The nursing “trade”
Yep, you read that right. The nursing trade. I recently read an article that posed the question : Is nursing considered a career or a trade? So, you know me. Let’s ‘Google’ some terms.
- An occupation, especially one requiring skilled labor; craft (Free Dictionary.com)
- an occupation that requires some particular kind of skilled work.(Wikipedia)
- a profession or occupation chosen as one’s life’s work (Free Dictionary.com)
- an individual’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work (and sometimes also formal education).(Wikipedia)
If we look at the terms ‘literally’, the only difference I see between the two seems to be Wikipedia’s side note of having formal education (which we as nurses of course possess). Our formal education is arguably the ‘weakness’ of this debate. Depending on what your job ‘title’ or nursing occupation is, will determine the length and just how ‘formal’ your education is.
I don’t mean to offend anyone or degrade anyone’s education, knowledge, or skill but there is of course major differences between an LPN, (bachelor’s prepared) RN, advanced practice nurses (CRNA, CRNP, etc.), and DNP’s. Each of those positions and ‘occupations’ are directly correlated to a higher education.
The irony of it all, is I just had this conversation with some fellow nurses on Twitter this past weekend. There was a brief conversation about continuing education, history of nursing, differences in state practices and other notable concerns.
There seems to be 2 ‘schools’ (yes, pun intended) of thought in regards to higher education (and continuing education) for nurses. You are either for or against it. There is no gray area. You have supporters of advancing the nursing profession, and those who believe things are fine the way they are.
I myself am a huge promoter of higher education and continuing education (of course, I already posted a blog about this earlier). What I want to know is how can we separate ourselves from being referred to as a ‘trade’?
I don’t know about you (once again I apologize if I offend anyone), but I am not just a ‘skilled craftsman’, nor am I simply a ‘skilled laborer’. I am an educated professional that actively contributes to my patient’s care through the application of critical thinking, heightened awareness, and a complex knowledge base (just to name a few). I not only possess these traits and others, but due to the environment I work in, I am continually challenged to question, reevaluate and re-think how things are done so that I can enhance and improve the care I deliver to the ever-changing population of patients I care for.
Does this sound like a ‘trade’ to you??
I look forward to your thoughts on THIS one!
Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing.
After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital.
He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
By Sean Dent