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Nursing is Just a Job- common myths in nursing

Nurses   (13,760 Views 41 Comments)
by The_Optimist The_Optimist (Member)

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Nursing is just a job

For some it may be a calling,all well and good but for most, it is simply just a job.

When you learn to look at it scientifically without having too much expectation of suddenly becoming all altruistic or Nightingalish”, you would truly have a better time and go at it.

Common Myths (& facts) in Nursing

Myth: Becoming a nurse means becoming angelic overnight

Fact: Nope! If you were Dracula before nursing school, you will still be Dracula after nursing school (and if you weren't, you'd become one!:)

Myth: Everyone is pleasant in nursing

Fact: Nope! Nursing is a job and like all jobs you get the good mixed in with the bad

Myth: You suddenly feel called to a purpose

Fact: Nope! Nursing is a job , a darn good job that pays the bills and keeps up whatever lifestyle you have is all it is.

Myth: You become a martyr

Fact: Nope! You still have choices and it is up to you to decide whether you want to be stepped on or not.

So understand that nursing is just a job. When you put things in perspective, you find that you have a clearer sense of what it is that you do or don't want. Peace;)

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3,726 Posts; 23,557 Profile Views

The work I did prior to nursing were just jobs, ice cream scooper at Baskin Robbins, server at a family diner..

Nursing is my trade, I take tremendous pride in my work. I own it as if I had to pedal it to consumers, my employer provides a setting in which I can practice and for which am reimbursed.

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AtLeastMyDogLovesMe has 3 years experience.

41 Posts; 856 Profile Views

I dunno...I think having that attitude is exactly what makes many nurses miserable. "Its just a job." "I'm just a robot following the doctor's orders." I know for me having those thoughts made it very hard to go to work some days. Nursing is a baby in its development of a profession and it is going to have some growing pains. I think we would get more fulfillment if we started to stand up for our profession, push for development and growth, and took more control over our careers and developed entrepreneurship. I think if we do these things we can start to develop our own autonomy and feel less like robots just taking MD orders. ...omg I sound like an old lady academic :roflmao:

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

13,067 Posts; 58,153 Profile Views

I dunno...I think having that attitude is exactly what makes many nurses miserable. "Its just a job." "I'm just a robot following the doctor's orders." I know for me having those thoughts made it very hard to go to work some days. Nursing is a baby in its development of a profession and it is going to have some growing pains. I think we would get more fulfillment if we started to stand up for our profession, push for development and growth, and took more control over our careers and developed entrepreneurship. I think if we do these things we can start to develop our own autonomy and feel less like robots just taking MD orders. ...omg I sound like an old lady academic :roflmao:

"Nursing is just a job" is not the same thing as "I am a robot." You don't have to become a robot and "just following orders" to take a careerist attitude toward your work. Your "job" can include all of the good values that we like to associate with nursing. As part of my job, I try to give the best care that I can ... I advocate for my patients ... I provide holistic care ... I am compassionate ... etc. Thinking of your work as a job can include all the good stuff.

I think that what the OP is saying is that some of the stereotypes about nursing having to be a spiritual calling in order to be a good nurse ... or that all nurses are saintly in nature ... need to be dubunked. Too many people fall into traps by believing in those old stereotypes. We need to treat our profession as a profession (not a calling) and be realistic about our workworld and work life.

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

19,552 Posts; 64,930 Profile Views

Why the all or nothing thinking? It's both a job and a calling for many. Or one or the other for others. You nor I get to say how people need to feel about why they entered nursing and continue to practice.

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HouTx has 35 years experience as a BSN, MSN, EdD and specializes in Critical Care, Education.

9,051 Posts; 44,705 Profile Views

I agree with OP's premise... don't buy into the stereotypes. But - nursing (like other licensed professionals) is different than regular jobs. We actually have to 'serve two masters'... our BON & our employer. The BON is most important, as jobs may come and go, but there is only one license. This seems to be a very difficult concept for employers to grasp - as they are shocked and dismayed when nurses leave because of impossible workloads, problems with patient safety, or any other type of environment that makes it impossible to abide by our Nurse Practice Act.

Our nursing license represents a contract with society.. we are legally and professionally bound to meet specific standards. We are 'mandatory reporters' - of many things from abuse to fraud... if we don't report, our own licenses can be in jeopardy. This is the extra 'stuff' that civilians in normal jobs don't have to deal with. Doesn't mean we have to be a super-special angel... but we are accountable for a different set of standards, and we need to be aware of those standards just to stay out of trouble.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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I dunno...I think having that attitude is exactly what makes many nurses miserable. "Its just a job." "I'm just a robot following the doctor's orders." I know for me having those thoughts made it very hard to go to work some days. Nursing is a baby in its development of a profession and it is going to have some growing pains. I think we would get more fulfillment if we started to stand up for our profession, push for development and growth, and took more control over our careers and developed entrepreneurship. I think if we do these things we can start to develop our own autonomy and feel less like robots just taking MD orders. ...omg I sound like an old lady academic :roflmao:

"Nursing is a job, not a calling" is a far reach from "I am just a robot." No wonder you found it hard to go to work if you allowed yourself to believe that you were just a robot following orders! If you didn't engage your brain thoroughly, you weren't doing it right.

I disagree with your assessment of nursing as a profession. I think it's up to us to develop our careers and grow in our education, but I for one have never felt like "a robot taking doctor's orders." I had an interesting, challenging career with good pay, benefits and working conditions and flexible scheduling. But perhaps that's due to my attitude.

