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3 messages about nurses that Katie Duke wants to send the world

ABC Photo

ABC Photo

If Katie Duke looks familiar, your memory serves you well—she played a prominent role in ABC’s highly acclaimed documentary series NY Med. It aired in the summer of 2012 and followed medical teams and patients at three New York City hospitals.

The NY Med producing team—who also created Hopkins and Boston Med—are preparing for a second season of the show which will air this summer, and Duke will again be starring with Dr. Mehmet Oz.

In the Spring 2014 issue of Scrubs, Editor Catherine Ettlinger interviewed cover model Duke about her career, patients and the nursing profession. Below are three Scrubsmag.com-exclusive messages Duke wants YOU (and the whole world) to know!

Nurses need more R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

“We need break coverage, more staffing, more patient care techs, safer medication labels, support with belligerent and difficult and abusive patients–that’s where changes need to be made. Instead, nursing management is very petty about policies and tends to scold us if we have a water bottle at the nurses station or if we’re wearing an undershirt that’s the wrong color, or clock in three minutes late, or have our cell phone out–most of us have smartphones that can be helpful in calculating dosages and looking up medications etc for patient care. You would never have a physician reprimanded for being three minutes late or having a cell phone out. Management has a different respect and professional understanding for physicians.”

The media image of nurses needs a makeover.

“Our media and especially TV/film tend to only portray nursing roles as the promiscuous slut who is out to sleep with doctors, some pill popping nuisance, or some weak-minded ‘Yes, Doctor’ support person. They need to drastically shift this perspective to what we are: highly skilled and indispensable to health care rather than disposable.”

Knowledge is power… that goes for nurses, too. 

“I want to inspire nurses to always, always maintain their knowledge base and combine that with the amazing skills we use every day. NEVER STOP LEARNING. I strongly support continuing education and [advanced] certification for nurses. If we take a done-with-school [attitude] and stop reading the latest scholarly articles and updates and current trends and technologies, we stop being curious, and that’s a handicap. Nurses should be involved not only in research and quality improvement, but also committee work within our departments. That ensures that staff nurses have a part in the policies and protocols for their respective department and this is the way to make positive change for patients and staff.”

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5 Responses to 3 messages about nurses that Katie Duke wants to send the world

  1. Marienp

    Well said Katie! As a nurse, nurse practitioner and nursing supervisor, I am challenged by your strong positive spirit for the profession that is sadly contrasted with the frustrating, defeated, and negative spirit I see in so many of the younger nurses who are our future leaders. Thank you for speaking out!

    • aarin80

      Marienp, I am a senior nursing student and will be graduating this December 2016. I cannot agree with you more. After graduating from the ADN program I am applying to a MSN FNP bridge program utilizing my BA degree. Many students in the ADN program have this negative spirit/attitude, once I am finished with this ADN I am done mentality.

  2. nurseofalltrades

    so how can a professional nurse with her hands full working on furthering her education and trying to bring respect to nursing be clueless to the image SHE is giving nursing with her painted nails – painted nails increase risk of infection…. so is it more important to have “fashion” at the risk of patient’s health….???
    Studies have documented that subungual areas of the hand harbor high concentrations of bacteria, most frequently coagulase-negative staphylococci, gram-negative rods (including Pseudomonas), Corynebacterium, and yeasts. [1] Freshly applied nail polish does not increase the number of bacteria recovered from periungual skin, but chipped nail polish may support the growth of larger numbers of organisms on fingernails. Even after careful hand washing or the use of surgical scrubs or hand rubs, personnel often harbor substantial numbers of potential pathogens in the subungual spaces.

    and how could she not know that banning drinks at a nurse station is for HER protection and is NOT only the hospital’s rule…

    OSHA does not have a general prohibition against the consumption of beverages at hospital nursing stations. However, OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standard prohibits the consumption of food and drink in areas in which work involving exposure or potential exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material takes place, or where the potential for contamination of work surfaces exists [29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(2)(ix)]. Also, under 29 CFR 1910.141(g)(2), employees shall not be allowed to consume food or beverages in any area exposed to a toxic material. While you state that beverages at the nursing station might have a lid or cover, the container may also become contaminated, resulting in unsuspected contamination of the hands.

    The employer must evaluate the workplace to determine in which locations food or beverages may potentially become contaminated and must prohibit employees from eating or drinking in those areas. An employer may determine that a particular nurse’s station or other location is separated from work areas subject to contamination and therefore is so situated that it is not reasonable under the circumstances to anticipate that occupational exposure through the contamination of food and beverages or their containers is likely. The employer may allow employees to consume food and beverages in that area, although no OSHA standard specifically requires that an employer permit this. OSHA standards set minimum safety and health requirements and do not prohibit employers from adopting more stringent requirements.

  3. nurseeyroll

    I could not agree more. Nurses are the front lines of patient care. Nursing-sensitive indicators can cost hospitals thousands, if not millions, of dollars.. yet our patient ratios are skyrocketing and our responsibilities are constantly increasing. How many will have to have negative outcomes before we are actually given the time to care for our patients and chart appropriately for reimbursement?

    I also paid close attention to the response of the nursing nation after MTV’s debut of their nursing reality show, which had a negative impact on our profession. It’s because of nurses like Katie that spoke their mind via social media outlets, and the professional nursing organization that voiced their concern directly to MTV that changes were made.

    Katie is such a great nursing role model – keep on keepin on!

  4. Elizabeth RN

    Katie is a wise and compassionate nurse. I watched the premier of N.Y. Med last night. It was a shock to see that she lost her job because of a posting on social media. Probably a good lesson is, no matter how noble an intention,(and she just wanted people to know how hard ER nurses work) the bureaucracy who run the hospitals don’t see it as anything positive.
    I’m glad she got a new job and I wish her well. N.Y. Med wouldn’t be the same without her.

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