What is a real nurse?????

  1. I'm a little "steamed" as I write this but I need to vent, so here goes....Today when I went on duty I was relieving a young lady that made a comment that just "ruffled my feathers". My husband and I frequently work on the same unit, I am the charge nurse and he is a Q.M.A. (Qualified Medicine Aid) She was rattling on and on and said, "I am getting so tired of being a glorified QMA. I didn't go to school for 4 years to pass meds and do treatments all day. I want to be a real nurse!!!" Now, my question is, "What is a real nurse?" Is it not part of our jobs to administer medications to those who need them, or do treatments? Since when does doing this make us not real nurses? I really think the point she was flaunting was that she was a 4 year RN and he was "just a QMA" and could do the trivial work to free her up for better things. If he had not been my spouse I would have jumped in with a nice long speech about how that if she didn't feel she was a real nurse, she could go into another field of nursing. We work in LTC facility for the elderly and I'll admit we don't get much "heart pumping action" but nursing is all about holding the hands of the sick, dealing with them physically, mentally and very often, spiritually. I am a 20 year nurse and her statement made me sizzle inside. And I'm fairly certain she doesn't consider me a "real nurse" as I am an LPN but what she thinks really doesn't bother me for I am the one that holds the hand, gives the pills and powders the bottoms that need it and I love it. I just didn't quite understand what she felt a real nurse was???? I admire those of you with a greater level of education than myself, but I'd almost bet that most of you would respect my 20+ years of experience too, so what was her point here? I'd appreciate your insight. As I said, if my spouse hadn't been the QMA I would have gotten invloved but I sorta feel like she was hoping for that, so she could say we shouldn't be working together, which we have done for years. What do you think...is there a point here I'm missing or was she just trying to rattle my chains and get my dander up?
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   chili2641

    This person is not happy about being a nurse and should leave the field. It does not require four years of college to become a nurse here in MI. Most of the nurses that I work under are LPN's and they are amazing nurses. A college education does not make you a nurse. Graduating from a nursing program and passing boards makes you a nurse. I think it is great that some nurses pursue advanced studies in their field. In bedside nursing however nurses should be on an equal playing field.

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    Nursing assistant
  4. by   momangel29
    I am an LPN for two years currently in an RN program. I work in LTC and I have had family members call me the pill pusher and then ask me when I'm going to be a "trained Nurse". I try not to let this upset me and I work very hard. I love being an LPN but I want to do more things in healthcare so I am going on. I think anyone in nursing who has a "real heart" is the real nurse.
  5. by   hollykate
    That nurse needs to take a good close look at what she actually does. I work ICU, but I will say that nursing in a LTC setting involves a heck of a lot more than just passing pills. As we learned in school. assessment of the geriatric population, especially the frail elderly, can be difficult and challenging. These folks don't always run a raging fever when ill, and many can not even tell us where it hurts or if it hurts at all.
    And what do I do in the ICU all day? Meds assessments and treatments. I could not do LTC, it isn't in me, but that doesn't mean I don't know the skills and talents it takes.
    This young thing (and I am a young thing too... can come on and work acute care, but I think she may be disappointed as she will still be doing treatments and passing meds.
  6. by   TracyRN
    Duckie,

    I've been a nurse for 3 1/2 years, on med-surg with a little PRN home health. My mom works in a LTC facility for the profoundly mentally retarded who require skilled nursing care. We graduated nursing school together, Mom with a 4.0 (dang, I'm proud of her!). It really makes me mad that there are nurses out there who snub LTC nurses as being somehow inferior. I know that I could not provide the quality care that my mom provides to her pts. We're at different stages of life and we have different strengths and weaknesses.

    Please pass on to the young BSN, from a *somewhat* young RN, that she's been watching too much ER. Mom and I couldn't have more different careers within the realm of nursing and we are both "REAL NURSES!"
  7. by   Jenny P
    Duckie, when I received the letter that I had passed my boards (this was back before computers and NCLEX exams), I was helping a friend redo his apartment and I painted on the wall that I was a "real nurse" at that time. I felt (and I still do) that that license gave me the right to say I was a real nurse-- the law says I am a nurse. Whether you are an LPN or an RN, the law says we are REAL NURSES, and as such we are subject to the Nurse Pratice Act. Don't let anyone tell you different. I think your 20 years of experience give credence to that fact. The Nurse Practice Act defines our roles as nurses and what our limits are as nurses. I also feel that REAL NURSES have hearts and care about their patients, even when the patients are confused, incontinent, or vomiting. BUT I DO NOT feel that "real nurses" need to put up with violence (in any form) from patients, families, co-workers or managers.... we do not have to be victims of our workplaces just because we are nurses. And I don't care how many initials are in a nurses' title; nursing has many areas and fields to work in, but the bedside nurse has one task: to care for the patients in her charge to the best of her ability. That's what "real nurses" do in any setting.
  8. by   patmostoi
    i have been a lpn for almost 6 years-so i am a young un. i have worked with people with different titles..some are skilled others you are afraid to work with this goes for cenas, lpns, rns,cma,pas,mds,dos, and cnp. it depends on the person entirely. i understand the anger with the statement "real nurse" i can take it one step furtur. i went to a university to sign up for rn classes. the counselor asked me where i worked i told him i worked in a ltc facility. he replied "so youre not a real nurse , you don't practice with your license?" i left. each area of nursing is not only defined by its type of care but by the nurses and staff who do the work. we are the ones who supply the definition to our jobs by doing them competently and with care. we are one of the few professions-the profession of caring for other human beings-who use are physical, mental, and emotional skills to define our trade. let no one tell you are are not a real nurse. despite the nurse practice act.. we all go beyond it and have since florence nighhtingale and clara barton. outside of clinical skills we supply a shoulder to cry on, a heart to listen, and a hand to hold in any circumstance..no matter what area of nursing we are in.i respect all other areas of nursing..we all are seperate and the same..we are seperate in clinical settings, the same in human circumstance. we have alot to be proud of no matter who puts us or our profession down. they still come back to us we are needed and they will never do our jobs..you can train a monkey- you can not train a human heart.

