Nurses across New York state reacted with outrage to comments made by talk-show host Kelly Ripa on March 12, the day her co-host Regis Philbin announced he would undergo coronary bypass surgery. Ripa promised to put on her “little nursie costume” and be Philbin's “sponge bath nurse.” A few days later, after Philbin's surgery, she repeated, “Nursie-poo is coming with her sponge.”
Ripa's comments perpetuated an inaccurate and damaging image of nurses. They were amplified by a photo in the New York Post of Ripa wearing a mini-skirted nurse outfit (complete with cap and high heels) in an episode of her defunct sitcom, "Hope and Faith."
This destructive and demeaning attitude toward professional nurses is not funny to RNs who must deal with sexual harassment in their workplaces. It trivializes nursing practice and serves to discourage the best and the brighest from becoming nurses.
NYSNA President Verlia M. Brown has written to Ripa demanding an apology (attachment above; .pdf format). NYSNA encourages all nurses to send similar messages: a campaign has been launched at www.nursingadvocacy.org.
With more than 34,000 members, NYSNA is the oldest and largest state nurses’ association in the nation. It is an influential union for RNs, representing nurses in New York and New Jersey. Offering a wide range of services to its members, NYSNA fosters high standards of nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. It is a constituent of the American Nurses Association and of the United American Nurses, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.