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The Irony of Nursing

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My thoughts on respect and support within this profession. Wrote about personal experiences and shared thoughts among other colleagues. Please add your input. Dying to hear some thoughts on this. We cannot demand for respect if we do not respect one another. You are reading page 5 of The Irony of Nursing. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

3 Articles; 68 Posts; 7,639 Profile Views

I agree with many of the comments.

My opinion surely doesn't matter and I'll start by saying that I don't want you to feel that I'm not supportive. However, I'm not sure that you will be fond of my opinion.

For starters I can relate to your situations from many different angles. I too, at one time, have felt the feelings you are describing.

So for starters, a little bit about me. I still consider myself fairly new nurse, I've been in practice for 7 years and I started nursing school straight out of high school. I am now 27. I completed my LPN, RN, then BSN, and now pursuing my masters. I have to say that my journey has really molded me personally, not just educationally. And truthfully, I just want to share my testimony with you rather than offer my opinion. I have also been an adjunct clinical instructor for 2 years.

I agree that the younger generation only wants praise and doesn't seem to handle constructive criticism well. I consider myself young enough to be deemed as one of these "generation x learners". However, I really take pride in constantly growing both professionally and personally. Therefore, I now embrace criticism. As others have mentioned, the real world is not going to be lollipops and rainbows. Rainbows are visible after storms ONLY if you see them. I come from a family of not ONE single college graduate and very few high school graduates (seriously). Nursing school taught me so much more than the philosophy and practice of nursing. It taught me how to be a professional. It taught me how to become a responsible, reasonable adult. The profession continues to help me grow as an individual every day!

When I first started my career after nursing school, I felt that I stayed in trouble for little things like my attitude and actions in handling situations more so than I had ever in MY entire life. Yes I whined, yes I complained, yes I thought I WAS RIGHT and being treated "wrongly". However, the higher I climb the professional ladder and the older I get, the more I realize that my actions were immature and Now recognize that I have grown from those experiences and am now a different person than I was.

As an instructor, aside from the basic nursing techniques I need to teach my students, I put the most emphasis on professionalism and ACCOUNTABILITY! Of course this is harder to instill in upper level students if this is a new focus for them. As nurses and professionals we have the be accountable for our actions. Being accountable is understanding that we have to suffer the consequences for our actions! It's different than retail. For me, as a nurse, my heart and soul goes into my work everyday. I was a manager at a Pizza Hut prior to being a nurse and understand the frustrations in working with the public. However, my heart and soul did not go into making a pizza. So when dealing with disgruntled customers because they weren't happy with their pizza, I didn't take it personally! I handled it, went home and slept well at night no matter how many complaints I had to deal with. It is much different when you put your heart and soul into something, no matter what the circumstances you take confrontation or conflict personal because your heart and soul are in it! And tension is much higher because as nurses we are introduced to patients when their sick and THEIR lives are at stake. Therefore emotions are rapid from the get go and so are their family's. It's not impromptu emotions like when their goods, clothes, or supper are not just what they anticipated. Their LIVES are involved and it's personal! If you choose to go through the profession dwelling on the negative things you will never grow. I like to think like this.. I'm always a winner, never a looser. As long as I can grow or learn from any little aspect of negative situations I still come out a winner. And by thinking that I can come out a winner in every situation, no matter the outcome, I have earned a respectable reputations amongst my peers and even physicians. Just today I had a physician tell my director "if only I was as smart as she is at her age, I would have conquered the world". Back to the point.. I find that accountability and professionalism is important for nursing students to learn because the "mean, negative, don't care" attitude of my nursing instructors taught me this. Of coarse at the time I felt much like you and didn't understand the purpose. But we as adults and professionals have to learn coping mechanisms. The more situations we are involved in the better we become in handling situations as an adult! Everyone has their own strategy in getting this point across to students and not all do it productively, I agree and apologize to you for that.

