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What is your opinion of nursing and positive illusions?

jwalker03 jwalker03 (Member)

Let's just start by saying that I am but a mere nursing student but I genuinely am curious about this subject. We all hear that nursing school is the hardest thing in the world and that nursing is so much harder than other professions. Now I have no doubt that nursing school and the nursing profession is hard but let us not get too carried away or embellish the truth. Is this not the same thing that other majors and professions do that irritates most people. This leads me to ask; why do the majority of people think that they (almost WANT to) have it worse than others? With that being said-

1) Do you all think that the majority of students and nurses are utilizing positive illusions?

2) If so what do you all think could be some of the reasons for doing so?

3) If so what would you say are some of the positives and negatives to these?

4) Are the ways in which nurses view themselves any different than other professions? (i.e. there are many professions where many members have a sense of illusory superiority; I'm sure you all can think of at least one)

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

What do you mean by "positive illusions"?

Unrealistic positive views like exaggerated beliefs of control, and unrealistic beliefs in self. We all do it, but some more than others. I have begun to notice that in the nursing field it tends to be more common. I’m just curious as to what others think about this; bad, good, benefits, anything really. It is almost as if a lot of people in this profession that I’ve noticed (and please don’t shoot me for this) are narcissists. Now I know this is not the case because the role requires a person to have at least a shred of self-less attributes.

Now before I get stoned at least give some input. Whenever students or nurses talk about nursing they portray it as if it is the most difficult profession. Hell I had a vehicle mechanic recently talk to me as if his job was equal to that of a theoretical physicist and I couldn’t possibly understand. Now I understand that nursing is difficult and there are many other difficult professions, but why feel this need to broadcast one’s profession as more difficult or superior to another’s.

I guess what I’m really asking is what is the point of this in not only nursing but all professions? Who cares how difficult or ****** your job is? I feel that when professions begin to broadcast themselves as superior to others they come across as insecure; almost like a sort of inferiority complex. How often do you hear or see posts that talk about MDs and their arrogant, ego-driven ways; ICU is harder than Med-Surg; no med-surg is harder; those psych guys don’t do anything; no night shift really does nothing. Its like a ******* disease. Is this not the same thing? Is this not the “being a mother is the hardest job” argument? I’m I the only person that thinks about this?

What I’m try to say is that I’m super excited to be going in to such a wonderful profession but these things make me embarrassed. If people do what they love why do they feel the need to exaggerate their beliefs of control and self? I’d love to hear some psych nurses’ thoughts on the matter.

Edited by Meriwhen
fixed partially masked profanity

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care. Has 30 years experience.

Let's just start by saying that I am but a mere nursing student....

Unrealistic positive views like exaggerated beliefs of control, and unrealistic beliefs in self.... I have begun to notice that in the nursing field it tends to be more common. I'm just curious as to what others think about this; bad, good, benefits, anything really. It is almost as if a lot of people in this profession that I've noticed (and please don't shoot me for this) are narcissists. Now I know this is not the case because the role requires a person to have at least a shred of self-less attributes.

Now before I get stoned at least give some input. Whenever students or nurses talk about nursing they portray it as if it is the most difficult profession...

What I'm try to say is that I'm super excited to be going in to such a wonderful profession but these things make me embarrassed. If people do what they love why do they feel the need to exaggerate their beliefs of control and self? I'd love to hear some psych nurses' thoughts on the matter.

Actually, you are not even a nursing student, but someone who has been accepted into a program that has not yet begun.

I find your hypothesis to be very odd, and unsubstantiated in fact. I don't recall anyone describing nursing as the most difficult. It is very challenging, has specific barriers to entry, and is not for everyone. In the same way that being a CPA, farmer, or firefighter isn't for everyone.

Nursing should be an evidence based discipline. Do you have any evidence to back up your claims?

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 40 years experience.

Actually, you are not even a nursing student, but someone who has been accepted into a program that has not yet begun.

