"You're a nurse...how wonderful!" (rant)

  1. I have been a nurse for less than a year, but I am already sick and tired of people acting like nursing is morally "better" than other jobs, like, say, computer science. I tell people I'm a nurse, and they get this dreamy look in their eyes and say "Oh, how wonderful! You get to touch so many people's lives...That's the best job in the world." Um, no, it's not. It's just another job, a job I personally happen to enjoy, but a job none the less. I don't work because I "love my patients." I work because I like the money, the responsibility, the busyness, the person-to-person interaction, and the science of complex diseases. Yes, I help people, but the second I get in my car after a day of work I forget about them. I *do* enjoy helping people, but IT'S A JOB, for heaven's sake. I work hard for my patients, but I'm not a Florence Nightingale getting poor suffering people cool washcloths for their foreheads and holding their hands all night. Which is what some people seem to think.

    I know I'm being incoherent, and I'm probably not making any sense, but I'm just tired of people acting like nurses hold some kind of moral "high ground." Just because I'm a nurse doesn't make me a better person than someone who's an accountant. It's just a different area of work. Some people like math, some people like science, some people like history. It doesn't make one class of people better than another. Thanks for listening
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    Personally, I'm never offended but proud when I get a positive reaction from lay people. However, I can say I don't get the reaction from others that you do, that they think it's morally superior. Usually people say things like "gee I could never do that".

    I'm proud when I read the annual polls that nurses are the most respected and considered the most honest of professions.

    But I agree, we're not better than anyone else. No one is, from the president to the gargabe man.
  4. by   JenTheRN
    Alright, I have to stir things up.

    I love my job because I love my patients. I work in OB, and I find my interaction with patients and families very fulfilling. I get to share a very important part in people's lives. I DO spend time wiping brows with cold washcloths. I DO think about my patients when I go home.

    I feel nursing is a very different sort of job that say, office work. We get to deal with people at the best and worst times of their lives. We get to usher people into and out of the world. We touch families, and many people will remember us for the rest of their lives. I'm very proud and touched when people get that dreamy look in their eyes. I'm proud to be a nurse, and I feel privileged to get to know my patients, and am humbled when people say that I have helped them in any way.

    Just wanted to put out a different perspective. I'm not trying to flame.
  5. by   canoehead
    I'm all about making the patient more comfortable and doing the best job I can, but rarely do I take it home with me. Unfortunately the biggest compliment a patient makes is "he/she really CARES." OK I care while I'm there, but I care about doing the best job I can. When it comes down to it whether the next trauma lives or dies makes no difference to me personally, but it will sure affect me if I think I didn't do something that might have made a difference to that person.

    Funny how my family has had several medical issues in the last year, and they are looking for a doc that "cares." I try to tell them that the docs you want don't care in the sense they mean, and they look at me like I'm totally heartless.
  6. by   angel337
    this is certaintly a switch. usually people complain that "nurses get no respect and people don't value what we do". now that we are complimented for having a career that most folks won't do if you paid them a million bucks it's insulting? i don't get it.
  7. by   clemmm78
    While I can understand what you mean (being a nurse is important, just as being a teacher is sort of thing), I'd never imagine getting upset over someone thinking that way. I do downplay it, saying that many people could be nurses, they just don't think they can, but nursing is different from office work. While some office work is vital, most office workers I know don't touch peoples' lives in such an intimate way as nurses do. We see people at their most vulnerable and ofte the outcome of their hospital stay has a lot to do with how we do our job and how we interact with the patients.

    So, yes, nursing is up there among the most important jobs there are. Sure, life would be a pain without a trash collector - but we could manage if we had to. We'd be terribly inconvenienced without mail carriers, but we'd find a way to cope. There are some jobs that are "word-aroundable", there are others, like nursing, that aren't. Plain and simple.
  8. by   arizonanurse
    I guess it's just that I don't think people appreciate the scientific side of nursing. People think that all we do is make people feel better - and that is true, and it's very fulfilling, and incredibly rewarding. But the scientific part of nursing is important too, and that's what I think most people don't appreciate. Checking labs, identifying sepsis, fighting the doc for the orders you need, reversing atelectasis - that is just as important and rewarding as wiping someone's brow. And it's a lot more difficult. It's not that I think lay people overappreciate nurses, it's just that I think they don't realize the magnitude of what we do.
  9. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Wow. Of all the things to be offended by.



