You look too young to be a nurse - page 4

by SwansonRN

7,414 Views | 39 Comments

Is something I hear from my patients constantly. I'm petite with I guess a lot of people consider a "baby face". I am told a lot that I look like I'm in my teens. Thanks? It used to not bother me, but now I think it's rude... Read More


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    One of my favourites is "Oh, if I had a dollar for everytime someone said/asked that, I'd be able to retire now!" lol
    SwansonRN and Esme12 like this.
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    Quote from gitanorn
    now imagine if you will, a 18yr. working as a nurse with his bsn that was me many moons ago. having said that, when patients say to me "i got underwear older than you, so how old are son?" i would answer "old enough to take the fifth on that one, and here's your pain medication mr. so and so" however, these days i take it as a compliment
    no kidding right? if someone made that kind of statement now....
    i'd kiss them!!!! :kiss
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    Thanks for the continued great ideas!

    Just curious...some posters have mentioned that patients have the right to be assured, comfortable, et. cetera. While I completely agree to that, does that excuse being discriminatory? What if the patient didn't feel "assured" because someone looked too old? Too heavy? A certain nationality or race? Even gender? I am always going to be a patient advocate, but I will not make excuses for or justify that kind of behavior.

    Thoughts?
    Last edit by SwansonRN on Jul 11, '12 : Reason: Typo
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    Depends on what you mean by discriminatory. Discriminate based on race, creed, religion, gender, sexuality, nationality - No
    Based on educational merits and experience- yes. When I said a patient has the right to feel assured, that means assured with the CARE they're going to be given. Someone making a comment, "are you old enough..." alludes to them being curious about the experience the person has - OR alludes to them really thinking that the person looks very young for what they're doing and the education level required and that person should take it as a compliment or just reassure the patient of their experience.

    There's a difference in discriminating against someone's color and someone's education. In this day and age where so many mistakes are made in healthcare, a patient has every right to be assured. But yes, I agree with you that someone's weight, gender etc has nothing to do with it. I just wanted to be clear on that and what I meant. I have a friend who just finished med school and looks about 17 (he's 26 or so) and gets asked all the time about his age. Again, take it as a compliment and move on with your day.
    SwansonRN likes this.
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    I don't think they are being discriminatory...they are seeking to be reassured. Besides, they are the one's in the vulnerable position it is no longer about you but it is all about them.

    Your beliefs are not the consideration here, you get to go home....they don't they are the vulnerable ones. Your job is to care for patients, and be respectful, regardless of their beliefs, race, sex or religion.

    That's just the way it is. You can't take all of this personally and to heart.....they don't want a young nurse find them an old one and move on.....it really isn't personal to you. If someone didn't want me to care for them because I had purple hair or tattoos....I'm not going to force my presence on them...besides, it's their loss because I'm the best nurse they will ever see. I have been called everything but blond and Caucasian..was I offended? NO, because I don't really care what some drug crazed or intoxicated stranger thinks. No skin off my nose.

    I just move on. I hope this helps
    joshsc, Creamsoda, and SwansonRN like this.
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    As always, great points. I'm still a sensitive gal, so that's something I obviously need to work on.
    Esme12 likes this.
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    Quote from sarakjp
    As always, great points. I'm still a sensitive gal, so that's something I obviously need to work on.
    I feel ya. I'm pretty sensitive too. But working in this field will help you toughen up lol.
    DizzyLizzyNurse likes this.
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    Quote from sarakjp
    As always, great points. I'm still a sensitive gal, so that's something I obviously need to work on.
    We aren't perfect.....but it does get easier with the more experience and confidence you feel.
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    I too have this issue and the problem is that I look about 17, I have almost a few months of nursing experience and I am actually 22 what should I do when it feels like the pt doesnt respect my opinion once they know that Im young or figure that I have a few months of experience. I'm still growing in this profession so what should I say when someone asks for my age, or when I was licensed? Should I plead the fifth?As a another poster stated. Normally I get this question when I introduce myself so it can set the tone for the shift even if I try to provide the best care possible I still get that condescending tone from some pts. What should I do? Especially if I get the feeling that my response will cause the pt to be uneasy or not to take me seriously. With some pts I definitely knew that the question was just out of curiosity which I completely understand others get uneasy or try to take advantage such as making requests that they might believe a newer nurse would be lenient on etc. I normally tell them that I have good genes, what else can I say especially when this answer does not suffice for some pts.
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    I am fantastic at IV starts, and was called to pediatrics one day to start a line on a twelve year old. Of course, someone had put topical anesthetic on his arm where they figured I should try, but naturally the best places once I had the tourniquet on were not within the "numb" areas. Mom refused to let me try anywhere but the numbed areas, and of course I missed. She looked at me, then at the peds nurse behind me, and said, "I want somebody with more experience. You can leave now."

    I didn't argue (no point), but I AM the one people call for a tough start and I don't often miss. The peds nurse who called me was in her fifties and could not start an IV to save her life, but all mom could see was I looked too young and she looked experienced so she should be the one to do it.


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