Five Nursing Myths… Untruths Disproved

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    Yes, nurses do wear stethoscopes at work. But not all of us do. You see, nurses are found in places beyond hospital walls. Nurses work at jobs outside of the doctor’s office. Nurses are involved with more than reading orders and passing meds.

    Five Nursing Myths… Untruths Disproved

    It is hard to believe that is has been two years since the 2015 Miss America scandal. If you are a nurse, you know the one. Daytime television hosts from the show, ‘The View', mocked Miss Colorado and the fact that she was wearing a stethoscope on stage. So, it was no surprise that after these comments were aired, nurses were in an uproar about the profession of nursing and the value nurses bring to healthcare.

    In fact, nurses across the country came together in an unprecedented way. The#NursesUnite hashtag blew up on social media and nurses from all over shared photos of themselves, proudly wearing the stethoscope at work. And even though I felt so inspired by my nursing colleagues, I wondered… are we leaving something out?

    Yes, nurses do wear stethoscopes at work. But not all of us do. You see, nurses are found in places beyond hospital walls. Nurses work at jobs outside of the doctor's office. Nurses are involved with more than reading orders and passing meds.

    So let us remember that there is so much more to nursing. And when we are out in the public, talking about what a nurse does… let's be mindful of the myths about nursing. Speak up to squash these false perceptions!

    Here are 5 Myths about Nursing We Can Educate the Public On:

    Nurses only work in hospitals, emptying bedpans and following doctors' orders. As we know, this is not true at all. Nurses are business owners, researchers, speakers, and authors. Nurses can work in prisons, schools, religious institutions, and any branch of the military. Nurses can own nonprofits, volunteer on voyages abroad, work with computers, and even patent medical devices. Nurses are everywhere!

    Nurses are people who were not smart enough to become doctors. As we know, this is totally false! In fact, many of the nurses that I have interviewed on the Your Next Shift Nursing Career podcast, tell me that they actually did consider medical school. And guess what? It was not the training required or the educational milestones that turned them away. It was the fact that they chose nursing because they saw it as a career that would allow them to do MORE for their patient. They felt that by becoming a nurse, and not a doctor, they would actually get to impact patient lives on a much larger scale.

    Nurses are tired, unhealthy, stressed out people. No way! I see more and more nurse coaches, nurse fitness instructors, and nurses who are yoga teachers than ever before. Nurses are online teaching the public the importance of healthy eating. Nurses lead meditation classes and teach mindfulness workshops. In fact, organizations are starting to hire nurses (both in healthcare and non-healthcare settings) to help their employees be happy and healthy too!

    Nurses do not have emotions and can handle it all. While a nurse is a very resilient being, they too feel things. When a patient dies, a nurse may mourn. When a new life is born, a nurse might see it as the most beautiful thing on earth. A nurse has feelings and needs downtime to recharge. In fact, recent studies on compassion fatigue and secondary trauma syndrome tell us that, like ‘non-nurse' people, a nurse needs time to process what they are seeing at work and deal with their emotions. Nurses have feelings too!

    Nurses wear scrubs. Sure, nurses who work in certain patient care settings will wear scrub uniforms. And you will also see a nurse wearing a lab coat. In fact, if you are treated by an Advanced Practice Nurse, such as a Nurse Practitioner, they may wear professional clothes with a white lab coat (just like a doctor may). So be careful when judging a book by its cover and stop with the Halloween nursing costumes. Nurses do not look like that!

    Have you ever heard of a myth about nursing that was not true? What did you do to educate the public on the profession of nursing?
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    16 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    So true...I've been a nurse for >25 years and have fulfilled several roles. As an APRN now, I wear a stethoscope, scrubs and sometimes business clothes depending on my activity.

    Thats the wonderful part of nursing - the variety, the ability to further your education and change roles.
  4. by   ElizabethScala1
    Quote from traumaRUs
    So true...I've been a nurse for >25 years and have fulfilled several roles. As an APRN now, I wear a stethoscope, scrubs and sometimes business clothes depending on my activity.