Now, with this said I went into nursing with no intent of becoming a NP and frankly when new nurses or students tell me they are only going to nursing school to be a NP or CRNA it bothers me. These positions are highly respected and are leadership positions in the profession. It's kind of like what you said about the giving and earning of respect. How can you be a respected leader of the profession if you can not lead by example and perform the roles of those under you? Do you think facility physicians would be respected by residents if they had never had to go through residency? Do you think that a BSN prepared nurse is entitled to more respect than the ADN nurse just because of their "title"? Their licenses read the same, RN. Period. Going back to NP school for me was not about the "title" or "reputation" it is about my desire to gain more knowledge about the nursing practice.

The difference between nursing and medicine is that nursing is a philosophy and medicine is a science. Medicine is cut and dry, nursing is so much more demential than that. It is holistic, philosophical, and emotional!! You have to earn your status, it doesn't come with the license. If one's desire to go to nursing school is to be a nurse practitioner because of what they do do at their job everyday and to go to school to be able to diagnosis and treat, then medical school is probably a better choice. I'm assuming that it's less philosophical . Good luck to you!

Thank you for your post! I respect and will keep in mind all the things you said.

Its not even the support part thats lacking that bothers me. It's the obvious lack of effort my professors/ program shows in teaching us. Patho, pharm were both online, Med surge 1 & 2 were both taught by a professor who mainly emphasised on patho. I totally get why she would talk about patho because a strong patho background can really make a difference but once we hit that med surge phase and patho already passed but I think its time to learn nursing interventions. Our class had to teach our self med surge to our self. The other online classes were completely self taught. No online lectures, etc.

Now if anything this program has really taught me how to self teach myself. To rely on myself. That I am so much smarter than I thought I was. For that I am actually truly happy.

But I kind of feel like I pay my university to hand me exams/ grades and eventually, hopefully a degree!.

Lol funny you mention medical school, because tell you the truth, was my initial intentions. But I, as well as you, will be the first of my family to obtain a Bachelor's degree. Going down the medical school route and messing up was not an option for me. But I knew I wanted to help people. So I chose nursing. Turns out, I actually really like nursing, its so much more hands on and you really get to know your patients/ be actual support ( not saying drs dont but nursing definitely takes the crown on that one).

BTW, I actually dont think a BSN title is more reputable than a ASN. It is all dependent on the person. Heck I expect all the experienced ASN (heck even the CNAs) people to know way more than me as a new grad if they have more exp. and even a new grad ASN vs BSN from my understanding its practically the same.

I plan to seek a post bachelors education for the same reasons you mentioned. To be challenged and learn more. I like learning medical/ nursing stuff. It interests me. I also like helping people. So healthcare career seems to be my niche.

Funny you mention also how CRNA is considered a high status. I initially was interested in CRNA before I knew how much they were paid.

Also, I dont think NP and MD school can be compared. It takes like 10 years to go to finish medical school. Going the NP route will give you a lot of clinical exp that you can apply to graduate education to help you understand things more in depth. Also, have the compassionate, holistic nursing approach with the science background. Both rigours but different aspects..

Thanks for your post!

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3 Articles; 68 Posts; 7,639 Profile Views

Btw I should also note I had no idea what a PA or NP was when i switched my major from bio to pre-nursing.

I knew nothing about healthcare positions. So i chose nursing because I knew I wanted to help people and pay didnt matter to me. It was a safety net in a way, but probably one of the best decisions I have ever made, but honestly the lack of respect/ professionalism that I seem to face just shows me how not to be a nurse.

This is were I wanted/ want to be. So just constructive criticism back your way, please do not assume that if a nursing student tells you they want to become an NP or CRNA do not think its for the money or for the status. Because, while yes that may be true for some, but not for all. Exhibit A: ME.

I wrote this OP really heated and pent up on frustration because as stated previously, I don't have a mentor/ someone who understands me in real life.

But I do have friends, family and a boyfriend. They just dont get it and I don't bother vocalizing.

