The Dichotomy That is Nursing

  1. 7
    Does anyone else feel like their job is comprised of conflicting expectations?

    1) The ANA would like to see nursing elevated to a professional level comparable to physicians:
    Improve practice through research, attend committees, police residents so they don't inadvertently kill our patients, have a fairly in depth knowledge of all of the medications that we administer and the pathophysiology of our patients' disease processes, educate staff/patients/families, become more active in legislature, etc....
    2) But its pretty hard to feel like an educated professional when you spend most of your time in work attire that is fractionally more presentable than pajamas, all while:
    Cleaning poop, giving bed baths, executing general housekeeping tasks, fetching maalox, serving meals, running to xray, running back from xray, turn the 500lb patient on his left side, turn the 500lb patient on his right side....and lets not forget my personal favorite: serve as unit bouncer when your ETOH w/d patient with homicidal/suicidal ideation tries to take you down on his way to happy hour.
    gtoko, MLMRN1120, SandraCVRN, and 4 others like this.
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    You articulated the exact thought I had driving home from work this AM, poop & all. Yup.
    wooh likes this.
  5. 10
    I don't see a conflict at all. The art in nursing comes from the ability to be a professional whilst performing said tasks.

    Anyone can be a professional. Just think of baseball players. Their uniforms look like pajamas...and they're all the same set of pajamas. However, some of the baseball players carry themselves a certain way. They don't spit or scratch themselves, they keep their composure and don't throw bats. In interviews, they don't use bad language. Then there are the players who throw their batting helmets, use performance-enhancing drugs, threaten umpires, etc.

    The bottom line is, appearance and duties don't make a professional; attitude and demeanor do.
  6. 2
    We are a big, fat financial liability to the hospitals. I read a thread whereupon a former hospital administrator complained most of his salary budget was spent on nurses. Well, duh! Hospitals exist for nursing care, it should be the biggest part of salary! Hospitals resent us for keeping down their bottom line and
    1) want to suck every last drop of work from us, hence the chronic understaffing
    2) keep us downtrodden and compliant, so we don't demand more respect, better staffing, and less busywork.

    I talked to an Egyptian PA recently who is now an American nurse, and I asked her how the job compares. She said "here, nurses are expected to do everything! You have to do aid work, and secretary work, and transport work."

    I expect this situation to only worsen as health care change is implemented.

    But, I do have to say, I like the scrubs. When I started it was all white, and some even wore caps. Scrubs are more practical, and they come in fun colors.
    wooh and lindarn like this.
  7. 2
    As an addendum to my last post, I'd like to paraphrase the late, great, Mrs. Gump...

    "Professionalism is as professionalism does."

    That's what it all ultimately boils down to, I believe.
    wooh and lindarn like this.
  8. 3
    Quote from sassyrn333
    Does anyone else feel like their job is comprised of conflicting expectations?

    1) The ANA would like to see nursing elevated to a professional level comparable to physicians:[INDENT]Improve practice through research, attend committees, police residents so they don't inadvertently kill our patients, have a fairly in depth knowledge of all of the medications that we administer and the pathophysiology of our patients' disease processes, educate staff/patients/families, become more active in legislature, etc....
    I see your point but improving practice through research, attending committees, policing residents, having fairly in-depth knowledge of all the medications we administer and the pathophysiology of our patients' disease processes, educating staff/patients/families and becoming more active in legislature are not bad things. These are realistic expectations for professional registered nurses. No one can know it all, but there isn't a lot of excuse for nurses not being up-to-date on at least the pathophysiology of conditions they commonly see, medications they commonly give, and involved in policies at the institutional level.
    wooh, lindarn, and SmilingBluEyes like this.
  9. 5
    I have never felt diminished or conflicted as an RN by performing pt care. I usually know more about my pt at the end of the shift, than the nurse who did not empty a bedpan or T&R. Is it a matter of not having enough time for both?
    Last edit by imintrouble on May 11, '10
    SandraCVRN, wooh, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
  10. 8
    Cleaning poop = Toxic waste management

    Giving bed baths = Hygienics specialist

    Executing general housekeeping tasks = Environmental operations manager

    Fetching maalox = Neutralization facilitator

    Serving meals = Fuel exchange expert

    Running to and from xray = Objective driven

    Turning the 500 pound patient = Advanced object manipulation

    Serving as unit bouncer = Conflict resolution

    It's all about perspective....

    Plus, surgeons wear jammies too
    Last edit by metal_m0nk on May 11, '10
    Muffy5, aura_of_laura, nursel56, and 5 others like this.
  11. 2
    actually i do not see it as a dichotomy so much as the problem of healthcare right now, and the challenge that is driving me to switch to nursing.
    wooh and lindarn like this.
  12. 2
    Quote from CamaroNurse
    I don't see a conflict at all. The art in nursing comes from the ability to be a professional whilst performing said tasks.

    Anyone can be a professional. Just think of baseball players. Their uniforms look like pajamas...and they're all the same set of pajamas. However, some of the baseball players carry themselves a certain way. They don't spit or scratch themselves, they keep their composure and don't throw bats. In interviews, they don't use bad language. Then there are the players who throw their batting helmets, use performance-enhancing drugs, threaten umpires, etc.

    The bottom line is, appearance and duties don't make a professional; attitude and demeanor do.

    I agree. And how professional does a doctor feel when putting his finger in someone's butt? And how professional does a psychiatrist or mental health counselor feel when doing role-play and pretending to be some crazy person, or performing a "birthing ritual" to help a client feel reborn and connected to a mother?

    I think it all has to do with our own feelings of worth and how we carry ourselves. If you act professionally, you will be respected as a professional (usually). I also think it has to do with coming together as a profession and demanding the right to be treated as a professional.


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