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- Sep 10, '10 by nursemikeSee, I like the post above, even though I largely disagree with it. I've been following a debate on another thread as to whether nursing is a skilled trade or a profession. I've preferred the term "craft," since it seems to me to include both the art and the science of nursing. I've argued that the whole idea of a "profession" is obsolete, and I still think that's largely true. But the poster has helped me clarify in my mind what I think makes nursing a profession and not just a job.
Caring. I don't mean to say I didn't care when I was flipping burgers, and I certainly cared about carpentry. I was downright philosophical about carpentry. But the thing about nursing is, any reasonably intelligent person can learn the technical side of it. Nothing I learned in nursing school was especially deep or complicated; it was the sheer volume of information that made it hard work. Most of the particular tasks I do in my work are straightforward enough, it's just a matter of setting priorities about which need done first and getting as many done as I can. Does it really take a college education to push metoprolol? It takes some education, because it isn't just pushing the plunger, and it probably does take college to learn whether to ask the doc to order metoprolol or labetalol. Still, it isn't something a lot of people couldn't learn.
Now, I don't subscribe to the view that nursing must be a holy vocation. I've known aides that care very deeply about their patients, and that doesn't make them nurses. Still, I think what makes nursing a profession is the personal investment we make, rather than the tasks we perform. I don't "wipe butts" for a living. Most of the time, if a butt needs wiped, I call the aide, because I have other things to do that the aide can't do. Still, I'll wipe a butt when I need to, and when I do, I'm there, doing it, not off somewhere in my mind. Many of the tasks I do during a shift are uncomplicated, but none of them are unimportant, and I'm engaged in what I'm doing pretty much the entire shift (Okay, my mind does wander a bit, at times, when I'm charting. But even then, I try to focus.)
And, if I understand the OP correctly, I think that's the crux of her problem. It's okay, I think, if what draws one to nursing is the opportunity to make a living wage, as long as one is willing to enter the profession with the level of commitment required to do it well. Part of that commitment is recognizing that our product isn't widgets, it's human lives. Part is realizing that we don't stop being nurses when we clock out. We are required to think and learn about nursing even when we are off the clock, and to continue to do so throughout our career. Part, too, is understanding that we aren't executives, that our profession is one that demands we glove up and get in there when it's called for.
For many, nursing is a form of ministry, and I have no problem with that, as long as they are willing to nurse first. For me, it remains a field where I think I can do some good, for myself and others. I once commented on another thread that one positive aspect of leaving work in tears is that we have a job that is worth leaving in tears. And I'm afraid I have to agree with the OP, that a nurse who isn't prepared to put that much of himself/herself into the work probably isn't going to be a very good nurse. It's not just a job, it's an adventure. Or something like that.
- Sep 10, '10 by dlatimerThanks, Mike. It is good to read a logical argument about nursing as a profession. I think nursing is a profession, but each person can have the nursing skill. Some have more technical knowledge and skills, others have compassion and love - there are the few who have both. I enjoy work/nursing as a profession more when I work with people who have the commitment and passion that can be shared. They earn my respect whether they push a broom or wipe a butt. Each is a valuable member of a group that is required to deliver excellent healthcare. Passion for quality of life - my own, is what is most important to me. Sharing that quality with others makes all the terrible conditions worth it.
- Sep 11, '10 by Awright162The economy sucks, we need money too.
I admit being a nurse is not a job that was on the very top of the list of things I want to do with my life. But the way things look right now. I say why not, I believe I can learn a lot from this job, yes I'd be hard but I'll be okay.
I have many reasons for being a nurse. One would be to make money, others is for the experience and job security.
I may not have chosen to be a nurse for the exact same reason as you did, but I am going to do my very best to do this job well. I hope to get along with my future colleagues that think like you.
- Sep 14, '10 by MAISY, RN-ERAll I can say is "Really?"
I thought nursing got rid of the "Martyr Marys" when the nuns became scarce!
No one works for free.
Those with money only motives- don't last.
Nursing is hard work.
I enjoy the people, but I also enjoy how it challenges my mind. I am pretty autonomous in the ER and like working as part of the team. Then again, I don't do bedside nursing. Oh, and I like the money.
The truth is time is money, nursing ratios stink, patients do not get what they pay for and are in danger if family doesn't stay with them.....all because hospitals, nursing homes and rehab facilities are run by BIG BUSINESS!
I lost my management job due to downsizing in technology, my classmates were all like me. They made up 90% of my graduating class, the others who were sent as homemakers, transitioned workers, whatever couldn't pass muster in my very selective, crush all students school. So, most of the ones with "heart" or the "want" to be a nurse did not make the grade. All of the business/previously educated, people with drive and life experience did. The ones with whom I maintain contact work ER, OR, Radiology/specials, Management, PACU, and various step down units. If you'll note: short term care, higher level, autonomous, team environments, minimal bedside and family contact. Places where the money is good and reflect their lifetime abilities. Most have gotten their BSN and are working on expanding their knowledge with other certifications and MSN/MS degrees.
