I came into this profession with false information, ignorant facts, and blindfolds on. I was deluded into thinking that nursing IS what it’s always been.
Before I entered nursing school I had the same ‘cookie-cutter’ opinion’s as John Q Public. In fact I blogged about this once before.
“A nurse passes pills and cleans up poop right?”
“A nurse is the doctors subordinate right?”
“A nurse wears that funny white outfit and hat right?”
“Women are nurses and men are doctors right?”
Hell, before I even started nursing school the jokes were being thrown around.
“Hey what color skirt are you wearing?”
“A male nurse? Are you gay?”
“Why a nurse? Why not a doctor?”
“Oh you’re a MALE-nurse, I mean a Murse”
“So they only hire you because you can help lift patients”
“Where’s your nursing cap?”
I guess it was equally my own fault. I was part of the ‘cancerous mindset’. I didn’t know enough, nor had I seen anything to diffuse or rebuke the public’s opinion.
5 years later.
I’ve been a nurse over 3 years now, and my opinion has changed greatly. In fact my level of disgust, anger and disappointment seems to grow each time this topic surfaces.
This profession as a whole has overcome many obstacles, but we are no where near where we could and should be.
When you see the ‘sexy-nurse’, or you see the historical ‘hand-maiden’ in the all white uniform donning her white cap, what comes to mind? Do you ever consider the implications it has on the nursing profession? Did you ever wonder what the public thinks of when they hear the word nurse? Here is what Yahoo’s search engine thinks.
That is the public’s opinion and what they find when they look for a ‘nurse’.
I’m here to tell you different.
We are no longer a subservient hand-maiden who’s purpose is to simply follow and take orders. We no longer are simply populated by one gender. We are no longer seen in just the hospital setting. We are no longer limited to only hospital/community based education.
We are a profession of women AND men. We are populated by independent thinkers who have advanced education and degrees, possess national certifications and serve as educators to fellow medical professionals as well as as fellow nurses.
Our profession has grown exponentially over the past few decades. We’ve matured from a profession that dealt with nothing but glass-bottled medications that were administered by gravity tubing to advanced medical machinery that delivers medication and monitors a human being’s heart from the inside out..
We nurses save lives everyday. If we have a bad day, someone can and could die. The gravity of our responsibility reaches far beyond what you see in the office, or in the hospital, or in the clinic. Our DAILY multi-tasking responsibility can and would make the most agile and sharp-minded stock broker blush. And we do it all as a new or seasoned nurse these days. Have you heard about the nursing shortage?
And we do it EVERYDAY. We work the long hours. We tolerate the cliche’s, the stereotypes and stigmatism because we are here for one reason. Our patients. Yes I said it. OUR patients. We are the ones who know you best. We are the ones the physicians look to when needing valuable information to make the best decisions when managing your care.
We tolerate the unjustly and untrue opinions because we know you just don’t know, or you just don’t understand. Those who need us, know us. And those who know us, know the difference.
At least, in my humble opinion, I think they should.
This blog post stemmed from a ‘discussion’ on Twitter. I started a discussion about a particular blog post from a nursing student. I won’t link to the post here simply because I meant and mean no harm to him personally. His post was all done in fun. He posted a blog entry on his Halloween costume. And as you can imagine from the theme of my blog post, it had something to do with the public’s predisposition about nurses and nursing. Many opinions were given and needless to say the topic became quite popular for a short time. And it motivated me and a few others to want to blog about this. I chalked it up to my ‘passionate’ demeanor, and the blogger admitted he had no intentions of making this kind of impact.
Ignorance can be bliss. But being blind is not blissful. The moment you laugh or become entertained by the ‘sexy-nurse’, or the ‘old-bitty’ pre-historic hand-maiden, is the moment you empower the public to keep living the lie. Why do you think we as a profession have such a difficult task at hand. The majority rules right now, and you saw what the majority thinks of when they hear ‘nurse’.
I believe we have earned our right as a profession and deserve the respect it rightfully demands. I may or may not be over-reacting about such a small incident, but I think of this battle everyday I go to work. I think about this battle everyday I watch television. I think about this battle every time nursing is discussed. How are we to win over the public’s opinion if we can’t even sway our own?
Are you getting the point yet?
(No he did not dress up as a naughty nurse- but does it really matter? Both outfits bare the same weight)