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December 4, 2022

Nursing is one of the oldest professions, yet there is a great deal of public misunderstanding regarding the field. Nurses are well-trained and highly educated professionals who spend hours learning how to best care for people. They save lives regularly and hold the key to health care. It’s unlikely to receive quality treatment in hospitals and clinics without nurses. In fact, without nurses, the whole healthcare system will come to a halt.

Despite knowing this, there are still some misconceptions and stereotypes about nurses. Today, we’ll debunk some of these misconceptions about nursing and nurses.

It’s a woman’s profession

It’s true that there have been more women than men in the nursing profession, however, more men are now interested in entering the nursing profession. According to a 2021 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.3% of all registered nurses are men. The fact that nursing is seen as a woman’s profession, is probably the reason why there are more women in nursing. Viewing it as a ‘female job’ has held some men back from pursuing it, making this a major problem in the nursing field. The fact is that both men and women are highly competent in the field.

All nurses do is follow doctor’s orders

Nurses are often regarded as being support for doctors. They are often perceived as less skilled than doctors, resulting in people looking down on the nursing profession. Many people think that nurses were not smart enough to get a medical degree, so they settled for the next closest thing, nursing. This is not true.

Nurses go through a rigorous degree program to qualify, with many continuing their education by pursuing a DNP online, while still diagnosing patients, treating illnesses, participating in surgeries, doing research, and administering medications. Nurses must be smart, dedicated, and competent to juggle all these responsibilities. Nurses and physicians need to work together for the ultimate well-being of the patient, as doctors’ actions are largely based on nurses’ feedback, interventions, and observations.

Nursing is all about menial tasks

To many people, nursing is all about cleaning up patients, changing diapers, and writing charts. It’s holding patients’ hands and wiping their tears when their loved ones couldn’t be bothered. It’s about changing an IV and taking blood pressure. However, it includes so much more than these tasks. It’s being an advocate for your patients when they can no longer speak for themselves. It’s being happy and patient when teaching first-time parents to care for a newborn or helping families understand medication management. It requires knowing the delicate balance between bedside professionalism and clinical practice.

It’s about using your intellect, problem-solving skills, assessment, and observation skills to save lives daily.

All nurses are the same

Like any other profession, there are many nursing specializations that require specific skill sets and education. From pediatric nurses who work with children to oncology nurses who work with cancer patients, the list is endless. Nurses don’t just do it all. They have individual skills and specific roles across the field. You’ll find independent nurses with their own nurse practitioner practices while others work in management roles in clinics or hospitals. Nursing is not a homogenous field.

Gyles Hanley

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