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A real nurse

Nurses   (12,367 Views 66 Comments)
by AOx1 AOx1 (Member)

AOx1 has 15 years experience and specializes in ER, ICU, Education.

3 Articles; 22,370 Profile Views; 961 Posts

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I am working on my doctorate, working full-time as a nurse educator, and during summers and breaks I return to the ICU, my first love :) I was working in the ICU last weekend when a coworker asked me if I missed working as a "real" nurse. I found this surprising, although I probably shouldn't. Over time, including on this board, I've heard over and over the same misconception that if you're not a bedside hospital nurse, you're not a "real" nurse.

There are a thousand permutations on the theme: LTC nurses aren't real nurses, people who work outside of "unit x" aren't real nurses, people who are LPNs aren't "real" nurses, ad nauseum. I am so tired of this. A favored theme seems to be "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." I feel that despite working my butt off to stay current in my practice and bring relevant education to students, these contributions must have no value in my peers' eyes.

To me, a nurse comes in so many forms; different but equal, all with an important role. Why does nursing only respect the value of ONE type of nursing? It's like Pinocchio, worried about being a "real" boy. I wish more time was spent recognizing our peers unique skills and less spent trying to tear each other down. That's all, just a vent and a wish things would change.

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canoehead has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

6,590 Posts; 48,602 Profile Views

When I didn't have hands on at the bedside I forgot what it was like. "Real" nursing is the base of our profession, and what every other type of nursing is based on. Calling it "real" gives some credit to the folks in the trenches, and they need as many props as they can get.

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NurseLoveJoy88 has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC.

3,959 Posts; 31,750 Profile Views

OP well said. I agree 100 percent. I get a double whammy being a LPN and working in LTC. One of my patients that know I'm in RN school told me once I'm done I will be a REAL nurse. I had to really bite my tongue. I felt like telling her " What in the hell do you think I am now a pretend nurse?"

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4,412 Posts; 33,587 Profile Views

Ya know people who drop that "real nurse" line, appear very weak to me.

Actually it allows me to see envy in their eyes. That is power, and if it were me on the receiving end of that comment, the giver would see a broad smile like a cheshire cat on my face.

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4,412 Posts; 33,587 Profile Views

Besides, we all know that nursing aint that big of a thang these days. "Real nurse" is not something you can brag about to another nurse and be legit, I know I AM right about that!!!!!:lol2:

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sparrowRN has 5 years experience.

15 Posts; 1,070 Profile Views

Thank you so much for this.

I am a volunteer nurse in a free clinic and I sometimes have to tell myself that even though I don't have a W-2, I am still a "real" nurse. I pay for insurance and continuing education. I have an active license that says licensed to practice as an RN, what is more real than that!

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701 Posts; 9,004 Profile Views

A "real nurse" is a nurse who has a license stating that they are either a licensed or registered nurse. THAT is the defining criteria of who is a nurse and who is not.

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Isabelle49 specializes in Home Health.

848 Posts; 12,704 Profile Views

To me, a 'real nurse' is on who is hands on in client care. Too many nurses move into corporate management, teaching and other areas that does not involve hands on care and they may be in those positions for years and years - that is not a 'real nurse'. I have felt that the Boards of Nursing should require a minumum of 240 hours of hands on care to maintain a nursing license.

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CVmursenary has 1 years experience and specializes in Cardiothoracic ICU.

240 Posts; 6,071 Profile Views

I don't think your co-worker meant anything by it. Just asking how it was to be back at the bedside, the classic nursing job. Chill out, nurse education is not the same although you are still a nurse, its not typical nursing.

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cwhitebn specializes in General Surgery, Orthopaedics, ICU, ER.

42 Posts; 1,394 Profile Views

I see it as I am a "real nurse" because I am the one with the client, helping them at the bedside every way I can, watching them suffer. That's what makes me a real nurse.

The nurse who sits behind the desk with her degrees and writes about it all, to me, isn't a real nurse. A nurse but not like me.

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AOx1 has 15 years experience and specializes in ER, ICU, Education.

3 Articles; 961 Posts; 22,370 Profile Views

To me, a 'real nurse' is on who is hands on in client care. Too many nurses move into corporate management, teaching and other areas that does not involve hands on care and they may be in those positions for years and years - that is not a 'real nurse'. I have felt that the Boards of Nursing should require a minumum of 240 hours of hands on care to maintain a nursing license.

Interesting. So, despite the fact that I still work actively in the ICU, the second I enter the doors of the school to teach, I cease to be a "real" nurse? I suppose that would make me roughly 25% real, since I teach full time and only work ICU w/e, holidays, and summer. I wonder who will teach students since nurse educators aren't real. It can't be a bedside nurse, since that bedside nurse will then also cease to be a real nurse. Sounds like quite the conundrum!

I have a close friend who just retired after 45 years as an RN. I'm sure she will be sad to learn that now that she's retired, she also has ceased to be "real" and her contributions to the field have now been invalidated.

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OCNRN63 is a RN and specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

5,978 Posts; 53,762 Profile Views

OP well said. I agree 100 percent. I get a double whammy being a LPN and working in LTC. One of my patients that know I'm in RN school told me once I'm done I will be a REAL nurse. I had to really bite my tongue. I felt like telling her " What in the hell do you think I am now a pretend nurse?"

You should have said, "Yeah. It's a shame you don't have a real nurse taking care of you now."

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