assumptions of title

  1. HOW MANY NURSES HAVE BEEN MISTAKEN FOR A LESSER TITLE BECAUSE OF YOUR ETHNICITY? NOT ONLY DOES IT ATTEMPT TO TAKE AWAY FROM WHO YOU ARE AT TIMES IT CAN BE DOWN RIGHT IRRITATING! I JUST WANDERED.
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   P_RN
    Unfortunately I have seen this also. In our residency program we had several foreign nationals. They were frequently mistaken for CNAs or Orderlies. It's insulting to say the least.

    I believe EVERY RN/LPN should wear an ID pin that states their "rank."

    EVERYONE deserves a NURSE!
  4. by   Bao.vn
    I'm from VN and I graduated in USA with RN/BSN. Sometimes my patients and their family ask me "are you a LPN or CNA?", at first I feel like being intimidated but now I get used with it. Also I look very young eventhough I am 29, somtimes it is hard for pt and family to trust me. One of the thing that make me happy the most is when they ask me how old am I. AH ha!!!!!
  5. by   canoehead
    Wow, I didn't realize this was a problem. Get some big RN pins and wear them proudly folks. That should separate the stupid from the just plain ignorant.
  6. by   mopsi
    This was one of the forseen problems when we gave up our nurse caps and white....It was a uniform..like cops,firemen,ect. It identified you immediately. By melding everyone together in a mishmash of scrubs you can't pick out the "GOOD GUYS" by their white hats anymore.....It was also a way for employers to give the visual impression that qualified staff was all over working like little bees.


    {I'm from VN and I graduated in USA with RN/BSN. Sometimes my patients and their family ask me "are you a LPN or CNA?", }

    BaoVn....quote.....LPN's are nurses....are you insulted by this???
    Education..like getting your BSN is a gift..sounds like you've got a little predudice running in your veins..or didn't they cover LPN scope of practice in school?
  7. by   funnynurse
    Sometimes I just assume people know I am their nurse(after all I do have a ID badge on that has RN after my name) but occasionally you get asked, "are you my nurse?" or I love this one, "can you tell the nurse...." It always amazes me how I could be in the patient's room, do their assessment and give them their meds and they ask that! When I say I'm the nurse, some even go as far to ask me if I have a 2 or 4 year degree!!! I say BSN and that usually cuts all questions. Unfortunately, this is something minority nurses still face (yes canoehead, this is still a minor problem) Most patients though I have to admit, don't mean any harm by it. No one has ever had the balls to refuse my care because I'm not white. I also understand the above nurse from VN being offended by patients asking her if she is a LPN or CNA? IT's like they are assuming that because she is of another ethnicity she has the lowest education. (all CNA's and LPN's, I am using this as an example due to years of education, ie: LPN mostly one, CNA,none, etc.)
    Last edit by funnynurse on Nov 27, '01
  8. by   Teshiee
    YOU HAD A VALID POINT WHEN WE WERE LOSING THE CAP AND DRESS IT WAS RATHER CONFUSING. WEARING BIG ID BADGES STILL DONT HELP SOMETIMES YOUR MELANIN IS THE FIRST THING THEY SEE AND THEN THE ASSUMPTION BEGINS.

    EX. I WAS COMING TO AN INTERVIEW FOR A NICU POSITION. INSTEAD OF A FELLOW NURSE ASKING MY NAME AND CREDENTIALS SHE ASSUME OTHERWISE. "ARE YOU HERE FOR THE OB TECH POSITION?" I WAS VERY ANNOYED! NO, I AM HERE FOR A RN POSITION. SHE LOOK DUMBFOUNDED. LET'S FACE IT SOME PEOPLE ARE BIGGOTS AND DON'T REALIZE IT. SO YOU SEE NO MATTER WHAT INITIALS MINORITY NURSES HAVE BEHIND THEIR NAME SOME IGNORANT PERSON IS GOING TO LOOK AT YOUR SKIN COLOR AND JUDGE YOU RIGHT AWAY.
  9. by   SharonH, RN
    Oh you bet this has happened. I always introduce myself as the nurse at the beginning of the shift but I am still sometimes mistaken by the patients or the family as some type of helper to the "real" nurse. "Could you tell my nurse to come in" or "where is my nurse?". Whatever.