I feel better now but kind of regret this post at the same time.

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calivianya is a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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And they're allowed to. The TOS don't prohibit cliches.

Of course they're allowed to; it would be silly to prohibit cliches. The TOS don't prohibit people complaining about cliches, either.

If I gave the impression that I thought they should be prohibited, that's not what I meant. I thoroughly believe in people's ability to say whatever they want, even if what they want to say is deliberately unhelpful or condescending such as the quote about God laughing. However, if a person is going to be deliberately condescending, it's only fair to expect someone to come out of the woodwork and be critical of that person's attitude in return.

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telly32487, your post was beautiful. It is so refreshing to hear that kind of stuff from anyone, old or young. I think that the main point that is trying to be made is that it is good to have aspirations, just be cognizant of the fact that life has a tendency to adjust our agenda. Some give up, some keep on keeping on. I am glad to see that you have progressed and taken to heart the important points, be responsible for your education and that you can learn from anyone. I wish you the best in your endeavors.

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We cannot demand for respect if we do not respect one another.

Actually, I think this is a sound bite that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. You bet your sweet life we can each stand up for respect, both individually and as individuals supporting a profession. This is possible and, I think, mandatory, regardless of whether we perceive that we've received respect from others.

Who says we can't, and why would that not be possible, yea, even desirable? Who cares what others think? Chart your own course, sail your own ship. :yelclap:

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ArrowRN has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med Surg, Vascular, E.N.T.

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Males being chosen as preference and professors favoring guys? really? on what planet is that happening? Cause I don't know about that but definitely did not happen at my college. Males were often viewed as second class nurses with females given the majority of leadership roles and first shot at everything during clinicals and males being treated as the stereotypical muscle. Other proof that this happens is the majority of patients are females, I dont know about studies saying men are more favored by patients but we also get a lot of rejection by female nurses and female patients. Well we got brains too...its hard enough for guys to make it in this field without our female counterparts trying to keep us down at every chance.

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Thank you for the post! Everything you said is correct. Of course, not all nurses succumb to this negative culture. But, the culture is so pervasive, every one of us has experienced it somewhere, at some time. I certainly did while in nursing school. Same thing - professors with chips on their shoulders from having been treated badly themselves, needing something to prove. If you demanded fairness, then you were weak or a trouble maker, not tough enough to be a nurse. If you stood up for yourself, you were not a team player. If you happened to get sick, you were a liability or potentially too unreliable to be a nurse. If you were emotional, then you were potentially too unstable to be a nurse. They could always sum up their rude, disrespectful behavior to be what builds character in a nurse. And then when you begin working as a nurse, there is always someone wishing you failure - someone, somewhere. You have to prove yourself 10 times over and "put people in their place" before any respect is obtained. It is ugly. Some nurses eventually find a good fit or a niche, but those who don't, burn out from the negativity and continual competition. Before the recession, 25% of the RN workforce had decided not to work as nurses. That is a lot of people. You might think I'm an unsuccessful nurse who never found her niche, but not so. I enjoy my job and am quite satisfied with my success in nursing. But this negative, hateful culture within the nursing community is real and needs to change. Share knowledge. Praise each other. Help each other. Empower each other. Care for each other.

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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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Thank you for the post! Everything you said is correct. Of course, not all nurses succumb to this negative culture. But, the culture is so pervasive, every one of us has experienced it somewhere, at some time. I certainly did while in nursing school. Same thing - professors with chips on their shoulders from having been treated badly themselves, needing something to prove. If you demanded fairness, then you were weak or a trouble maker, not tough enough to be a nurse. If you stood up for yourself, you were not a team player. If you happened to get sick, you were a liability or potentially too unreliable to be a nurse. If you were emotional, then you were potentially too unstable to be a nurse. They could always sum up their rude, disrespectful behavior to be what builds character in a nurse. And then when you begin working as a nurse, there is always someone wishing you failure - someone, somewhere. You have to prove yourself 10 times over and "put people in their place" before any respect is obtained. It is ugly. Some nurses eventually find a good fit or a niche, but those who don't, burn out from the negativity and continual competition. Before the recession, 25% of the RN workforce had decided not to work as nurses. That is a lot of people. You might think I'm an unsuccessful nurse who never found her niche, but not so. I enjoy my job and am quite satisfied with my success in nursing. But this negative, hateful culture within the nursing community is real and needs to change. Share knowledge. Praise each other. Help each other. Empower each other. Care for each other.

