What makes a nurse?

  1. I have read with interest the thread about going back to white caps and uniforms.

    I would like you for a minute, to put yourself in "patient" mode and write your thoughts on what makes a nurse. If you feel like it, you could even ask some of your patients. I think that it would be interesting to see nursing from a patient's point of view as they see nursing now.
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    About essarge

    Joined: Apr '01; Posts: 1,345; Likes: 12
    student nurse extern


  3. by   det01
    I think sometimes people get confused who is and isn't a nurse. I do not like the going back to white caps and white dresses thing - b/c I think we should be able to be comfortable.

    I know when I am around the hospital it is hard to tell nurses from aides or from other allied health professions.
  4. by   essarge
    I agree, when I am working as a CNA, I am constantly being called and nurse....which I promptly correct. But, I don't think institutions or nurses are looking at that. A nurse has a huge body of knowledge that he/she uses every day with each and every patient. But at what point, do nurses as a whole, get recognized (visually and professionally) by the patient?

    When I was a patient, I could not tell the difference between CNAs, nurses, lab techs, etc. It was pretty confusing!
  5. by   Jen2
    I myself have vowed to wear all white when I graduate nursing school. This is just my opinion and my choice only. I will not slam others for wearing what they want. I am currently a phleb and have many brightly colored tops. However, our pants must be Carribean Blue. I just think that paitients recognize nurses in all white much better. I have at least one pt. a day call me "nurse", and when corrected their reply is "Who can tell the difference, nurses used to wear all white." I will not wear the cap, but I think that all white will make me stand out to my patients, and after all of my hard work, I want to stand out. I don't think that all white has to look "old fashioned" with the uniform choices of today. As far as getting the uniforms dirty, thats what Spray and Wash is for. It's just my opinion and my choice. Anyone else's choice is also fine with me. I also adore cute little bunny tops and have had patients comment on how nice they looked also. It's still IMHO, that white says nurse.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    With all due respect, I must disagree with the previous posters on what makes a nurse. I don't care if the nurse in question is wearing pajamas----when I'm the patient, I want someone taking care of me who knows the science of nursing AND the art of caring. I want a nurse who knows I'm in pain even before I ask for meds, who anticipates what might go wrong and plans ahead for my care in case it does, who will advocate for me yet be firm if I'm non-compliant with the treatment plan. Most of all, I want a nurse who respects me as a human being and treats me as a partner in my own care, rather than preaching at me or making value judgments about me. What does it matter what he or she wears??
  7. by   Jen2
    It does not matter, I am simply going on first impression of a patient. The patient already assumes you know what you are doing or else you would not be there. My point is that they trust anyone in a uniform. Who's to say that some crazy hospital employee might try to give medical advice to a patient when a patient asks. I have seen housekeepers giving patients drinks that were on fluid restriction, but just because they are wearing scrubs the patients asked them if they would pour them a glass of water. Granted he or she meant no harm and was trying to help, but sill. For me it is a give in that I will be caring and compasionate, otherwise why would I be pursuing this career? Just discussing dress hear not competency.
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    Oops......the title of the thread is "What Makes a Nurse?". Silly me, I thought it was about what actually makes a nurse, rather than a fashion forum. My mistake. I apologize for my statement and agree that it "does not matter".
  9. by   jenac
    I don't think the clothes make the nurse-it's an attitude. I choice to wear professional clothing (usually a white/colored top over white pants)-to be easily identified as a nurse by anyone who might need one-be it a resident or family member. Besides- with a stethoscope around my neck half the day, it's hard to be mistaken for a housekeeper!
    Last edit by jenac on Aug 22, '03
  10. by   Jen2
    Not a problem. I was Just referring back to the thread starters opening line, and the main complaint that I hear every day from "patients opinion" about they can't tell who is who. I do think that they have a legitimate complaint. I myself just had surgery in May and asked a nursing assistant to take a look at my I.V. because I thought that it was infiltrating. The clothes does not make the nurse, but in the patients eyes any yahoo in the hospital could be the nurse.
  11. by   essarge
    Dress may have something to do with "What makes a nurse" from a patients point of view. And that might be a beginning point for the patient to recognize a nurse. I think initial recognition is very important. Like Jen2 said, housekeeping (who were dressed the same as other staff I'm assuming) was giving drinks to a patient on fluid restriction. OK, I'm not saying go back to the whites but perhaps someone could come up with an amiable solution for nurses to be recognized by the patient on initial sight.

    And yes, mj, you also have a valid point of caring and knowledge. But from a patient's point of view, they "see" the caring. Knowledge is something that is cognitive and cannot be recognized initially by the patient.

    That being said....almost everyone in any aspect of healthcare has a caring attitude...this includes housekeeping, lab, CNAs etc. So where does visual recognition for the patient/nurse relationship come in? I think that this would be a very important step for nurses in their recognition for autonomy and professional recognition.
  12. by   jenac
    MJ- I did the same thing.
  13. by   essarge
  14. by   bedpan
    OK - Let's just all say that what one wears has a lot to do with a patient's first impression of a nurse - But the reason I opened this thread was it's title "What makes a nurse"

    I think everyone can agree that anyone could wear all white or any type of uniform they want and that has nothing to do with what truly makes a nurse - So what do you think - What truly makes a nurse?