Again, there is another thread started- which could be interpreted by some as passive-aggressive remarks about advanced degree nurses, and it could not. I read it and felt slightly insulted, and I responded. The thread now, appears to be taking on another ugly turn, and probably because I am involved. I sat here, after reading the replies, and started to feel exhausted again. Exhausted at feeling dismissed, put-down, not valued; all the things that nurses in general feel. I then thought back to when I was in school and when I decided to be a nurse.
I originally was a biology major. I loved the sciences and ultimately wanted to be a scientist. I worked in an environmental lab during college doing distillations and loved what I was learning. Somewhere, back in 1991 or 1992, I made the change to nursing. I also, while I enjoyed the sciences, loved infants and newborns and had a desire to take care of them. The nursing curriculum offered enough science courses to feed my hunger for them, and, would provide me the knowledge to obtain my RN license, so, I changed majors. At that time, I knew nothing of nursing as it is today. I did not know what an LPN was. I did not know that there were diploma programs and that nurses didn't
have degrees. I assumed they all did. I thought nothing of it. I thought that all nurses were RNs and nothing else.
When I entered the curriculum, I then learned that no, not all nurses have BSNs. I learned how there used to be diploma programs, and how there are ADN programs. I learned in my management classes that, as a RN, I will most likely be delegating to other individuals to perform tasks. I learned that, as a BSN, I will be taught things that are not included in other programs. I learned that, as a BSN, I will have more opportunity to acquire positions that will possibly evoke change in the profession, or develop theories or test studies that could change how we practice. I was seeing this through the eyes of a young college student, who was eager to graduate and use what I've learned. I was eager to make a difference. Maybe my program was wrong is grooming us with this mindset, maybe it wasn't. But that is how I saw it at that time.
I then graduated college and it was the single most proudest moment of my life. As my academic hood was placed around my neck, and as I accepted my degree, and as I saw my family sitting in the crowd, looking at me realizing all the obstacles I had overcome, all the challenges I had faced, all the hours I had worked as a lab assistant, as a receptionist and as a bus-person to pay for school, I realized at that time, all that I had accomplished - and all that I had yet to do.
I started my nursing career in labor and delivery. I had a rough orientation, but loved learning the "skills" of L&D. I loved the challange that being an obstetric nurse provided. I joined AWHONN and attended conference after conference, read journal after journal, analyzing and critiquing the design, the method to see if I could apply it to my practice.
It was not until I joined internet communities that I came to learn that BSNs in fact, are not always valued by other nurses. No, other nurses don't look up to you for it. No, other nurses don't admire you for it. In fact, quite the opposite. Some people perceive BSNs as lacking basic skills, as having unnecessary classes, or, worse yet, as "just letters behind your name." I hear those comments, and I think back to my graduation day, and I almost want to cry. Cry at my choice to change my major back in 1991. Cry at the innocence that was lost the moment I became a working professional nurse. Now, I am hardened, suspicious, defensive and tired. I was disenchanted with the whole division of nursing, confused as to the roles each nurse played, stunned at the remarks about bachelor's degrees in general. Nursing made me what I am now: bitter.
I enrolled back into school because alot of the jobs I wanted as a nurse required a Master's degree. I also yearned to be back in that environment - the environment in which everyone is there to accomplish one thing - and that is to learn and to foster everyone else's learning. We read fellow graduate's theses and dissertations and are amazed at their findings and theories. We don't dismiss them or put them down because we LACK our Master's; in fact, we admire them. I have found that I can only function happily in the academic environment.
It was a sad realization, and I guess I just realized this now, after reading some of these threads. I feel the nursing profession has done nothing to foster my growth, but only hinder it. I am constantly reminded by my fellow nurses to "put my degree aside" and "keep myself in check." Do not tell anyone of your accomplishments - because, they aren't really what matters anyway. Well, it matters to me.
Thus, I retreat back to the hallowed halls of academia, to sequester in the quiet, somber alleys of the library filled with thousands of ideas that I have yet to discover. I find comfort in the old, creaky buildings from 1839 and the 200 year old Oak tree.
I guess, I wrote this thread to finally put into words what I've apparently felt for some time, but never really have been able to articulate. And I guess, I feel that I've given to my profession but haven't gotten anything back. Sometimes I feel that I should've stayed with biology.
make a difference in nursing, but it will not be at the bedside, I can almost guarantee you that. I will make my difference from afar, in writings and publications and research; in my ideas and theories, and, with my students. And, I feel that I am just as valuable in that regard as anyone who works at the bedside.
I just had to say that.
Mar 30, '02
Well, if this thread gets closed, then it gets closed. I was venting my feelings, my realizations, my conclusions about the nursing profession. I may be seen as bitter, and I guess I am. I felt I was a bright young professional, who was beaten down by my very colleagues.
My license will NEVER be just letters. My degree will NEVER be just letters. They probably always will be to some people, and that's fine I guess; I can't change the world. But I can make a difference in MY life. And, as nurse who will have her Master's degree in 3 years, I proudly say, I will NOT be less a nurse for it!
And, as Fergus stated, in a profession as oppressed as ours, be proud of whatever you can! I want to stand on a mountain-top and cry out:
Yes, I am a BSN. I do bedside care, I have "wiped butts" and emptied bedpans. I CAN start IVs and am good in skills. I am proud of my accomplishments and the accomplishments of my colleagues. I look to my colleagues for guidance, advice, and knowledge. I am a nurse who wants to make a change in the profession for the better. I am not lazy nor bossy. I work hard and have worked hard. I will continue to work hard. I may not always work at the bedside, but I will still be an important part of the nursing profession.
I want to dispell all myths and misconceptions about nurses, but in particular, about RNs and about BSNs.
Last edit by Susy K on Mar 30, '02