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MrChicagoRN has 30 years experience as a RN and specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care.

2,589 Posts; 28,344 Profile Views

I would call it neither "a calling", nor "just a job" for most nurses.

I see it as a profession, or at least a highly skilled trade.

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

13,067 Posts; 58,153 Profile Views

Why the all or nothing thinking? It's both a job and a calling for many. Or one or the other for others. You nor I get to say how people need to feel about why they entered nursing and continue to practice.

I agree. The "all or nothing" thinking is something that gets us into trouble, too. Many of us chose nursing because it is compatible with our values and adds meaning to our lives. For some, it is a true spiritual calling and that is OK. For others, it was a career chosen to satisfy our desires to do meaningful work and help others -- and that's OK, too. For still others, it is just a job with no special meaning attached -- and as long as we do a good job, that is OK, too.

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I agree that it can be both a calling and a job.

It's fine if someone doesn't want to refer to nursing as their calling, but I think there has to be some other reason to pursue nursing other than having "a good job." There are plenty of jobs out there where you don't have to deal with sick people, bodily fluids, demanding patients and even being assaulted, all while expected to deal with it all. I feel that there is a reason why nurses are willing to put up with some of that, and other people who have chosen not to pursue nursing, choose not to. You have to care about others, to a certain extent, to really do the job well and to be the nurses your patients want.

At the same time, nursing is possibly over glamorized at times, or put on an undeserved pedestal. Yes, it is a very important job, and we have people's lives on our hands. At the same time, it is not the only important profession out there. Other people besides nurses are needed, so if someone decides to no longer be a nurse, they shouldn't feel bad about themselves. After all, like the OP said, being a nurse doesn't make someone an angel. It's possible to be a good person and not be a nurse, and vice versa.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

65 Articles; 13,944 Posts; 170,494 Profile Views

I agree that it can be both a calling and a job.

It's fine if someone doesn't want to refer to nursing as their calling, but I think there has to be some other reason to pursue nursing other than having "a good job." There are plenty of jobs out there where you don't have to deal with sick people, bodily fluids, demanding patients and even being assaulted, all while expected to deal with it all. I feel that there is a reason why nurses are willing to put up with some of that, and other people who have chosen not to pursue nursing, choose not to. You have to care about others, to a certain extent, to really do the job well and to be the nurses your patients want.

At the same time, nursing is possibly over glamorized at times, or put on an undeserved pedestal. Yes, it is a very important job, and we have people's lives on our hands. At the same time, it is not the only important profession out there. Other people besides nurses are needed, so if someone decides to no longer be a nurse, they shouldn't feel bad about themselves. After all, like the OP said, being a nurse doesn't make someone an angel. It's possible to be a good person and not be a nurse, and vice versa.

There are plenty of jobs out there where you have to deal with screaming, entitled children and their helicopter parents who think the teachers should be teaching their offspring things like manners and values that the parents should have been instilling all along. There are plenty of jobs out there where you have to work outside in the sun and heat, in the snow, in the rain and even in a swamp full of mud and insects. (DH worked construction and the oil fields before becoming a nurse.). There are plenty of jobs out there where you work for peanuts and still have to deal with the general public and all that entails. There are plenty of jobs out there that require a lot more (expensive) education and leave you with an even larger pile of student loans to pay off. There are plenty of jobs out there that require being away from home five nights a week (or more) and make family life impossible. There are plenty of jobs out there that require being deployed to a desert for months or years at a time, where you risk your life every minute of every day. There are plenty of jobs out there that require you to risk your life every minute of every shift. There are plenty of jobs out there, and each and every one of them has something negative about it. Bodily fluids, sick people and demanding patients (and visitors) is a negative, but it's not nearly as negative to me as being shot at, deployed, working outside in all weather or being away from home for long periods of time.

I don't think nursing is overglamourized. Medicine is, being a lawyer or a police officer is, being a "fixer" is. I don't think that nursing is glamorized enough. Being a nurse doesn't make one an angel, but being a good nurse makes one a person who is good at a tough job.

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There are plenty of jobs out there where you have to deal with screaming, entitled children and their helicopter parents who think the teachers should be teaching their offspring things like manners and values that the parents should have been instilling all along. There are plenty of jobs out there where you have to work outside in the sun and heat, in the snow, in the rain and even in a swamp full of mud and insects. (DH worked construction and the oil fields before becoming a nurse.). There are plenty of jobs out there where you work for peanuts and still have to deal with the general public and all that entails. There are plenty of jobs out there that require a lot more (expensive) education and leave you with an even larger pile of student loans to pay off. There are plenty of jobs out there that require being away from home five nights a week (or more) and make family life impossible. There are plenty of jobs out there that require being deployed to a desert for months or years at a time, where you risk your life every minute of every day. There are plenty of jobs out there that require you to risk your life every minute of every shift. There are plenty of jobs out there, and each and every one of them has something negative about it. Bodily fluids, sick people and demanding patients (and visitors) is a negative, but it's not nearly as negative to me as being shot at, deployed, working outside in all weather or being away from home for long periods of time.

I don't think nursing is overglamourized. Medicine is, being a lawyer or a police officer is, being a "fixer" is. I don't think that nursing is glamorized enough. Being a nurse doesn't make one an angel, but being a good nurse makes one a person who is good at a tough job.

I am not saying that there aren't any other jobs with negative aspects to them, some worse than nursing. I simply listed some of the negative parts of nursing, and why some people might avoid the career. Like you said, someone who does well as a nurse is good at a tough job, but, as your first paragraph described, it is not the only difficult job out there.

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