I will never be a bedside nurse, I tried it....loved it, but hated it.....the attachments made are too hard...my oncology friends are fantastic, and I am just not that good. It was too emotional, and I have a life outside of the hospital that would be compromised if I invested that much....but that's me. I was glad to have an opportunity to be that nurse for awhile.
I think there are placed for all of us in life. Nursing has many facets, and we all fit somewhere. Don't hate the fact that people want to be compensated for their abilities and what they bring to the table. Some areas truly require an expertise that is worth the extra expense. Let's face it, I can't spend time with the vomiting patient when I am involved in monitoring and evaluating the potential code; that's what I am paid to do. Critical care with the unknown-separate the wheat from the chaff...what's important....yet care for them all successfully.
I wouldn't want my no nonsense self for the bedside, but would want the OP; however I would definitely want someone like me advocating, fighting, and making sure someone was looking out for my emergent care in the ER!
All nurses count, all make a difference in their way, even those putting in time do what needs to be done.....
- Sep 14, '10 by dlatimerI agree that each person should do what they love, or at least enjoy. I always ask myself: If this patient was my mother how would I want her to be treated? All the tasks you listed are just that. More skill is needed for some, but regardless of the task, if it is done with compassion - the patient knows and will respond favorably. Many times weaning patients from ventilators requires their cooperation and effort. If they don't trust me, they won't make it. Maybe, it comes down to trust - patients, doctors, co-workers, etc.
- Sep 15, '10 by MAISY, RN-ERBeen there with the family, and I agree with wanting the best, but priorities can differ and quite honestly a patient that requres toileting or to be changed will take a back seat to anything emergent. Not what I'd want for my family or self, but necessary to the ER and the constant, neverending flow of unstable people through the doors.
It amazes me that the units handle my patients as only 1:2 when I sometimes have several unit patients with emergent care and stabilization along with regular patients.
Perhaps, if ratios applied nursing would be better everywhere...oh, also having some ancillary help wouldn't hurt either.
- Sep 16, '10 by finlyoneGrad students worked hard for their degree in nursing and should be respected just as older nurses want to be. I have seen some who are just two years into their nursing complaining about new grads and how "all they want is money". The majority of grads cannot wait to get out there and get experience so they can become great nurses and yes they are caring and no they do not know a lot in the way of experience but they will just as the older nurses do. Actually they might be able to renew the older nurses love for nursing
- Sep 20, '10 by jtmarcy12I agree with what you are saying about people coming into nursing for job security and money. Unfortunately many are realizing that nursing is not as easy as they thought it would be. Which is why there is such a a 'glut' now, because everyone was 'running' to get into nursing school and now those who recently graduated are having to wait to get jobs. It is unknown how long that wait will be. Here in California we have 5/1 on med/surg. floor, imagine in other states that don't have this protection, they are given whatever patients the charge nurse wants them to have, and the nurses are too afraid to say anything for fear of loosing their jobs. I was recently told by a nurse that a hospital in FL (West Palm Beach) are making ICU nurses take 3 patients. I think this is very dangerous and unsafe!!!!. These patients are very ill, near death and need 1/1 care, but because hospitals are not hiring nurses now, trying to maxmize profits, managers feel they can do this and get away with it. I am glad I work here in CA. We have a good union and certainly will not tolerate nurses in ICU taking 3 patients each this is just insane!!! If nurses for just once can support each other this would not happen!!!!. The hotel workers here in CA stand together and strike even in this economy, but because they stand together they can strike even if for a few days. Why can't we nurses do this? When will we began to support each other and finally stand up for SAFE patient care!! When the union try to come in don't run and tell management to collect 'brownie points' remember this is for safe patient care and YOUR JOB protection!!!!!
- Sep 21, '10 by badphishWe need to fight for each other. Fight for the respect this profession has earned. I agree patient/nurse ratios are pretty much whatever we are told they are. 2/1 in ICU Seems the norm here in central Florida with oftentimes 3/1. As long we emphasize the caring angel nurse and not the skilled lifesaving life maintaining professional nurse our employers will do what they please. We must stand up for safe patient to nurse ratios and safe work environments. Nurse ard punched stabbed bitten shot. Each day in the job. And raped in the parking lot. After their 12 hour shift. Sisters of mercy. We are not. Caring angels we are not. Skilled professionals. That hospitals are built around we are.
- Sep 22, '10 by bob8dgood day... I am a newly grad, taking bachelor of science in nursing in the philippines... now i am in the United States and I wish to take the NCLEX ... I have not taken any licensure exam before. I dont have any clue about the requirements or the stuff i need to do in order to be a candidate or should i say if I am qualified to take the exam... I'm thinking if someone here can help me and give me some advice or idea... thanks..