"Just" a nurse? You can do so much better! - page 2

When I announce my choice of career, I often get looks of disappointment along with the, "But... you're too smart to be a nurse. You should be a doctor," line, or, "Oh, you couldn't get into med... Read More

  1. by   nursemike
    This isn't a problem I've run into a lot. Most of the people who matter to me are proud of my going back to school and getting my ASN, and respect my choice to be a nurse. A few nurses I know have said I must be nuts, but they've said it in a nice way--sort of. (I'm beginning to see their point, although I love what I'm doing. I do wonder at times if I couldn't have challenged myself to do something easy, but it's kinda late for that, now.)

    My standard reply to the doctor question is "Why go to all the trouble to become a doctor, when I can just marry one?" Of course, that might not sound so ironic if I weren't a 49 yr old bachelor (with cats). Still, it's kind of fun to keep people off balance.
  2. by   Mona Mona
    Wow, that's amazing that someone would say that to you! I'm getting the opposite remarks here. How wonderful it is I want to become a nurse and how hard it is for the schooling, and the job. Also, a few of the "Oh, you'll be SO rich!" comments also. :uhoh21: Uh, I could probably make more staying in the accounting field like where I was headed, but, we'll never know now.

    It's funny because I hate telling people I am an Administrative Assistant, "secretary" is all they hear. "You're so much smarter than that!", when I have had some VERY demanding positions, but, never got recognized for my hard work.

    I want to be a nurse because I want a job I can be PROUD of. I know I will feel pride in telling people I am a nurse, and I hope I can respond gracefully if someone ever questions my career choice.
  3. by   MASSRN2B
    I have had similar experiences with my parents and I am 31! Throughout high school my sister and I were typical overachievers. It was pre-determined that I would be a doctor and my sister would be a lawyer. Well my sister is a lawyer and I am an accountant (disappointment #1)However, I had always wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to go to the local vo-tech HS to take the LPN program. You can imagine how well that request was received. I had to have an occupation that could be bragged about.

    When I told my family last year that I was reducing my work schedule to part time in order to go to nursing school the immediate reaction was "if you're going to do that, why not medical school?". You are too smart for nursing...you'll make less $, etc. (All of the same things that have been mentioned by other posters).

    I don't understand where this comes from. As a mother, I want my children to do what feels right for them and will make them content with their lives.

    Maybe its an "older generation" or cultural issue only--money is more important than being happy.
  4. by   unknown99
    When people tell you that, just tell them that nurses are the spine of physicians!!
  5. by   ICRN2008
    Quote from leaflet
    I was once one of those people who didn't understand nursing and thought that I would be selling myself short to go to nursing school when I was more than likely capable of medical school. I spent time checking out every healthcare field besides nursing, music therapy, physical, occupational, speech, dietician you name it I researched it. And over time I realized that what I wanted to do incorporated all of these things. I wanted to take care of the whole patient, understand their condition and all the interrelating factors. Nursing is where I ended up and as I learned more about the field I realized that I would much rather be a nurse than a doctor. Nurses look at the whole person and are with them each step of the way, we get to know the patient and their needs and understand the treatments. I am in school still, but have worked as a tech and know that nursing is where I am supossed to be. I love to take care of people and do a good job and use my critical thinking skills to do it. It is not a pud job. Some people really don't know what nurses do, they see them in the doctors office and see them simply take a blood pressure or jot down notes and thats what they think nursing is. It is time for people to better understand nursing and I would say that it is our job to caringly help them to understand the nurses role in healthcare. I don't know that much about the history of nursing but what I do know inspires me. As a profession I think there is a growing respect for the profession and there have been steps made to recognize nurses as professionals, but society will take time to catch up and see nursing for what it is.

    I can totally relate to this! When I got to college, I thought I'd be selling myself short by becoming a nurse. So, I became a medical technologist because it was "harder" (more math, more chemistry) and ended up not liking it because there's no patient contact. Now, a few years later, I'm back in school to become a nurse. I guess some of us have to learn the hard way that it's more important to follow your heart than to worry about what other people think.
  6. by   1Tulip
    1. First and foremost of all...because nurses get to deal with the WHOLE patient (including, sometimes their WHOLE family) not just some of his/her symptoms.

    2. Because until there was a genuine, educated (for the day) cadre of nurses, medical science could not have progressed. (If there had been no one to recover patients, for example, surgical advances would have been futile.)

    4) Because back when doctors were still just apprenticing and there were no established criteria for an MD degree, admission to nursing school required a high school diploma, and the course of study was a structured three year program.

    3) Nursing is one of the toughest under-graduate majors.

    4) Nursing requires knowlege of a wide range of social sciences and physical sciences.

    5) Nursing is a Renaissance Science, and a highly collaborative discipline.

