Nurses Deserve More Respect!

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    Hello All,

    Does anyone else feel like there is a stigma that comes along with nursing? Like, do you ever feel like people are judging you based on your career choice? Do you feel like nursing isn't as well respected in society as it should be?

    My parents and a lot of my friends are being pretty critical of my decision to become a nurse. I can't even count the number of time I've been asked, "But wouldn't you rather be a doctor? Why not try for med school instead?"

    Just wondering if anyone else has experience with this sort of thing. How do you handle it?

    Love, -NR :heartbeat
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  3. 37 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    no. Mine were proud of me and call on me to help them with medical decisions (that of course can be a minefield. Usually I try to listen)
  5. 0
    I feel that sometimes nurses do not get the respect they deserve. I get very annoyed when people ask me why I did not become a doctor. It is a completely different profession! When I was studying abroad as a nursing student in Cyprus many people thought less of nurses and I ran into that question a lot. It was so maddening! It may be a cultural problem. However, I also think that many people regard nursing as a highly respected profession. Personally, I think we rock
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    I think it the attitude may be unique to your own family situation. For the last 10 years (except in '01, when the firefighters outranked us) Nursing has been ranked as the #1 trusted profession in America. http://www.nursingcenter.com/Blog/po...are-today.aspx

    So, the public likes us... don't want to pay us, but they like us.
  7. 1
    I do think there is a general misunderstanding about what it is to be a nurse. The lay public generally views nursing as a profession comprised of persons who solely follow doctor's orders without question, pass out meds and wipe asses. Certainly, if that's the disempowered nurse you want to be, you certainly can be just that, there's plenty of them. Or, you could be the nurse who strives to do right by your patients by collaborating with doctors to improve patient care by demonstrating that you understand basic pathophysiology of disease and physiology enough to discuss possible need and necessary intervention which will also provide you with the knowledge base you need to properly educate your patients; to become additionally licensed and specialized to improve your competency in your chosen discipline; work to improve patient safety by establishing discussion groups in your workplace or joining existing groups and committees which do this; etc. So, if you have the right mind for med school, and are one who strives to learn and apply what you learn, you can expand your role as a nurse to be much more than the typical view of a nurse and work to change this common misconception.
    Last edit by Brauer on Oct 20, '10
    iluvivt likes this.
  8. 6
    Nope, I've never experienced that. People have questioned me about "why don't you just go to med school?" but I don't look at it as a criticism. Those people simply don't have a great deal of understanding regarding the roles of nurses *or* physicians. There are several reasons why I did not choose to go to med school, one of which was that I did not want to be a doctor! A few sentences of explanation as to the differences between the education and roles of a nurse and a doctor usually suffice.

    Your family sounds crazy. Do they have the extra 200K to give you to fund your medical school education? Do they realize that med school, from graduation of high school to independent practice is often a 10-13 year educational journey? Do they realize the long hours that physicians work, every day? The liability costs? The responsibility? The stress?

    I have a great deal of respect for anyone who can make it successfully through med school. I don't think I could have. I have too many family commitments, not enough money, and not enough focus to go to school and study that hard for that. stinking. long. Kudos to those who can and do. There are other options available for those of us who wish to to pursue other interests in life...
    cattybob, pedicurn, Orange Tree, and 3 others like this.
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    I hear a lot about why nurses chose nursing, rather than another higher paid career path. What can you say? People make career choices for a variety of reasons, none of what are anyone's business, really. What a nosey thing to ask. Like it is LESS ambitious to go through nursing school and become a nurse, constantly enduring those trials and tribulations in the life of a nurse??? Being a doctor would likely be easier in some respects, compared to the life of a nurse....
  10. 0
    A technician friend of mine once asked me to help her decide whether she should go back to school to be an MD (or PA alternate if medical school was not possible) or a nurse (RN or NP). It actually took me a few days to formulate for her in a simple way the essential difference.
    I now describe it in the following way:
    Physicians (and physician assistants) are primarily interested in the PUZZLE (solving the medical problem) but they obviously have to be able to speak to the individual as well
    Nurses (all levels) are primarily interested in the PERSON but they obviously have to be knowledgeable about the medical aspects (differing, of course, on their level of practice).
    PUZZLE or PERSON?

    I do think that there has been a problem with the level of respect given to nurses (too low) while the level of respect given to doctors has also been inappropriately high in our society. As I see the changes that are beginning to take place in society and in practice, I believe the respect levels will change to a more appropriate level.
  11. 3
    I had a nursing instructor tell me once that she actually considered both options before she choose nursing. Now when people ask her why she didn't become a MD, she replies, "We have so many types of doctors out there which separate their pt's bodies into little sections so they can deal with different problems. We have neurologists, gastroenterologists, cardiologists, urologists, orthopedic doctors, etc. As a nurse, I see the whole pt. I care for the whole pt. I can make a difference because I see for my pt as a whole person who not only needs physical treatment, but also counseling, teaching, respect, and compassion."
    I think she had a point.
  12. 3
    Quote from NYLady
    A technician friend of mine once asked me to help her decide whether she should go back to school to be an MD (or PA alternate if medical school was not possible) or a nurse (RN or NP). It actually took me a few days to formulate for her in a simple way the essential difference.
    I now describe it in the following way:
    Physicians (and physician assistants) are primarily interested in the PUZZLE (solving the medical problem) but they obviously have to be able to speak to the individual as well
    Nurses (all levels) are primarily interested in the PERSON but they obviously have to be knowledgeable about the medical aspects (differing, of course, on their level of practice).
    PUZZLE or PERSON?

    I do think that there has been a problem with the level of respect given to nurses (too low) while the level of respect given to doctors has also been inappropriately high in our society. As I see the changes that are beginning to take place in society and in practice, I believe the respect levels will change to a more appropriate level.
    I actually view every patient as a puzzle and try to put together the pieces, independent (and usually much earlier than a doc), because I'm with the patient longer and oftentimes see the lab and diagnostic results first).
    MJ415, himilayaneyes, and Brauer like this.


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