    Thats the wonderful part of nursing - the variety, the ability to further your education and change roles.
    Awesome, thanks for sharing that you do have a variety in your role as an APRN! And yes... This is definitely one of the BEST perks of being a nurse. So much opportunity! Thanks for reading.
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    That was the thing I liked the most about nursing---there were so many different opportunities! During my career, I worked in med/surg, LTC, mother-baby, gero-psych, even a little bit of peds, and management. I enjoyed some more than others, and I never really did find my niche, but I can't complain about the wide variety of jobs or the pay. I went further on my ASN than a lot of nurses did in that time, something which could not be done today, and I'm so glad I had that experience. Knowledge and experience are never wasted!
  6. by   ElizabethScala1
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    That was the thing I liked the most about nursing---there were so many different opportunities! During my career, I worked in med/surg, LTC, mother-baby, gero-psych, even a little bit of peds, and management. I enjoyed some more than others, and I never really did find my niche, but I can't complain about the wide variety of jobs or the pay. I went further on my ASN than a lot of nurses did in that time, something which could not be done today, and I'm so glad I had that experience. Knowledge and experience are never wasted!
    Awesome! Way to hear of all of the variety you experienced. Thanks for reading and sharing!!
  7. by   MunoRN
    I appreciate the myth-busting, but it seems you're perpetuating a myth at the same time. While it's true that not all nurses work in hospitals, I'm not sure it's accurate to describe that when nurses do work in hospitals, what they do can be summed up as "emptying bedpans and following doctors orders".
  8. by   WestCoastSunRN
    Quote from MunoRN
    I appreciate the myth-busting, but it seems you're perpetuating a myth at the same time. While it's true that not all nurses work in hospitals, I'm not sure it's accurate to describe that when nurses do work in hospitals, what they do can be summed up as "emptying bedpans and following doctors orders".
    This. I was just about to post this but MunoRN beat me to it. As someone who does a lot of critical thinking, being a collaborative member of the health care team (along with many other independent nursing interventions) this really made me wince.
  9. by   vintagemother
    I was told, while taking prerequisites, that nurses don't have autonomy. They said only doctors critically think. I found that to be false. As an LV/PN, I was in charge of an entire building, more than once. There was no other person with an equal or higher degree in the building.

    As an RN, I am certainly in charge of my 5 pts. I work autonomously and do critically think about the best interventions.
  10. by   Kysam
    Really, there's so much more to nursing than working in a hospital, emptying bedpans and following doctor's orders"???????????
    i find this comment offensive. What is wrong with working in a hospital? Your comment seems to enforce the MYTH that working in a hospital is bad, for those nurses that can't find employment elsewhere. I could not disagree more. Certainly there are more opportunities for nurses now. However many chose to work in a hospital to actually care for people.
    who is going to care for us as we age?? I think it's scary.
  11. by   saskrn
    Quote from MunoRN
    I appreciate the myth-busting, but it seems you're perpetuating a myth at the same time. While it's true that not all nurses work in hospitals, I'm not sure it's accurate to describe that when nurses do work in hospitals, what they do can be summed up as "emptying bedpans and following doctors orders".
    This is exactly what I was thinking!
  12. by   Orion81
    I'm not understanding people's reactions. The way I read it, OP was saying exactly that nurses DON'T just empty bed pans and follow doctor's orders.
  13. by   klone
    Quote from Orion81
    I'm not understanding people's reactions. The way I read it, OP was saying exactly that nurses DON'T just empty bed pans and follow doctor's orders.
    I'm going to give the OP the benefit of the doubt and assume she didn't mean that, but the way she phrased it implied that those nurses who work in hospitals DO just empty bedpans and follow doctors' orders. I can see why people inferred that.
  14. by   ElizabethScala1
    Quote from klone
    I'm going to give the OP the benefit of the doubt and assume she didn't mean that, but the way she phrased it implied that those nurses who work in hospitals DO just empty bedpans and follow doctors' orders. I can see why people inferred that.
    Yes, this is what I was saying. Thank you for clearing that up. I was saying that nurses do SO MUCH more than the tasks the public or those not associated with nursing at all may think/know. Thank you!

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