    6) Because nurses are the glue that keeps a modern health care system together. Without nurses the system is a highly sophisticated machine with no drive shaft and no wheels. Runs great, but gets nowhere.

    I love docs. I'm married to one. One of my daughters is in Med School, but I've never had any desire to be anything but a great nurse.
  7. by   Mona Mona
    Way to go 1Tulip! Well said!
  8. by   AMARTIN1
    Quote from 1Tulip
    1. First and foremost of all...because nurses get to deal with the WHOLE patient (including, sometimes their WHOLE family) not just some of his/her symptoms.

    2. Because until there was a genuine, educated (for the day) cadre of nurses, medical science could not have progressed. (If there had been no one to recover patients, for example, surgical advances would have been futile.)

    4) Because back when doctors were still just apprenticing and there were no established criteria for an MD degree, admission to nursing school required a high school diploma, and the course of study was a structured three year program.

    3) Nursing is one of the toughest under-graduate majors.

    4) Nursing requires knowlege of a wide range of social sciences and physical sciences.

    5) Nursing is a Renaissance Science, and a highly collaborative discipline.

    6) Because nurses are the glue that keeps a modern health care system together. Without nurses the system is a highly sophisticated machine with no drive shaft and no wheels. Runs great, but gets nowhere.

    I love docs. I'm married to one. One of my daughters is in Med School, but I've never had any desire to be anything but a great nurse.
    So true!!
  9. by   talaxandra
    I don't get this from family and friends, but I hear it every now and then from other nurses!!! I've tried responding with sweetness, but now I say "It really disappoints me that you, a nurse, so devalue your own profession that you think it's possible for a nurse to be too smart." I usually mnage to say this calmly, but on occasion I can't manage to refrain from injecting the outrage and indination that I feel.
  10. by   jbeck817
    Quote from Mirai Kangofu
    Actually, I'd like a bit of help on explaining why being a doctor isn't all it's cracked up to be. The doctor stereotype is one that is ingrained in peoples' minds that no amount of convincing will change. Any more big points on what we nurses do?


    I don't hate doctors, please don't get the wrong idea, it's just that I don't like the fact that a doctor is automatically assumed to be the standard of perfection, and anything short is failure.

    Thanks everyone for your support!!!

    IMO, the doctor spends a small (10-15min) amt. of time with their patient. The nurse assigned to a group of patients often ends up noticing the intricacies of the pt's physical condition and notifies the doctor accordingly. I also think that we nurses are there on the "front lines" and truly obtain a whole picture of the pt's needs-and notify the doctor if we need to. We get to know them for a brief amount of time-but much longer than their doctor. Does that help?
  11. by   TheCommuter
    Perhaps the response to an individual's career choice is influenced by the educational level and socioeconomic status of the family members.

    I am the only child of two working-class parents who completed high school and went no further. I have about sixty cousins and no one in my family has completed college (with the exception of my 32-year-old RN cousin). I was accepted to three universities while still a senior in high school, but did not attend because my parents refused to co-sign the federal financial aid paperwork. I ended up entering the workforce immediately upon high school graduation.

    I began attending LVN school last year at the age of 23. I was able to obtain a Sallie Mae loan to finance the tuition because I had established credit over the 5 years since high school graduation (I'd already had a mortgage and credit cards by this time). My family was supportive of my enrollment in LVN school; however, they always asked questions such as "What kind of job can you get with a science class?"

    My point is that well-educated families, especially those with many doctors and lawyers, might frown upon nursing and fail to realize the amount of education that is needed to be an RN. Less-educated families with few college graduates might see nursing as a prestigious career; however, they might not realize the amount of knowledge that is needed to become a good nurse.

    Good luck to anyone who is considering the nursing profession, as it is a bona fide profession.
  12. by   grace90
    Your letter sounds terrific! Is it ok if I print your original post out and tack it up on the bulletin board in our staff bathroom? We tack up things like this occasionally- things to help boost the weakened nursing morale on the unit.
  13. by   nicuRN2007
    I have experienced this from both of my parents. Most people seem to admire my choice of profession. But when I first told my mom, she tried to change my mind...she acted like she thought I was better than that. It really offended me. Then not too long ago, my dad asked me if I thought I might go to med school one day. I think that some people just don't realize what it means and what it takes to be a nurse. I don't want to be a doctor, I want to be a nurse. Even if med school took the same amount of time as nursing school did, I still would choose to be a nurse. Nursing entails a facet of caring that, in my oppinion, no other profession does. In my oppinion, doctor's just don't get the opportunity to care for their patients like nurses do. That's not to say that nurses are better, I certainly don't think that. Both are invaluable. It's just that being a doctor and being a nurse are too completely different professions in my eyes, and nursing is what appeals to me.

    By the way, the letter is awesome. I might just have to make a copy of it for my own use!
    Last edit by nicuRN2007 on Sep 29, '05

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