    I also get the same thing from other nurses and occasionally doctors who pretend they don't see me when they have a question about the patient. I have had some of them walk out of the room up to the nurses' station and ask to see the nurse for the patient that they just saw me working on! I always wonder who the hell they thought I was! And once I was floated to another unit and one nurse started going on about how she couldn't believe they sent them another aide and started trying to tell me Mr. So-and-so needed cleaning up. I told her she better get on a pair of gloves because I wasn't there for that!
  10. by   KatWright
    Sometimes it is where you are sitting.
    Last week, I was sitting in the secretaries' chair while she was at lunch and a very young resident came up to me and started to yell at me about some order that was written and hadn't been carried out.
    I stood up, looked around the unit and then looked her in the eye and asked who she was talking to ....... because I knew she wasn't talking to anyone on MY unit like that.
    I told her that I was in charge that day and if she had a problem we could talk about it but that she was not going to carry on like that to anyone.
    BTW she didn't talk to the nurse to let her know she had written orders nor had she flagged them.
    She was no longer yelling when she left the unit.

    But I guess defend the patients, they see so many people in one day, I don't worry if they don't remember me. I figure that I will just tell them again that I am their nurse.
    Not to mention they may be on drugs, not have their glasses on OR you have a few nurses that look so much alike that the NURSES can't tell them apart
    We have 2 nurses that started on the same day, blond 20something, same build, same voice, both of their names start with an S, both married to a guy with the same name(!!!) I have worked with them for almost 2 years and I have to make a concentrated effort to get the names right.

    Also, I wear a badge thingie that says RN, even though my name badge already says RN, I want it bigger, most people's vision is not good enough to read letters that are 1/4 inch tall !!

    We have an RN who wears the messiest uniforms (WF) & she gets insulted when someone thinks she is a tech, then we have a CNA who irons her uniforms & always looks great (BF)
    and has to tell the patients that she is NOT the nurse.
    It's all perception. We just have to stand tall and gently correct them.
    Kat
  11. by   SharonH, RN
    Originally posted by KatWright

    But I guess defend the patients, they see so many people in one day, I don't worry if they don't remember me. I figure that I will just tell them again that I am their nurse.
    Not to mention they may be on drugs, not have their glasses on OR you have a few nurses that look so much alike that the NURSES can't tell them apart
    Kat

    I appreciate your observations. Like Ayanna I don't think most of them mean to be malicious with their assumptions(the patients). However, I can pretty much tell the difference when they are confused about who I am due to drugs, poor vision, multiple caregivers etc. We are talking about assumption of position due to ethnicity. That's not quite the same as not remembering who your nurse is. To put it another way, I have had the patient ask housekeepers, phlebotomists questions about their care, second guess me to the dietician or physical therapists or anybody else who walks into the room who is White but when I walk in there, they don't say a word. It used to frustrate me when I was younger, but the older I get the less I give a damn for some reason. Oh well........
  12. by   ERNurse752
    I've noticed this at work too. I think it's sad that the color of someone's skin dictates some people's opinions of that person and their intelligence, rank etc -- and they don't even realize it.
    We just got new swipeable name badges where I work. The name of the institution is bright blue...our name is in black...our title/department is light gray. Interesting, hmmm?
  13. by   funnynurse
    It's nice to hear from other nurses who have had this happen....I would also like to add, in my experience this does not happen to me everyday. I kill my patients with kindness, and that usually softens them up so my day won't be hell! I, thank God, have never had a physician talk down to me or ignore me in my facility because of race. Most surprisingly are very friendly. You do have a few Dr. jerks that are just plain miserable with everyone! Also I have to say that the few patients who did ask me if I was their nurse or if I could get their nurse, ended up liking me better than other staff, cause I actually gave a damn about them and their care during my shift!!
  14. by   kennedyj
    Heres a funny story that happened last month. We had a preeclamptic patient who was 26wks and on the unit on strict bedrest for about 6 weeks.
    After about 2 weeks the docs would usually only talk to her about once a week and would usually just chat with the nurses to see how she was doing.

    I took care of her for about 2 weeks and would talk to her about her labs, plan of care, why we want her to do this and what everything means ect. One day one of the docs came in and talked with her and asked her if she had any questions. she said no DR. Kennedy (me, her nurse) has been taking care of me the past week or so and I have been very pleased. I got a good laugh. Most of this being the providers lack of face to face communication.

    But try to be very knowledgable, find out their problems and concerns and fix them. It goes a long way.
    Last edit by kennedyj on Nov 28, '01

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assumptions of title