I find your hypothesis to be very odd, and unsubstantiated in fact. I don't recall anyone describing nursing as the most difficult. It is very challenging, has specific barriers to entry, and is not for everyone. In the same way that being a CPA, farmer, or firefighter isn't for everyone.

Nursing should be an evidence based discipline. Do you have any evidence to back up your claims?

Thank you....!

,moved for best response

Zara, RN

Specializes in Rehab, Skilled Nursing. Has 3 years experience.

I'm not sure what you are asking. But here I am speaking for my self.

Let me start with saying that there's no other profession in the world where the total needs and well being of a person is in your hands before anyone else's. That's why you first see a nurse in the ER. Not a doctor. We are the ones doing the initial assessments. We are the eyes and ears and brains before doctors touch.

Our knowledge is extensive and covers physical and psychosocial well being and so much more. You are the first to deal with patients who have vomited, have diarrhea, pain, fall, fall with a fracture, allergies, admissions, discharges. And the moment between life and death, yes that's us nurses. That's my everyday!

You are the main bridge between the sick and his physician. If that doesn't burden you at times of frustration when all of the above mentioned things are occurring then I don't know. Somehow these situations i tackle everyday make me strong and it builds confidence for me. For those nurses with personality disorders this can easily become narcissism.

I know that no one else can do what I do as a nurse. Remember nursing is not for everyone. A mechanic does not go to school and take responsibility of sick patients lives. My everyday, every minute, every second thinking at work saves lives. Everyday I am learning something new. Everyday!

I love nursing. I am proud of my title.

See I knew this would happen. Since I haven't started yet am I inferior or am I not allow to ask a question? I'm confused. All I am saying is that I have noticed a trend in the way that people talk about a subject (whether it be here, at school, or at the hospital that I volunteer) and was interested as to what others thought. Seeing as we can't discuss this without people's feelings getting involved and you took this as a personal attack MrChicagoRN, I'll just keep my questions to myself.

I appreciate your post Zara and I understand where you are coming from. I'm not trying to undermine any task or duty that you perform. I'm just curious as to why you would say that "no one else can do what I do as a nurse". That's what I'm talking about. If that were the case then who do you work with? Why do nurses act as if no one else can do what they do? When I talk to current nurses and the conversation gets around to me STARTING nursing school in the future (for you MrChicagoRN) I get this almost condescending response of "this will be the hardest thing you'l ever do in your life. Ever. Period". I'm trying to find out why THAT is? It doesn't take a person experiencing it to understand that that is simply not true. Maybe I should go back to creeping as a guest until I've completed school rather than asking questions.

SionainnRN

Specializes in Emergency Room, Trauma ICU. Has 5 years experience.

See I knew this would happen. Since I haven't started yet am I inferior or am I not allow to ask a question? I'm confused. All I am saying is that I have noticed a trend in the way that people talk about a subject (whether it be here, at school, or at the hospital that I volunteer) and was interested as to what others thought. Seeing as we can't discuss this without people's feelings getting involved and you took this as a personal attack MrChicagoRN, I'll just keep my questions to myself.

Oh my. If you are this easily offended you're going to have a very hard time in nursing school. You came on here and said we were a bunch of narcissists and wonder why some people got defensive. No one attacked you, they just pointed out that you're not even in nursing school yet, so you may not have the experiences to truly understand what being a nurse entails. Try not to take things so personal and realize that when you post on a forum you can't control the answers. Good luck in nursing school.

Everline

Specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

To be honest, I've never heard anyone saying nursing school is the "hardest thing in the world". It's difficult for a lot of people, me included. And I can say, without exaggeration, it is one of the hardest things I have done in my life. Call me a narcissist with "positive illusions" if you would like.

The nursing students I know are far from having "unrealistic positive views" and even farther from having "exaggerated beliefs of control". The people that I know are hoping and praying they can pass Med Surg III. I mean really.

I would be interested in how you view this thread when you are about to graduate from nursing school and when you are working your first year as a nurse.

Still not sure what "positive illusions" are...

Zara, RN

Specializes in Rehab, Skilled Nursing. Has 3 years experience.