In the adult workplace, you aren't going to find many managers going around giving positive feedback here and there just because. Positive feedback is given when you do something extraordinarily wonderful; just doing your job isn't praised because that's what you're supposed to do. Ideally we all share knowledge and help each other out, but your "empower each other" and "care for each other" makes me think that you're expecting nurses to be endlessly compassionate and supportive of each other all the time. Nurses are human, and after we expend our compassion on the patients and their families, sometimes there just isn't much to give to one another.

I haven't run across this horrible negative culture of nursing that you're bemoaning, except in a few isolated instances. If you're constantly running across a negative, hateful culture within the nursing community, I have to wonder what you are bringing to the table. Sometimes it isn't them. Sometimes it's you.

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SubSippi has 2 years experience.

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Exactly....these phrases kind of sound like they aren't taking you serious.

And by saying "tell God your plans and watch him laugh", sounds like we have no free will and people shouldn't bother trying to plan out their life because it's all in God's hands anyway. lol...

Then there is a lot of people warning me how I might fall into other aspects of nursing, which may be true, but I already know I love the OR and want to be challenged, best way to get into OR through the nursing route is through becoming a CRNA. I think my mind is made up.

How do you know you love the OR? I may be missing something, but it sounds like you're a cashier somewhere, and the only way to KNOW if you love something is if you've actually done it. Maybe you know you love the idea of the OR.

I don't think that older nurses are trying to be condescending when they make comments about how a young nurse's plans may change about grad school. It is "constructive criticism" in the way that it encourages you to keep an open mind about your career, because once you become a nurse you will encounter many opportunities that you don't even know exist now. There's no point in getting your head set on a specific path before you graduate, especially if you plan on working as an RN for a few years.

My advice is to keep an open mind because nursing is full of surprises.

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Okay, so i'm having a problem with the whole issue of not setting goals for yourself, i.e. laughing at one who aspires to become an NP or CRNA. That is absurdity at its finest. Who doesn't set out with some goal for their life, whether it was to become an accountant, a nurse, a doctor, a vet, etc. That's how one goes about setting a path for themselves. If you don't know where you want to end up how do you function. We set goals everyday, going to the grocery store, getting up at a certain time to get to work on time, getting the kids to summer camp, exercise, drinking water, I could go on and on. Everybody should have some sort of aspiration and if you truly want it, the chances of you attaining it are much higher with action than just saying it with no effort behind it. I think its just stupid to laugh or have issue with someone who decides early on that they want to pursue a higher degree. I say to those who find it laughable, just watch as you are passed by on the ladder to success because you settled for the moon instead of the stars.

Now, to the OP, I feel you on some levels, particularly the instructors who are not of quality, reading straight from Powerpoints with barely a real-life situation peppered in. I also believe that some instructors feel the need to weed out students in some hopes of producing a "pure" class of nurses who will make them and the program look absolutely awesome. Nothing wrong with wanting a glowing record, however, if its at the expense of some poor student who has been poorly instructed, its grossly unfair.

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I wrote this OP really heated and pent up on frustration because as stated previously, I don't have a mentor/ someone who understands me in real life.

This is the crux of your issue.

The landmines you've encountered are merely one guise of other setbacks and torpedoes you'll endure en route to your goal. The omission of sound feedback and support from someone whose successfully traveled the road you're moving toward is why your frustration has reached its breaking point. But I've often felt that breakdowns can lead to immeasurable breakthroughs if we use the experience for our benefit.

