"Just a Nurse" "Just a Nurse" | allnurses

"Just a Nurse"

  1. 11 I am sure that this Suzzane Gorden poem has been posted here before...sorry for the repeat. Been chaotic days in my hospital, and want us all to honor our profession and keep in mind the real difference we make in others' lives.

    Just A Nurse

    I'm 'just a nurse.' I just make the difference between life and death.
    I'm 'just a nurse.' I just have the educated eyes that prevent medical errors, injuries and other catastrophes.
    I'm 'just a nurse.' I just make the difference between healing, coping, and despair.
    I'm 'just a nurse.' I just make the difference between pain and comfort.
    I'm'just a nurse.' I'm just a nurse researcher who helps nurses and doctors give better, safer and more effective care.
    I'm'just a nurse.' I'm just a professor of nursing who educates future generations of nurses.
    I'm 'just a nurse.' I just work in a major teaching hospital managing and monitoring patients who are involved in cutting edge experimental medical research.
    I'm 'just a nurse.' I just educate patients and families about how to maintain their health.
    I'm 'just a nurse.' I'm just a geriatric nurse practitioner. I make the difference between staying in one's own home and going to a nursing home.
    I'm 'just a nurse.' I just make the difference between dying in agony and dying in comfort and with dignity.
    I'm'just a nurse.' I'm just the real bottom-line in health care.
    Don't you want to be 'just a nurse' too?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. Visit  locolorenzo22 profile page
    #1 1
    too true...too true....
  4. Visit  VMSR profile page
    #2 2
    Caveat: I'm a nursing student. But I really dislike this ...'poem'. It is filled with passive-aggressive 'modesty', which , personally, drives me nuts. I hate image of nurses as "angels in white" and prefer to think of my profession as just that: profession (this is, by the way, really unappreciated concept). Give me tough and demanding every day over this kind of schlock.
  5. Visit  NurseLoveJoy88 profile page
    #3 1
    love the poem! And proud to be just a nurse
  6. Visit  JBudd profile page
    #4 11
    VMSR: schlock? no, try sarcasm, or reality

    As a student, you might not have hit that attitude face to face yet. Yes we are professionals, but we seen to be the only ones who know it. And too many of us don't always present ourselves "that way", we are too busy doing our jobs professionally to be outwardly "tough and demanding" let alone bragging about it. We hope our actions would speak for themselves, but much of the public doesn't seem to be listening.

    I was in a room with a girl with long term vague abd pain who thought since all her previous doctors hadn't figured it out surely an ER visit would. Her doc put her up for discharge, and as I went in to do it, her boyfriend started to ask me (rather good) questions. She shut him up with "don't ask her, she's just a nurse!". Whereupon I stood up straight, looked her in the eye and said "I am not JUST a nurse, I am a highly educated health care professional", turned to him and answered all his questions. She was taken aback, and then started to ask questions herself.
  7. Visit  Coffee Nurse profile page
    #5 5
    Quote from JBudd
    VMSR: schlock? no, try sarcasm, or reality

    As a student, you might not have hit that attitude face to face yet. Yes we are professionals, but we seen to be the only ones who know it. And too many of us don't always present ourselves "that way", we are too busy doing our jobs professionally to be outwardly "tough and demanding" let alone bragging about it. We hope our actions would speak for themselves, but much of the public doesn't seem to be listening.

    I was in a room with a girl with long term vague abd pain who thought since all her previous doctors hadn't figured it out surely an ER visit would. Her doc put her up for discharge, and as I went in to do it, her boyfriend started to ask me (rather good) questions. She shut him up with "don't ask her, she's just a nurse!". Whereupon I stood up straight, looked her in the eye and said "I am not JUST a nurse, I am a highly educated health care professional", turned to him and answered all his questions. She was taken aback, and then started to ask questions herself.
    Spot on, JBudd. VSMR, try hearing the words "just a nurse" in the voice of a belittling patient, doctor, or other non-nursing individual, and maybe the irony and professional pride of the piece will click into place for you.
  8. Visit  yetanotheramanda profile page
    #6 2
    Quote from VMSR
    Caveat: I'm a nursing student. But I really dislike this ...'poem'. It is filled with passive-aggressive 'modesty', which , personally, drives me nuts. I hate image of nurses as "angels in white" and prefer to think of my profession as just that: profession (this is, by the way, really unappreciated concept). Give me tough and demanding every day over this kind of schlock.


