The 'Image' of Nursing - page 2

We hear about the 'image' of nursing. We've seen attempts by nursing leadership to improve it's image. Some say that the whole NANDA thing was an attempt to make nursing seem more 'professional' in... Read More

  1. by   CritterLover
    Quote from sharonh, rn
    as for the public's respect, that's nice but it's a hollow victory since most of the public has no idea what we really do and think we are lowly-educated pillow-fluffers and hand-holders who also are responsible for giving spongebaths and helping people to the bathroom.

    i agree completely.

    [color=#483d8b]when the public thinks of a "nurse," they think of florence nightengale (am i even spelling her name right???). and even though they probably couldn't tell you what she did, they know they should admire her.

    [color=#483d8b]even though what we do today is based in what florence did/taught, it is (of course) so much more. so even if the public did understand all that she did and accomplished, it wouldn't help them much in understanding what we do today.

    [color=#483d8b]truly, the public has no idea what we do. i've had similar experiences as traumaicurn. i stood in the hallway one afternoon explaining the basics of the patho of hyperkalemia in an 80 yr old with bad pvd, renal insuf, and gangrene to her son. as this wasn't my patient, and i didn't know the exact details of her situation, i was giving him pretty general info. he looked at me afterwards and said "wow, you're really smart. you should be a doctor." i wanted to say "do you really think a doctor would take the time to explain all of this to you [especially if it wasn't his patient]???" of course i didn't, but it was tempting.

    [color=#483d8b]i've had other encounters like this over the years, and all they do is convince me that while the public may think we're angels, they think we are dumb angels. i bet if they did a poll of the "smartest" professions, nursing wouldn't be anywhere near the top.

    [color=#483d8b]gardendove, as to the careplans, i think they do have a point. they do direct our care, we just don't realize it anymore because the "nursing interventions" are mostly second nature. we have our post-ops t/c/db even if the doctor didn't order it. it isn't something we have to be told to do. we do it the painful way in nursing school, but then we get the "easy" preprinted ones when we are working. and if we are unfamiliar with what kind of nursing interventions go along with a post-op total hip, we can look up the careplan.
  2. by   blueberrybon
    "btw, speaking of the reaction you get from others once they discover you're a nurse, how many of you have experienced ppl then informing you that they used to be a nurse, when really the were a nurse aid, etc. (not a nurse in any case) or that they "know" as much as a nurse, etc. but just "didn't get their license"??? i've experienced this quite a few times and it is soooo aggravating!"

    yep, i've had that experience, but it doesn't aggravate me (probably b/c i've been in the profession only a short time and it hasn't started getting tiring yet). but i do know that i was there, in their place before; wishing i was in the actual "nursing" part of the nursing field. it's a bummer when you're not where you want so badly to be. so even though you're doing a wonderful thing, and are hopefully proud to be a much needed part of the "whole team" taking care of these patients, you want to be more. and as we all probably know, when you are happy with yourself and your work, description comes easier to the tongue than when you are not as happy or content with what you're doing.

    i think it's similar when lpns talk like they're rns. some of them probably do just as much work or more, but still aren't an rn and didn't go through the schooling that the rn did. but they seriously want to be "more useful, more knowledgeable, more admired", whatever it is that they seek from being a nurse.

    in any event, i'm thankful that i was able to pursue what i wanted. i'm an lpn and happy to be one for now. i don't know if i want to be an rn. the only thing that would make me consider it would be the pay

    blue
  3. by   Works2xs
    I beleive that the poll question was couched in the following terms: "... occupations rated for their honesty and ethical standards"

    I don't want to get off on a rant here...

    .. but I don't think there's any real linkage between being hightly honest and/or ethical with being highly skilled. Not that I don't think that this is a laudable accomplishment. As a consumer, it's great when we find a professional where these two traits coincide. However, when it comes down to people voting with their wallet, they seem to look for skill first.

    I'd even go so far as to say that the public's perception of our profession is based on an ideal that "caring" is more of an innate character trait than any "real" skill. To push the envelope a bit further, since "caring" is looked on as a virtue, and since our profession seems defined in those terms, people's response to us is along those lines - much like they'd admire someone who gives generously to charity. It's not a skill to be paid for, but rather a character trait to be admired.

    In just the short time that I've been a nurse, it's been pretty clear to me that while we, as a profession, can't come to grips with how to define ourselves, there's precious little chance that we'll be able to communicate our true skills to anybody outside of the profession.

    ... to borrow a phrase from Dennis Miller... "that's just my opinion.. I could be wrong."
  4. by   CritterLover
    Quote from works2xs
    i beleive that the poll question was couched in the following terms: "... occupations rated for their honesty and ethical standards"

    i don't want to get off on a rant here...