The Facts:

Nursing is an industry primarily dominated by women. The culture is a reflection of this. Never EVER forget what this means and make certain you're well versed in the positive and negative effect of that reality on your career and you (to the degree you allow it to get to you).

You must be willing to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Pinpoint your deficiencies and leave no stone unturned. You cannot align yourself with the appropriate guide if you're incapable of making these assessments. Mentoring is a two-fold process of instruction and coaching and the relationship should foster your capacity for exponential growth without dependency. Don't seek the individual that provides all the solutions, but the one whose method of instruction aids you in discovering it for yourself.

Perspective:

One of the defining characteristics of successful individuals is intention and discretion. While it has become socially acceptable to 'share' ones ideas, dreams, and life events. You'll find that behavior is rarely displayed by persons in positions of authority. Be very discriminating on what you share and who you share it with. There's a vast difference in desiring to be heard and having a captive audience who can provide useful feedback on what was shared. Aim for the latter whenever possible.

Life is like a flow chart. The way forward is rarely straight and lateral moves are often a necessity. If you desire to become a CRNA, then you need to flesh it out. Provide multiples scenarios for yourself to combat setbacks, roadblocks, or unexpected occurrences. If option A isn't possible, have two others in the wings that are sound which you're willing to undertake. Commit yourself to the plan by setting dates (which include some flexibility if necessary) and don't forget the accountability aspect. That's where the mentor comes in.

The Fork in the Road:

At some point in your journey you confront the necessity of choosing how far, how fast, and how hard you'll run. This decision will have a domino effect whose ripples will reverberate in your life in more ways than you can imagine. If CRNA is the standard, then you must pointedly address what comes along with that decision. There are sacrifices and definite compromises to be made if you intend to hold to this path. Nevertheless, the investment is worth it if your commitment to the goal exceeds the detriments that would inhibit its attainment.

Seasons:

Be mindful of your season before actions are undertaken. If you attempt to execute and bring forth a harvest when you should be tilling and preparing the soil, you won't reap the full benefit of your efforts. That same philosophy can be a useful consolation in difficult times. It IS a season. It won't last forever. Force yourself to unearth what the challenge is trying to teach you that will be useful down the road. The bigger the goal, the deeper the waters, and the larger the sharks you'll face.

Off the Beaten Path:

If you've embraced the notion that lateral moves are useful and often necessary, it would be difficult to ignore the reality that the "rules" on how things should proceed will rarely unfold as suggested. You will never learn to lead and affect change if you're slavishly following someone's blueprint. Your willingness to color outside the lines should be reflected in your resources, professional associations, mentor (if appropriate), and so on.

Birds of a Feather:

The road to success is often a lonely one but it needn't be that way. It's important that you are connected with people pursuing a similar aim. This isn't a goal that one will accomplish overnight and there will be moments when frustrations and doldrums set in. You'll be greatly benefited by having fellow laborers in the trenches who'll encourage you to keep plugging along. Support networks are not formed through mere acquaintance, but should be intentionally crafted. In the best of scenarios you'll find people whose strengths enhance (and offset) the deficiencies you've defined and you offer a similar benefit.

Nuggets:

Have you considered that the culture you're currently in may bear a striking resemblance to the one you're seeking to enter? The notoriety of medical personalities exists for a reason. Make sure you research the realm you're stepping in to enable a smooth transition.

Exercise your problem solving skills (study business cases) and communication through speech coursework or Toastmasters membership. You'll understand these recommendations when you've delved deeper into the CRNA's world. Best of luck! :-)

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ajb50402 has 2 years experience and specializes in ICU.

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I'm sorry to say this but please don't assume. For one thing, I'm a male nurse and the male nurses were treated horribly our 4 years in our nursing program. It was an uphill battle the entire program. This is part of the problem, assumptions are being made. I'm not saying you're wrong but by pointing fingers, you're doing exactly what you are fighting against.

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