you insulted the most trusted profession by questioning their work-ethic and integrity.
That’s why everyone’s angry, even Non-nurse healthcare professionals are responding outraged to your comments.
I’ve worked with Nurses, Nurse Practitioner Students, and Nurse Practitioners for the past 5 years, and you would be hard pressed to find another healthcare profession that is this underrepresented in Media, legislation, and hospital hierarchy.
Nurses, very much like teachers, are overworked and unpaid. Despite this, you still cannot find another healthcare professional that cares so deeply about their patient outcomes, patient’s families, and hospital operations.
A piece of advice from someone who isn’t a healthcare professional, but has spent years advocating for them…
Listen, empathize, and speak tactfully.
Remember you will never be able to relate. This is simply because you’re not a nurse. But you can always empathize. I understand that you may “Have the greatest respect of Nurses”, but that doesn’t give you the right to speak indelicately about a profession you’re unfamiliar with. Remember, you’re not a nurse.
An apology is owed.
Initially you may not think so, perhaps you still feel strongly about your comments regarding Nurses in critical access hospitals.
But, an apology is owed to a community that already is slighted and under-represented.
As a lawmaker, you are a public figure. Given your position, people naturally trust you and thus your words should need to be chosen very carefully. You have the responsibility to consult your constituents formally regarding legislation that you’re not familiar with. Had you consulted with Nurses in a small focus group regarding your thoughts, the negative response would have become quite clear, and avoidable.
As a result, in the future, your quotes will be taken out of context and used by administrators, investors, and opposition to undermine the work nurses do daily.
While you had zero intention of offending an industry of 4 million, you did exactly that. And worse, you armed opposition with misinformation.
Nurses didn’t deserve that.
Krish Chopra, Co-Founder/CEO of NPHub, Inc. 30 under 30 2019.