Nursing, a 'caring' profession or are we so much more?

by madwife2002 Asst. Admin

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Nursing, a caring profession or is this a lame description? Caring is such a mild description of what nurses are about. I believe the word care or caring are no longer adequate to describe what we as nurses do as a profession. I really do think you have to be a special kind of person to be a nurse, over the years I have worked with Nurses from all walks of life, different cultures, beliefs and back grounds. Did all of them care....What does that mean to you 'Care'

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    Nursing, a 'caring' profession or are we so much more?

    Nursing, a caring profession or is this a lame description?

    Caring is such a mild description of what nurses are about. I believe the word care or caring are no longer adequate to describe what we as nurses do as a profession.

    I really do think you have to be a special kind of person to be a nurse, over the years I have worked with Nurses from all walks of life, different cultures, beliefs and back grounds. Did all of them care....What does that mean to you 'Care'

    So what do we all have in common?
    What a difficult question, because I honestly think not many of us have much in common. Is our common ground caring? No I do not believe that is our common ground.
    We are all bound together because we wanted to be nurses for one reason or another.
    Another question which springs to mind 'is the reason we came into nursing the same reason we stay in nursing?'

    Why did we come into nursing? Again there are many different reasons why we become nurses.

    One of the main reason nurses state they came into the profession is

    ‘I want to care for people’

    Really! I don’t think that holds much merit anymore, nursing is a lot more than caring for people.

    Caring what does this word mean in the dictionary caring [ˈkɛərɪŋ]
    adj
    1. feeling or showing care and compassion a caring attitude
    2. (Social Welfare) of or relating to professional social or medical care nursing is a caring job

    nurse (nűrs)
    n.
    1. A person educated and trained to care for the sick or disabled.

    During many interviews over the years I have heard when asking the question 'tell me about yourself' Responses will often include 'I care about people'. I do take that into consideration when selecting the right candidate but caring, is just not enough to be a good nurse.

    Care or caring are the first descriptive words which come to mind when the public think of the word ‘Nurse’, I don't really think that many seasoned nurses would say I am a nurse because 'I like caring for people'.

    Do we think that this is an old fashioned attitude which stems back from the era of Florence Nightingale? Do we really think that we as a nursing profession consider ‘caring’ as definitive description of what we do or what we stand for?

    I believe nursing has evolved so much from the core values, that caring is no longer a good description of what nursing is all about. It is too simplified a description of what we do.

    How many of you have heard an aide saying, 'the nurse doesn't care, I could do the nurses job all they do is give out medications, and talk on the phone?
    I know as a manager I have aides and technicians coming to me saying that they do all the work because the nurse is always on the phone or writing notes in the computer.
    This is what people we work with on a daily basis see nurses doing, and think it is easy.

    Are they playing games on the computer, or socializing on the phone-I doubt it!

    They are spending their time documenting, to cover themselves just in case they go to court 5 years from now. Caring who has time to care these days?

    Remember if you didn’t document you didn’t do it! Seriously, you can document anything you want to it doesn’t mean you did it, it just means on paper you said you did it! It always makes me scratch my head in wonder, because we have all met the nurse who documented something you know she never did.

    I know where I work the nurses run round like headless chickens, trying to complete a 100 tasks at once, and if they do get 5 mins to breathe, are they sat in the patients room caring?
    Not many, they are trying to run down to the break room to stuff their lunch and a drink down their throats as quickly as possible just in case it might be their last food of the shift.

    I know I go to a restaurant and eat a meal faster than anybody else at the table, because I can. After a couple of decades on the job, I no longer notice that I eat my food fast, not pausing for breathe because it is normal for me.

    Another thing I am fast at, showering! I kid you not I can shower, wash all my body, shampoo and condition my hair in under 5 minutes, grab a cup of coffee and be out of the door in 15 minutes from alarm to car.

    Caring? No I do not think that is what we are all about, we are so much more than a caring profession.
    Yes we do care, we care very much-we care that we cannot spend as much time with our patients as we would like.
    We care that if we don’t document the conversation with the Dr, then we didn’t have the conversation.
    We care that we didn’t have a drink or lunch that day.
    We care that others are judging us on a daily basis.
    We care that we have a heavy workload than anybody else.
    We care because the reason we became nurses is no longer valid, we know we have different reasons we stay in the profession.
    We care because in order for us 'to care for a patient', we have to be experts not in caring but in being efficient at managing the disease process, policies and procedures, upto date information about the day to day management of their 'plan of care'.