    scholck, huh? It makes me sad that you don't get the complexities of our PROFESSION. We may not be "angels in white," but we do make a huge difference in people's lives. We do that by being licensed, extremely educated, & highly trained professionals.
    Sigh. Since you are "just" a student I guess you will understand someday. Whoops, did that sound condescending? Doesn't feel too good, does it? I think that is the point of the poem.
    Anyway, good luck with school. You are on your way to joining a unique and amazing profession. We should always appreciate each other, even if others don't appreciate us like we deserve.
  9. Visit  VMSR profile page
    #7 0
    Thank you all for replying to mu comment: I'm really glad to have this discussion. It is highly likely that my opinion will come to bite me in the rear (happened few times before, too) but I think that one should never call herself/himself "just a nurse", not even ironically, or sarcastically. We train to be skilled professionals, and decide on literal life and death matters. There's nothing "just nurse" about it. I believe that more we project this face to the public, the more public will treat us with respect. Nurse power!
  10. Visit  meandragonbrett profile page
    #8 3
    Quote from VMSR
    Caveat: I'm a nursing student. But I really dislike this ...'poem'. It is filled with passive-aggressive 'modesty', which , personally, drives me nuts. I hate image of nurses as "angels in white" and prefer to think of my profession as just that: profession (this is, by the way, really unappreciated concept). Give me tough and demanding every day over this kind of schlock.
    Oh, to be young and still possessing rose colored glasses. Come back 12 months after graduate and revisit this thread.
  11. Visit  Aurora77 profile page
    #9 1
    I really like this poem. I'm a nursing student too and the thing I like best about my new profession is the fact that we're highly educated professionals who are also "just" angels in white.
  12. Visit  VMSR profile page
    #10 0
    @Meandragonbrett
    LOL. I'll keep your advice in mind. But, alas, I'm not young, or in posession of rose collored glases: nursing will be my second career, and I used to work as a newspaper reporter. I already have a black, shriveled heart .
  13. Visit  meandragonbrett profile page
    #11 0
    Quote from VMSR
    @Meandragonbrett
    LOL. I'll keep your advice in mind. But, alas, I'm not young, or in posession of rose collored glases: nursing will be my second career, and I used to work as a newspaper reporter. I already have a black, shriveled heart .
    LOL. I was referring to being a youngin` in nursing. =) Welcome...dig in....and come work in my unit...I need some help!
  14. Visit  jessi1106 profile page
    #12 0
    Wow, thanks for the discussion.
    Here is what Suzzane Gorden has to say about her poem:

    In 2001, out of a sense of frustration and even outrage the persistent devaluation of nursing, I sat down to write "Just a Nurse." Since I began writing about nursing more than 20 years ago I've heard the phrase "I'm just a nurse," over and over again. It's almost always followed by an explanatory comment like:
    "I'm not an expert on health care, so how can I voice my opinions?"
    " If I do express my views, no one will listen to me anyway."
    "Who am I to make my concerns known?"
    What made me even more alarmed was hearing nurses "just a nurse" each other. For example, all too often Nurse Practitioners or other Advanced Practice Nurses would tell me that they never wanted anyone to think that they were, God forbid, 'just a nurse. "
    After hearing this phrase for years, I sat down and wrote "Just a Nurse." I conceived "Just a Nurse" not as a poem, but as a recruitment campaign for nursing. It was reproduced in the book I wrote with my colleague Bernice Buresh From Silence to Voice. I usually read it at the end of most of my lectures. It's become so popular that I decided to make a poster of it.

    A lot of people have said that they appreciate the poster and poem. Mary Tonges, Vice President of Patient Care Services at the University of North Carolina Medical Center told me my favorite story. She was talking to a nurse who came out with "Hey I'm just a nurse, and she responded, "no you aren't" and gave her the poster. I hope you can find it of use as well.

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