No one is criticizing you for not being a nursing student yet, it is simply a fact that is being stated.

Nursing can be emotionally difficult. In fact, it is probably one of the most emotionally demanding jobs that a person can take on.

You might have a better perspective on this subject after you finish nursing school, pass boards and find a job you like.

I'm not offended I was just curious and it seemed like me not being a student yet made my question invalid. I asked before I realized that the people that would be likely to answer it probably doesn't even apply to haha.

Maybe if I rephrase my question. Why is there a group (not saying it's small or large because let's be honest I don't know) of current nurses that talk down to future or junior nurses? I have already experienced it. It doesn't make sense to me due to the nature of the profession. I feel like my question got dissected without ever getting anyone's thoughts on the actual question. I tried to present the question in a tactful way that didn't mesh well with some and I apologize for that. I haven't always been the best at communicating and tone is very hard to convey in word form. See I'm already learning things; less words, more direct.

SionainnRN

Specializes in Emergency Room, Trauma ICU. Has 5 years experience.

Maybe if I rephrase my question. Why is there a group (not saying it's small or large because let's be honest I don't know) of current nurses that talk down to future or junior nurses? I have already experienced it. It doesn't make sense to me due to the nature of the profession. I feel like my question got dissected without ever getting anyone's thoughts on the actual question. I tried to present the question in a tactful way that didn't mesh well with some and I apologize for that. I haven't always been the best at communicating and tone is very hard to convey in word form. See I'm already learning things; less words, more direct.

It wasn't tone but calling us narcissists, that's not being tactful in the least. So other than calling us names, maybe you could give examples of nurses "talking down" to other nurses. You also have to realize that nurses are people too and have off days. Just because we're nurses doesn't mean we're perfect and don't have off days.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

I think experienced nurses talk with students, in a way that can be taken to say, "This is HARD work! PLEASE consider if it's what you really want before you spend your life savings, yet-unearned, plus all your emotional health getting through school, passing NCLEX, and then landing a job, if you're lucky these days, only to find out the work can be back-breaking and emotionally exhausting." How's that for a long sentence?? :D They're trying to say this is not an easy road to get to, nor to be on.

I don't think people are having positive illusions about nursing when they say it's extremely difficult. I think they're venting steam that needs to go somewhere. It's not to make their choice more admired. It's emotional release.

Despite all the cognitive, physical, and emotional energy nursing school and nursing-as-a-profession requires, for me, most of the time, "it's the toughest job I'll ever love."

Edited by Whispera

You two nailed it. Thanks for your thoughts. Remember though that the word narcissis is often taken as always negative when it is not always. I meant no offense. Thanks again!

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

Maybe if I rephrase my question. Why is there a group (not saying it's small or large because let's be honest I don't know) of current nurses that talk down to future or junior nurses? I have already experienced it. It doesn't make sense to me due to the nature of the profession. I feel like my question got dissected without ever getting anyone's thoughts on the actual question. I tried to present the question in a tactful way that didn't mesh well with some and I apologize for that. I haven't always been the best at communicating and tone is very hard to convey in word form. See I'm already learning things; less words, more direct.

Here's the deal; you are asking on an Internet board; so tone is absent, as well as choice of words are needed to convey something that would otherwise be spoken...no one can hear the "spoken down to" that you allegedly "hear"; more often, people are pointing out your perspective if what you think is going on, though not understood because of your greeness; I am sure most professions I have NO idea about, but because I have a profession, can understand some of the intangibles of what a profession entails, however, I don't profess the gravity of another's; the same can be applied to nursing, with the exception of the intimacy that it provides when dealing with people in their most vulnerable states.

I find more people in other professions state that THEY cannot do what I do, not the other way around, meaning, nurses stating that this is the hardest profession. :no:

However, it is not for everybody; the same can be said for other professions, I agree with that assertion from another poster. :yes:

I will add that there are a percentage of people, including people that enter into this business have NO idea and continue to not have an idea of how empowering a nurse is; we do have a vast knowledge and unique skill set that, when done competently and understating the rationales of what we do, do some pretty awesome things; and so do other professions-it truly isn't a narcissism mentality, it's about knowing and the insurance of competency.

