Lack of respect for nurses

  1. 1
    Hi everyone. I'm very frustrated with the lack of knowledge of the general public of what being a nurse means. My own mother doesn't even seem to get it. When I told my father that I had been accepted into the nursing program he seemed excited, but before getting off the phone he asked, "So do you think you'll become a doctor some day?" If I wanted to be a doctor, I would go to med school. Being a doctor and being a nurse are two totally different things. A nurse is not a step-down from a doctor. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that doctor's aren't necessary or that they don't deserve respect for their knowledge because they absolutely are necessary, and they do deserve every bit of respect they've earned. I just think that nurses deserve respect too, so much more than they get. People just have no idea what being a nurse is all about. I hate the perception that all nurses do is change bedpans, bring patients something to drink ,and follow doctor's orders. I mean, yes, these things are part of the job and I don't mind doing them, but there is so much more to it. The problem is, I don't even know how to put into words the job of a nurse. How can I explain to people what nurses do and the amount of knowledge required to perform their jobs? Any suggestions? Is anyone else frustrated by this, or is it just me and should I just not care about what everyone else thinks? Thanks for letting me vent.
    BNE103 likes this.

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  2. 17 Comments...

  3. 0
    I recommend Suzanne Gordon's books, she speaks to the frustrations that you feel. She isn't even a nurse but she is a journalist who is a big advocate of nursing and realizes the importance of it.
    It is hard to describe what nurses do. I am having trouble myself. I think there is another thread on this, describing what nurses do and they put it better than I can. Nurses are pt advocates, nurses assess and monitor interventions, nurses also care. And doctors do end up getting a lot of credit for things we do like suggesting changes in the care plan, saving a pts life when the take a turn for the worse, catching errors etc.
    I am sorry that you feel this way. I get frustrated at this too.
  4. 0
    I will definitely check out those books. Thanks for your reply and letting me know I'm not the only one frustrated by this.
  5. 0
    Hello. My name is Gabi. I am a senior in high school and I would like to be a nurse. I am doing a project for my english class right now and I reall like this post and I was wondering if I could know your name so I could use this for my project, and I also would like to interview you, if that's alright. Please let me know.
    Thank You.
  6. 1
    Quote from nicuRN2007
    Being a doctor and being a nurse are two totally different things. A nurse is not a step-down from a doctor.
    I agree with everything you say and have also experienced the comments "you're so smart, why don't you be a doctor?" I usually respond something along the lines of, "Wouldn't you want to have a smart nurse?"
    I just want to remind you though that many nurses ARE doctors of nursing.
    I prefer to use the term physician when meaning medical doctor, because there are many types of doctors.
    I am a huge advocate of not using doctor to mean physician.
    Dr. Smith, the physician, surgeon, cardiologist
    Dr. Smith, the NP, CNS, PNP
    Dr. Smith, the dentist
    Doctor is a title, not a career.
    LisaDNP likes this.
  7. 0
    I've always thought it would be fun to get a doctorate in nursing, one of the benefits being that it would really confuse people.
    Suzanne Gordon's books are great! Especially for someone who is considering nursing - they give you a down and dirty look at the profession. My suggestion is to start small. Make it your mission in life to make your dad "get" your job, then go from there.
  8. 0
    My family makes fun of me for being a nurse. They don't even know what an RN stands for or does. I was at dinner the other night and my brother said to me "So, wipe any goodlooking a$$ lately?"

    Unfortunately, nurses will always have to defend themselves!
  9. 2
    I just tell people I keep the doctors from killing them.

    The only resistance I got about my RN was from my father who thought I would have lots of extra time for a second a job only working three days a week. A few dinner conversations about codes, cardioversions and catheters and he never mentioned it again.

    Super_RN and ellakate like this.
  10. 0
    One of the things that I have learned as 'justavolunteer' is that nursing is REALLY hard work! Turning patients, helping them to a chair, etc. can be exhausting after awhile. Sometimes I help with this. I'm exhausted sometimes after 2 or 3 hours, never mind the 12 hours of a nurse.
    Another thing that most people don't realize is just how smart one has to be a nurse! The amount of knowledge required for the job is unreal to me, even after several years as 'justavolunteer'. I probably wouldn't be smart enough to do their job, even though I have technical skills in a different area.
  11. 0
    I know just yesterday three nurses came in to help put an obese woman on the bedpan as the son said "lets let them do thier job." I was the only one offended by this/

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