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The Nursing Predicament…

November 7, 2011

From numerous internet searches I’ve discovered there are many blogs geared for pre-med students, doctors, and PA students. There are few (at most) blogs available that talk about nursing and what we do. The purpose of this blog is to answer some of those questions nursing students and the general public often have. For example, “What do nurses actually do?” Additionally, my blog is here to share personal experiences from my daily nursing practice.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. The only way to generate awareness for the unique nursing profession is to share our ideas, knowledge, and stories with as many people who will listen!

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It wasn’t until I was in the 2nd year of nursing school  that I could truly explain what a nurse does. Sure, I knew they took care of patients and I knew that was what I wanted to do, but I couldn’t articulate their job description and it was difficult to find people who could explain it to me. Now, as a practicing RN, I find that in addition to my friends, family and acquaintances, many healthcare professionals do not even fully understand what a nurse does. The goal of this entry is to inform people of the knowledge deficit many individuals have when it comes to understanding the complex job description of a nurse.

I think many nursing students and professional nurses have been faced with the following predicament. You’ve just survived nursing school, graduated, passed the boards and maybe even got hired for your first job. I’m sure your families were proud, your friends gave you high-fives, and your significant others were excited that the madness of nursing school and studying for the boards was over so they could have your attention back. But somewhere in between all of the celebration, praise and panic you’ve realized that with the exception of your nursing classmates, practicing nurses, and some healthcare professionals, that not many people even understand the amount of hard work it takes to become a nurse, let alone what it means to practice as a nurse. Despite the detailed and exciting stories you shared about your clinical rotations, and/or stories from your new job, I’m not lying when I say, people just don’t get it.

I’m sure we’ve all talked to that person who asks, “Oh, a nurse? So you’re the person who takes the vital signs at the doctor’s office!” And the person who states, “Nursing? There is a real shortage of nurses, you will have no problem getting a job.” We can’t forget the person who says, “Nursing is a pretty easy job” (yes someone has said that to me). The point is, these situations exist everyday and we nurses are constantly trying to prove ourselves. Sure, nursing has come a long way since the days of Florence Nightingale, but we still have a long way to go in terms of making our profession known so people can truly respect what we do. Read my next entry, What a Nurse Really Does to get a sense of just that.

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