Maybe if I rephrase my question. Why is there a group (not saying it's small or large because let's be honest I don't know) of current nurses that talk down to future or junior nurses? I have already experienced it. It doesn't make sense to me due to the nature of the profession. I feel like my question got dissected without ever getting anyone's thoughts on the actual question. I tried to present the question in a tactful way that didn't mesh well with some and I apologize for that. I haven't always been the best at communicating and tone is very hard to convey in word form. See I'm already learning things; less words, more direct.

Hmmm. Experienced nurses are very good at cutting through a lot of extraneous material and getting down to the facts. "Unrealistic positive views," "narcissists" are not phrases used to win friends or get answers to questions.

Your first question appeared to ask why nurses thought they had it harder and were better than everyone else. Odd question for someone going into nursing if that's what you were asking. Your current question seems to be drifting toward the age old nurses eating their young complaint.

Communication will be a key factor in your career. Poor communication has been cited as a reason for increased medical errors.

I, too, will begin nursing school in the fall! However, I have spoken with nurses I know and current nursing students. I think "difficult" is subjective. For some of my friends, they say nursing school isn't really that hard, and there are others who tell me that they literally have no free time and spend their lives at the library (no joke!). I think the same can be said about any profession. Some people may dislike their workplace and, therefore, consider it "difficult", or they may have trouble getting along with coworkers, which, I can definitely say, makes work more "difficult" than need be. I try to cut nurses I know some slack. They are around people ALL THE TIME, at least the ones I know, and a lot of those people aren't very pleasant to deal with. So I can understand if they snap every once in a while when someone presses the wrong buttons. They probably just had a bad day. I wouldn't really consider them as thinking themselves superior over other professions? At least, not the nurses I know. I find that a lot of what they do goes unappreciated, and generally people consider doctors the hoo-hahs of the medical field. However, I have the utmost respect for nurses, and I hope that I will be a great nurse someday. After I get through nursing school..

ixchel

Specializes in critical care.

Oh, my......

Okay, so as a new grad, I will tell you that nursing school destroys all confident. I believe that it is the nature of it to humble you. If you walk into nursing school, and then walk back out feeling you know ALL THE THINGS, you ARE going to kill somebody. That they take the time and effort to yank your soul out and make you realize just how much you don't know is honest to god a blessing.

Then you graduate. You pass boards (and spend several days analyzing a POP UP. Another reminder of just how much you really don't know. And your preceptor on your first unit gives you a patient and you realize.... Oh, ****. It's MY license I'm working under. This is where I am now. Took my own patient last week. This person was a neuro, GI, and cardiac patient, and probably added renal patient to the list the next day. What do you do with that???? Add another moment of realizing just how much I don't know. And on top of that, the feeling that I SHOULD know, but never had I imagined a person so complex. What do I do?

This is where "nurses eating their young" is born, probably. Quite honestly, given the complexity of this patient, maybe it would sting a little at first, but in the end, I would know a person rampaging on me a little if something had gone wrong would have probably been necessary, and would have helped me improve for the future. I think I'm realizing why new grads don't get critical care positions. It's hard. It's extremely complex sometimes.

I hope my been there, doing that perspective adds a story to what you are saying and helps you get the perspective down. When they say it's hard, it is. I have yet to see a code blue come back. I have watched people who could talk and fully function lose the ability to literally do anything, including eat. It's not just learning how to do stuff. It's learning why, too, but also, understanding the consequences of what has happened to these people. And then you clock out and go home. Some people can handle that. Others just can't. So when they tell you some people just aren't cut out for it, I believe with all of my heart that's true. It is not an insult. It is not a pat on the back. You can either do the job, or you can't. Unfortunately nursing school doesn't tell you if you can. I'm hoping to god I can do the job. Only time will tell.

Edited by ixchel

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