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  9. by   Jenny P
    Very good point, Pat. I guess I was defining a "real nurse" in the eyes of the law, while you defined it in the eyes of the heart and soul. I do feel kind of sorry for that 4 year nurse who didn't consider herself to be a "real nurse" because she's "just" passing meds and doing treatments. Too bad she can't adjust her attitude to encompass "real nursing" into her job!
  10. by   PillowTalk
    I have been an LPN for 17 years now and truely enjoy what I do.I have been told my many of my co-workers i should go back to school and become an RN but i have no desire to do that.my own mother has asked when was i going to become a "real" nurse.i have been on my current job for 9 years and my current unit for 6.i work a medical telemetry unit.we care for all sorts of patients who need cardiac monitoring.presently i am one of 3 LPNs on my shift although one has just finished RN school and will be leaving us soon.i am the most senior nurse on my shift and the oldest,at 37.my younger RN collegues come to me with questions,ask my opinion and all.i think it all depends on the character of nurses you work with as to an LPN being a team player or "just" the LPN.there are certain aspects of nursing i can not do and i used to consider it a burden to ask my Rns to do this or do that for me.in the same regard i try and have everything ready for the RN that i need done,if i need a care plan initiated i tell then which one i believe is the best and if they agree with me i get the care plans set out,even take it to them to start.if i need iv meds given i write out a list of what i need done etc.i am proud of the job i do and the RNs i work with are wonderful and i never feel that i do not contribute to the world of nursing.
  11. by   nursejanedough
    The absolute best nurses I have ever worked with were LPN's or LVN's. Especially in LTC. I am RN with Associate Degree. Just because I had one more year of 2x + 6y x 5h = (who the hell knows), does not make me a better nurse. The LPN's that have worked in LTC are the best nurses in the world. I was always asking them questions and they always knew the answer. And the really good older, i mean older, best LPN's were asking me questions, and I would say, "I'm not sure, but let's look it up and find out." The medical field, doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, etc. (all the new medications, treatments, surgeries, etc.) is becoming more complex. If we can't become more humble and say, "Hey, I'm not sure, let me check on that." and then ask our co-workers for advice? We all need help sometimes. Just treat others as you would like to be treated, (or how you would want your mother or father, child to be treated.)
  12. by   3651bht
    Originally posted by chili2641:

    This person is not happy about being a nurse and should leave the field. It does not require four years of college to become a nurse here in MI. Most of the nurses that I work under are LPN's and they are amazing nurses. A college education does not make you a nurse. Graduating from a nursing program and passing boards makes you a nurse. I think it is great that some nurses pursue advanced studies in their field. In bedside nursing however nurses should be on an equal playing field.

    Sorry, graduating from a nursing program and passing boards DOES NOT NECCESARILY make you a nurse. All it gives you is a license to practice nursing. Just like a driver's license gives you the right to drive. And we all know how some people drive!!!!!!
  13. by   kellysue
    you know youre a real nurse when your residents ask if youll be back to take care of them tomorrow. I am an RN now but i really miss my LPN days in the nursing home. I went for my RN because i wanted to be a "real nurse". Now I realize that I already was!
  14. by   grouchy
    Momangel and Patmostoi,you both gave beautiful answers!

    It always blows my mind that Rns, who know what is like to be disrespected by doctors, sometimes think nothing of turning around disrespecting LPNs, CNAs, etc. We, who know what it is like to experience this ourselves, have no excuse for this behavior!

    I've learned alot from LPNs, aides, respiratory therapists, etc, and I'm still learning. I've had LPNs and CNAs save me from making mistakes.

    I've noticed that the doctors who respond to my questions or suggestions with silence seem to be the worst clinicians. The more open ones, who will answer you as an equal if you question one of their decisions are usually the sharpest diagnosticians. i think this shows that snobbery is the refuge of the untalented. This goes for snobby RN's too.

    P.S. What is a CMA? We don't have these where I have worked in Connecticut. Also, I think that it's beautiful that your husband and you work together the way you do, and apparently have done so successfully for a long time. You should be on Oprah or something on Valentine's Day!

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