Ellen DeGeneres welcomed Miss Colorado to Thursday’s “Ellen” show, when the host offered a platform for Kelley Johnson to respond to critics of her “Just a Nurse” monologue at Sunday’s Miss America pageant.
Johnson used the talent portion of the competition to share the story of one of her most memorable patients, Joe, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. While many applauded the eventual second runner-up, comedians Michelle Collins and Joy Behar mocked the move on Monday’s “The View.” The two have since walked back from their statements, praising the nursing profession and saying their remarks were taken out of context.
“Yeah, so a lot of people told me not to do a monologue for talent — it’s very unique, but I am a nurse,” Johnson responded Thursday on “Ellen.” “And that’s my talent is taking care of people and caring about other people. And so I wanted to give the nurses that don’t have that voice that voice and that recognition of just somebody going up there and just being a a little bit different and unique.”
“And I talked about a patient that I took care of who had Alzheimer’s, and I know that that hits home for a lot of people and it’s not something that’s really easy for people to talk about,” she continued. “And I thought, ya know, I want to go up there and I want to be authentic. I want to be Kelley. And if I’m ever going to win Miss America I want to do it being myself. And I’m a nurse!”
Later, Johnson touched on the eventual unification and support of nurses on social media, which caught fire via hashtag #NursesUnite as a direct result of the “View” jokes.
“It was just so much fun to perform that, to see it trend on Twitter and Facebook especially being able to bring all those nurses together and have everyone standing up for our profession and giving them the voice that they deserve,” Johnson concluded. “They work so hard and they are life savers and that’s all the message I wanted to give. It’s about them, not about me.”
Watch the video above.