NP: Still a nurse?

  1. 1
    I recently had to re-certify in ACLS and during the introductions a fellow ACLS student stated that she was a NP. During the course of the day she made several references to "when she was a nurse". Just curious, do you still consider yourself to be a nurse albeit in abroad sense of the term?

    Not trying to start a semantics war here (or offend anyone on either side of this), but I've just never heard anyone go to as much trouble as she did to separate herself from being a nurse and I'm interested in your opinions of this behavior.
    Last edit by Joe V on Aug 7, '13
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Yes we are still nurses, and we have to maintain our RN licenses. Most NPs I've met still call themselves a nurse, but they might say something like "When I worked at the bedside..." or something like that.
    TakeTwoAspirin likes this.
  5. 1
    I'm a psych CNS, not an NP, but I spend a lot of time in the large academic medical center in which I work on the psych C&L service reminding the people that I work with that I am a nurse (I get mistaken for a physician a lot, which I really don't like).

    My grad program was at a school that also had a direct-entry (non-nurses) MSN program, and we were in classes with the DE students once they had completed their initial year of basic nursing eucation -- I noticed that most of them were v. uncomfortable with the idea of being nurses (their preferred term was "clinician"), and would go through all kinds of verbal gymnastics to avoid even using the term. They had no intention of ever working as a generalist RN (thank goodness, haha), and were strictly there to become advanced practice nurses. (I was a traditional, experience-RN student.)
    TakeTwoAspirin likes this.
  6. 0
    Yeah, I get the whole licensing thing (I'm graduating from an APN program in a few of months), but this was more of an emotional detachment she wanted to establish - like she didn't want to be associated with as a "nurse". While I have heard many people define themselves in the terms Annaiya and elkpart characterize, I have never quite heard someone disassociate themselves from nursing quite so vigorously. Most of the NPs I know are proud of their nursing credentials. Regardless of what specialty I've worked in or what my future holds, I truly hope that I will always define myself as a nurse, first. I'm proud of my nursing heritage and I guess I just don't understand anyone who would try to deny that in some way. It just bothered me.
  7. 4
    I'm a Direct Entry grad RN-NP and most definitely consider myself a nurse. Nursing is the basis of my knowledge and training, and that's where my affiliation is. I don't know anyone from my cohort who does not consider themselves a nurse.
    myelin, coast2coast, priorities2, and 1 other like this.
  8. 1
    I am careful not to refer to my pre-NP experience as "when I was a nurse" because of the negative perception that the OP brought up. I of course associate with nursing as the discipline I belong to and I am also quick to correct patients who assume I am a physician. I typically would say something along the lines of what Annaiya stated such as "when I worked at the bedside as a nurse in the ICU..." or "before I became an NP when I was a nurse in the ER...".
    TakeTwoAspirin likes this.
  9. 1
    An advance practice nurse is just that -- I am a nurse who has advanced training in pathophysiology, assessment, etc, which allows me to go a step further in the care of my patients, but I still look at the patient as a nurse. I don't look only at the disease process, but how it affects their functioning, the family dynamics, the teaching, etc. I work with children with asthma and I find that the nursing component of care is far more important than the medical. We can prescribe the right drug at the right dose but if the patient isn't using the medication it won't do any good. It is my nursing education and training that helps me understand all the factors involved in medication non-compliance and how to tailor the teaching to each patient.
    TakeTwoAspirin likes this.
  10. 1
    A NP I spoke with the other day referred to herself as a "staff nurse" before she became an NP.
    TakeTwoAspirin likes this.
  11. 2
    It depends on my audience. I consider myself a nurse. If I was talking to a patient that associates nursing with traditional bedside role I might say something like "when I worked as a nurse"; I still technically "work as a nurse" but my role, at least to some patients, is very different.
    trudlebug and TakeTwoAspirin like this.
  12. 2
    honestly....probably not popular but I think its different. i don't really think of NP's as nurses. I think she probably would have been better to say at the bedside but she is in a different role than she was as a staff rn and in my mind even though in theory they are still a nurse i don't consider them to be. Direct entry NP....i don't even consider them former nurses. more like a pa. I do know the NP's we work with and what their role used to be. I can tell those who have done acute as floor nurses because they get it.
    BritFNP and TakeTwoAspirin like this.


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