Article: The Sport of Nursing

  1. wow.. this sounds like what I was hearing when I was an undergraduate... and then in graduate school.
    I love the idea of being compaired to a profession athlete. I know most days after 12 hours I am physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, good day, bad day or "average" day. Most people don't understand what we really go through in a days time. Thanks for the support and the real view of what we do.
    By the way, i have printed this to share with the nurses at my hospital. I hope others share it with their peers.
    God Bless
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    About BEAnurs

    Joined: Jun '01; Posts: 1
    RNCS - Med/surg, Clinical Resource Nurse/Supervisor


  3. by   P_RN
    Wow, so, so true
  4. by   Brian
    Please Note: This brief article was sent in by an user who wishes to remain anonymous.

    The Sport of Nursing
    Author Anonymous

    Nursing as a sport may be a new concept, but the image of the nurse as a professional athlete is credible. In order to recruit new nurses and retain those we have, we need promote nursing as a career that involves both mental and physical challenges.

    Athletes are viewed as heroes in Olympic sports or playoff games. Sports fans enjoy watching their favorite teams but are generally unable to compete at a professional level. People are drawn to nursing by observing nurses as they perform heroic feats in books, on TV and in the movies. Fans of nurses often state that while they admire what they do they would not be able to handle some aspects of the job.

    Those who choose nursing as a profession often separate the mental challenges from the physical demands of the profession. A conflict occurs when nurses find that they are unable to meet both the mental and physical demands.

    Athletes spend years learning the rules and regulations of their games. They study the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents and constantly update their knowledge as members of the opposing teams change. Nurses also spend years studying the many aspects of their profession and constantly update their knowledge as technology and advances in medicine emerge. After years of study a great player makes a professional team. A well-prepared nurse will pass state boards
    Physical training for the athlete includes running and weight lifting; strenuous activities are also necessary in the sport of nursing. Mental preparation is necessary for athletes, nurses must also think on their feet while handling emergencies and solving problems.

    Personal protective equipment such as helmets and pads are commonly used by athletes but accidents still happen. Nurses also use personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks. Accidents happen, nurses are injured and acquire communicable and sometimes fatal illnesses.

    Athletes are sometimes jeered by fans and berated by coaches. Nurses must learn to handle workplace violence and mental and physical abuse by patients, families, physicians and administration.

    Replacing nurses with less qualified and less costly assistants has weakened the nursing team, in the present health care system. Since consumers in the health care system are as acutely ill and demanding as ever, this places the nursing team at a disadvantage. The result is more errors for consumers and more injuries to nurses, forcing team members to leave at a greater rate. This situation also places nurses at greater legal risk including loss of a license to practice. Fans of professional sports teams would never tolerate their team regularly functioning with substitutes.
    A penalty is imposed upon a professional athlete for an infraction of the rules; the team suffers when a member must sit on the bench or in time out. Nurses are penalized on a regular basis when a member of their team is missing and are expected to pick up the slack for the missing members.

    Administrators blame the victims and claim that they cannot hire nurses because of a nursing shortage; a shortage that they created with reorganization of the hospital structure and weakening of the traditional nursing team.

    Professional sports teams allow players to adjust to jetlag and provide for adequate time off between games. Team members are congratulated for an overtime performance. Athletes have an off season to recover from the rigors of their sport. Nurses are often called on scheduled days off to fill in during shortages or emergencies. They are expected to work overtime and change shifts on a regular basis. There are no half time breaks or lunches on busy days and there is no off season.

    Nurses are required to complete copious amounts of documentation to assure a complete medical record, which meets legal and regulatory requirements. They must do so in a manner, which will assure that, they do not lose their license and their livelihood because of an omission. Athletes may review films their events but are not required to document each play in detail after an event.

    The quest for recognition in their sport and the desire for an opportunity to play on a professional team are motivated by many factors including salary. Altruism, a motivating factor that brings many people into nursing, does not pay. Nurses who further their education at great expense of time and money have no guarantee of reward for their efforts.

    Nurses who work in the clinical arena enjoy the highs they feel when things go well much as the professional athlete feels with a personal or team win. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat can occur in the same day for the nurse.

    Nurses with physical limitations or increased personal obligations must often leave many years of learning and experience behind and find less physically demanding positions. Since few such nursing positions exist and special preparation may be required, many seasoned nurses abandon the profession. The loss of this talent is tragic in an era when the needs of consumers are critical. Limited career advancement also deters entry into nursing.

    A society is judged on how it treats its most vulnerable members. An aging population will require more, not fewer, resources. Consumers will not benefit from advances in technology and treatment of disease when the nursing team is reduced and weakened. Consumers must demand trained professionals, not substitute players, to provide care for themselves and their families just as they expect the best from the sports teams they support.

    We live in a nation that worships athletes. If you enjoy a contest that is both mentally and physically challenging then nursing is your sport.

    Please Note: This brief article was sent in by an user who wishes to remain anonymous.

    [ June 17, 2001: Message edited by: bshort ]
  5. by   KWD
    I just printed this for our bulletin board in our breakroom. Truer words were never spoken. As a Med-Surg nurse, I always considered myself and my co-workers as athletes. "WELL DOCUMENTED"
  6. by   Mijourney
    Hi. The essay written was very insightful, well-organized and summed up alot of what I feel has been referred to on this bb. I agree with much of what was written.

    I tend to compare nurses more to soldiers in the throes of battle who are wearing worn torn clothes (envision the picture of the raggedy looking nurse). I see sports nowadays as being for our amusement and enjoyment-like entertainment (yes, I know for our mates, the viewing of sports is needed to keep them going). Even though nurses and entertainers have the same requirements in so far as needing to know and perform their craft well, nurses are not entertainers but people concerned with human condition and with a desire to see lives improve for the better.

    Although I appreciate the talents of a good athlete, I would choose a talented, caring nurse over an athlete anytime. I think having a good nurse in one's corner is a necessity.
  7. by   ERIsland
    What a great article. I work in an emergency room and at the end of a non-stop 12 hour shift the staff looks like they just finished a triathlon! Maybe we should start stocking Gatorade and power bars at the bedsides for the staff!
  8. by   princess_64
    This was awesome! I've never heard us compared to atheletes before, but this article made that comparison very logical! Thanks for such an uplifting message in a world where we are feeling less and less appreciated by the administration!
  9. by   Y2KRN
    Thanks for the article! I like this perspective of the nursing profession, and as others am going to take this into work with me.