    .. but i don't think there's any real linkage between being hightly honest and/or ethical with being highly skilled. not that i don't think that this is a laudable accomplishment. as a consumer, it's great when we find a professional where these two traits coincide. however, when it comes down to people voting with their wallet, they seem to look for skill first.

    i'd even go so far as to say that the public's perception of our profession is based on an ideal that "caring" is more of an innate character trait than any "real" skill. to push the envelope a bit further, since "caring" is looked on as a virtue, and since our profession seems defined in those terms, people's response to us is along those lines - much like they'd admire someone who gives generously to charity. it's not a skill to be paid for, but rather a character trait to be admired.

    in just the short time that i've been a nurse, it's been pretty clear to me that while we, as a profession, can't come to grips with how to define ourselves, there's precious little chance that we'll be able to communicate our true skills to anybody outside of the profession.

    ... to borrow a phrase from dennis miller... "that's just my opinion.. i could be wrong."

    no, i think you are pretty much correct.

    that is much of the problem, as i see it.

    it is why we get dinged on pg type surveys for not getting that warm blanket for the ami in the er, even though we were the ones that recognized the s/s of the impending mi, and got the ball rolling to get treatment started; in short, even though we saved their life.

    patients think that the focus of nursing care is comfort and caring. they don't understand that while comfort and caring are a large part of what we do, they arn't everything, and they arn't the most important things, either. they give doctors the credit for saving their lives, when it may have been an alert nurse that really made the difference.

    the pervasivness of this belief is evident by the attitudes the general public has about our "issues" such as safe staffing ratios. they don't understand what role a nurse really plays in their well-being. really, most think that all we do is give out medicine and bathe people. the "assessment" part of nursing, which is really the core of nursing, is completely lost on most.

    it is all very frustrating, and i'm not really sure what the answer is on how to fix it.
  5. by   GardenDove
    You guys make some valid points. I think you probably have a variety of perceptions, depending on the person you are talking to. Some people are more tuned in to the fact that nurses are technically saavy and medically knowledgable. We can reinforce that by giving intelligent explanations to them regarding their conditions.

    Some patients are just very self centered, and do only consider nurses handmaidens and pillow-fluffers. I don't think you're going to change that portion of the population, no matter what.
  6. by   MIA-RN1
    I am proud to be a nurse and for me yes it is a calling (ducking from possible flames! lol)
    But people have such skewered ideas of nurses. We could be on TV and having sex in the supply closets, or we could be cute and sexy little things like that little betty-boop scrub print (makes me cringe) or like the anime images with big bosoms and hypodermic needles.
    Real nurses wear scrubs and probably have blood or vomit on their shoes.
    People will never truly understand our profession unless they enter it. The things we do that prevent worse things from happening will go over the head of John Q Public.
    As our nurse manager said, "a patient won't remember who took her blood pressure but she will remember the nurse that held her hand"
    Well lovely.(:sarcastic grin Lets reinforce our angel image and forget all about the dedicated professionals we are. Well we are at it, lets get the visitors the extra pillows and blankets they are requesting and forget all about having to check the hemmorhage in the next room. (Gotta keep the PG scores up!)
    Sorry. A major issue of mine is to be seen as a medical professional and not an angel in sensible shoes.
    As to care plans--I think they are used by schools to teach us critical thinking (this is related to that. This is what I can do as a nurse to help) And then by the time we are in the real world for a while, they seem more and more pointless because we have mastered that skill of critical thinking and do it automatically.
  7. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from blueberrybon
    "btw, speaking of the reaction you get from others once they discover you're a nurse, how many of you have experienced ppl then informing you that they used to be a nurse, when really the were a nurse aid, etc. (not a nurse in any case) or that they "know" as much as a nurse, etc. but just "didn't get their license"??? i've experienced this quite a few times and it is soooo aggravating!"

    yep, i've had that experience, but it doesn't aggravate me (probably b/c i've been in the profession only a short time and it hasn't started getting tiring yet). but i do know that i was there, in their place before; wishing i was in the actual "nursing" part of the nursing field. it's a bummer when you're not where you want so badly to be. so even though you're doing a wonderful thing, and are hopefully proud to be a much needed part of the "whole team" taking care of these patients, you want to be more. and as we all probably know, when you are happy with yourself and your work, description comes easier to the tongue than when you are not as happy or content with what you're doing.

    i think it's similar when lpns talk like they're rns. some of them probably do just as much work or more, but still aren't an rn and didn't go through the schooling that the rn did. but they seriously want to be "more useful, more knowledgeable, more admired", whatever it is that they seek from being a nurse.