    We care……
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 7, '12
    audacia, man-nurse2b, Nurserton, and 6 others like this.
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    madwife2002 joined Jan '05 - from 'Ohio'. madwife2002 has '24' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'RN, RM, BSN'. Posts: 9,429 Likes: 5,160; Learn more about madwife2002 by visiting their allnursesPage


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    9 Comments so far...

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    Whew! You said a mouthful!! I remember applying for nursing school and saying "because I care for people". Sounds kind of simplistic now. Imagine now, after 26 years, saying "I want to be a nurse because I want to be stressed 24 hours a day, I want to see how long my bladder can go before I pee, I want to learn to wolf my food down in less than 90 seconds, I want to be slapped, kicked at, hit, bit and cursed at on a regular basis, I want to be looked down on by a pompous physician, I want to have to make life or death decisions that I will lose sleep over and etc, etc, etc."
    Funny, though, because I still care. It's just harder sometimes because of all those things I didn't know then, but know now. Caring must still be part of the equation, but it certainly isn't all you need.
    nrsang97, madwife2002, and RNJill like this.
  6. 4
    There is a lot more to "caring" than the limited definitions you posted. From the Webster's website:

    Care

    Pronunciation: kâr
    Noun 1. care - the work of caring for or attending to someone or something; "no medical care was required"; "the old car needed constant attention" Synonyms: tending, attention, aid
    2. care - judiciousness in avoiding harm or danger; "he exercised caution in opening the door"; "he handled the vase with care" Synonyms: forethought, precaution, caution
    3. care - an anxious feeling; "care had aged him"; "they hushed it up out of fear of public reaction" Synonyms: concern, fear
    4. care - a cause for feeling concern; "his major care was the illness of his wife"
    5. care - attention and management implying responsibility for safety; "he is in the care of a bodyguard" Synonyms: guardianship, tutelage, charge
    6. care - activity involved in maintaining something in good working order; "he wrote the manual on car care" Synonyms: maintenance, upkeep


    The definitions I bolded are the ones I think about when thinking of nursing as a "caring profession" -- I think in terms of we provide care to people, not so much that we care about people in the "feelings/emotions" sense.
    nrsang97, DSkelton711, mystory, and 1 other like this.
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    I find nursing to be pretty cut throat and poisoned with too many cold hearted people. That is not to say all nurses are like that but I did not know the true meaning of the b word until I started nursing school and had some awful instructors.Caring my arse.
    Ms.MayaRN and madwife2002 like this.
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    Amen, sista!
    madwife2002 likes this.
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    I actually saw a job posting on Craigslist for nurses to be a surrogate mother because "the definition of a nurse is caring" so who better to carry a baby for a childless couple. I actually had to read it twice to be sure I understood it. It was in the JOBS section, not personals, but nursing jobs!
    DizzyLizzyNurse and madwife2002 like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from elkpark
    There is a lot more to "caring" than the limited definitions you posted. From the Webster's website:

    Care

    Pronunciation: kâr

    Noun 1. care - the work of caring for or attending to someone or something; "no medical care was required"; "the old car needed constant attention" Synonyms: tending, attention, aid
    2. care - judiciousness in avoiding harm or danger; "he exercised caution in opening the door"; "he handled the vase with care" Synonyms: forethought, precaution, caution
    3. care - an anxious feeling; "care had aged him"; "they hushed it up out of fear of public reaction" Synonyms: concern, fear
    4. care - a cause for feeling concern; "his major care was the illness of his wife"
    5. care - attention and management implying responsibility for safety; "he is in the care of a bodyguard" Synonyms: guardianship, tutelage, charge
    6. care - activity involved in maintaining something in good working order; "he wrote the manual on car care" Synonyms: maintenance, upkeep


    The definitions I bolded are the ones I think about when thinking of nursing as a "caring profession" -- I think in terms of we provide care to people, not so much that we care about people in the "feelings/emotions" sense.
    Got you thinking about it though!
  11. 1
    Quote from madwife2002
    Got you thinking about it though!
    Not for the first time, believe me!
    madwife2002 likes this.
  12. 2
    Quote from TracyE78
    I actually saw a job posting on Craigslist for nurses to be a surrogate mother because "the definition of a nurse is caring" so who better to carry a baby for a childless couple. I actually had to read it twice to be sure I understood it. It was in the JOBS section, not personals, but nursing jobs!
    I am totally speechless to that one, but thank god organs just go on the black market, what will they ask next? Lol, the fields of Nursing are widening more everyday.
    nrsang97 and madwife2002 like this.
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    I agree that the word care or caring may be too vague to describe the reason for nurses to take up this profession. I also believed that we have evolved in our roles, I believe that we have more to offer than just "caring" for patients.
    nrsang97 and madwife2002 like this.


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