    I like nursing for reasons other than just "caring for people", but I certainly do care for my patients enough to give them at least one thought when I leave.






    I'd love you to be my nurse.
  10. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Quote from arizonanurse
    I guess it's just that I don't think people appreciate the scientific side of nursing. People think that all we do is make people feel better - and that is true, and it's very fulfilling, and incredibly rewarding. But the scientific part of nursing is important too, and that's what I think most people don't appreciate. Checking labs, identifying sepsis, fighting the doc for the orders you need, reversing atelectasis - that is just as important and rewarding as wiping someone's brow. And it's a lot more difficult. It's not that I think lay people overappreciate nurses, it's just that I think they don't realize the magnitude of what we do.
    I can understand that, but the first post seemed kinda cold.
  11. by   chijon512
    Quote from arizonanurse
    I have been a nurse for less than a year, but I am already sick and tired of people acting like nursing is morally "better" than other jobs, like, say, computer science. I tell people I'm a nurse, and they get this dreamy look in their eyes and say "Oh, how wonderful! You get to touch so many people's lives...That's the best job in the world." Um, no, it's not. It's just another job, a job I personally happen to enjoy, but a job none the less. I don't work because I "love my patients." I work because I like the money, the responsibility, the busyness, the person-to-person interaction, and the science of complex diseases. Yes, I help people, but the second I get in my car after a day of work I forget about them. I *do* enjoy helping people, but IT'S A JOB, for heaven's sake. I work hard for my patients, but I'm not a Florence Nightingale getting poor suffering people cool washcloths for their foreheads and holding their hands all night. Which is what some people seem to think.

    I know I'm being incoherent, and I'm probably not making any sense, but I'm just tired of people acting like nurses hold some kind of moral "high ground." Just because I'm a nurse doesn't make me a better person than someone who's an accountant. It's just a different area of work. Some people like math, some people like science, some people like history. It doesn't make one class of people better than another. Thanks for listening
    Well I for one am a career changer who was previously involved in commerce/big business. Bottom line, profit, compliance, and other financial concerns.

    I am in nursing because I decided people count more than dollars.

    Have you considred that while it might be just a job for you...for some people, what they do for a living coincides or has to coinicde with their values? And those people might not comprehend that someone can spend their life "just doing some job?" People like that exist...and I happen to admire them.
  12. by   arizonanurse
    I can see how it did - it's so hard to convey tone on a web post. I didn't mean it that way, honestly.
  13. by   arizonanurse
    Quote from CRNASOMEDAY25
    I can understand that, but the first post seemed kinda cold.
    I can see how it did - it's so hard to convey tone on a web post. I didn't mean it that way, honestly.
  14. by   RunningWithScissors
    Checking labs, identifying sepsis, fighting the doc for the orders you need, reversing atelectasis - that is just as important and rewarding as wiping someone's brow. And it's a lot more difficult. It's not that I think lay people overappreciate nurses, it's just that I think they don't realize the magnitude of what we do.
    I totoally see where you're coming from here.

    You know, just like the "hand-holder" docs are usually the ones to steer clear from, I find the same is true of the "hand-holder" nurses....they spend their time fluffing and tucking, always stay way past their clock-out time (On THEIR DIME) and couldn't recognize early stages of sepsis if their life depended on it. Their priorities are in the wrong place for today's expectations of nursing.

    Comfort is important, but in today's world, with MUCH sicker patients than in the past, nursing care is more aptly directed at keeping the patient safe and diverting condition deterioration before they start down that slippery slope to coding.

    Better to show a family member how to wipe that brow, and get to the bottom of that cool, clammy skin by honing in on your assessment skills!

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