    in any event, i'm thankful that i was able to pursue what i wanted. i'm an lpn and happy to be one for now. i don't know if i want to be an rn. the only thing that would make me consider it would be the pay

    blue
    it should aggravate you. people who call themselves nurses but have no license are imposters. how many times have those of us who have been around the block had to correct inacurate info. that a well meaning non-nurse gave to a pt/family member? and how many times have we seen news items about a psycho-killer nurse, only to find out that the "nurse" was an aid/ma/clerk?

    it should bother you. it should bother you deeply.
  8. by   Sue Damonas
    I was listening to a patient's heart and lung sounds one day and when I was finished one of her family members said"I didn't know nurses knew how to do that".
  9. by   LPN2RNin6
    Quote from blueberrybon
    "
    i think it's similar when lpns talk like they're rns. some of them probably do just as much work or more, but still aren't an rn and didn't go through the schooling that the rn did. but they seriously want to be "more useful, more knowledgeable, more admired", whatever it is that they seek from being a nurse.


    blue
    not to sound snarky blue...but just how does a lpn "talk like an rn"...if being knowledable and answering pt questions intelligently means talking like an rn than i guess i do that often...sorry if i misunderstood the comment.
  10. by   Kelly_the_Great
    Quote from Works2xs

    In just the short time that I've been a nurse, it's been pretty clear to me that while we, as a profession, can't come to grips with how to define ourselves, there's precious little chance that we'll be able to communicate our true skills to anybody outside of the profession.

    ... to borrow a phrase from Dennis Miller... "that's just my opinion.. I could be wrong."
    Well, Works2xs, I for one am in agreement with your opinion!

    Here's a quote from the Royal College of Nursing (4/15/03), upon surmounting the colossal task of attempting to define nursing and their stated purpose for doing so, 'If we cannot name it ... we cannot control it, finance it, research it, teach it or put it into public policy.'
  11. by   blueberrybon
    Quote from LPN2RNin6
    Not to sound snarky Blue...but just how does a LPN "talk like an RN"...if being knowledable and answering pt questions intelligently means talking like an RN than I guess I do that often...sorry if I misunderstood the comment.
    No problem, I have a rep of not getting my point across..lol.

    Just trying to give a possible reasonable reason for the mind frame of these people who "talk like nurses" that the previous poster was mentioning. I always try finding a reason for people doing the things they do, or saying the things they say.

    I'm just using the example "LPN / RN" and "CNA / nurse" as similar. Some people who aren't really nurses won't quickly throw that fact into conversation when talking with nurses because they want to be a valuable part of the conversation, and feel they might lose credability if the fact were known that they're a CNA (for example). Similarly, I think, LPNs sometimes won't inject the title "LPN" into the nurses conversation unless it is necessary or warranted. Even though I don't have plans to move on to RN, I must admit I have been guilty of exactly this sort of thing, and have a couple LPN friends who say the same.

    If someone says to me, "I'm a nurse, what are you?" I'm going to say; "I'm a nurse too". I'm not likely to say: "I'm a nurse too, not and RN, but an LPN". There are times when it's natural to just answer, "I'm an LPN", and times when I just want to answer with "nurse".

    Does that clear things up? Not bashing LPNs in any way, shape, or form; I'd be bashing myself!

    Blue
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I think it's similar when LPNs talk like they're RNs. Some of them probably do just as much work or more, but still aren't an RN and didn't go through the schooling that the RN did. But they seriously want to be "more useful, more knowledgeable, more admired", whatever it is that they seek from being a nurse.
    It's called 'professional behavior,' and it's not limited to just RNs. Has nothing to do with some supposed need to be admired, knowledgeable, or useful. Has to do with the professionalism that the pt, family, docs, etc. expect a nurse (LPN or RN) to have.
  13. by   charlies
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    In fact, I have noticed over the years that the more and more we have moved away from the "dumb" care plan into strictly implementing physician's orders the worse outcomes patients have. Nursing care IMO is far more influential than physician care on patient outcomes and it can make the difference between life and death, I don't care how good the physician is.
    I, for one, would prefer that all I had to do was carry out the physicians orders. How easy life would be if that is all I had to do.

    nursing care more influential than medicine on patient outcomes? lol. If i have a ruptured abdominal aneurism, I'll take a physician over a nurse anyday.

    ps. In school, I used disturbed energy field all the time on my care plans. I think it is enormously ridiculous. Laughable even, how are we supposed to get any respect when we entertain such notions? Next thing you know we are going to break out the crystals, lol. I was challenging my teachers to tell me it was ridiculous and to rewrite. Not a single teacher ever even blinked an eye.

    These are just my opinions, please don't get mad at me.
    Last edit by charlies on Mar 18, '07 : Reason: add more

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