Shutterstock | Blazej Lyjak
It’s clear by what was said by a few prominent members of the media last week that although nurses are the most respected profession, they are still misunderstood and unappreciated by the mainstream media. Nurses reacted to the criticism in what can only be described as a viral social movement, proving that nursing is a strong and mighty profession.
At the end of the day, the comments said by the individuals were ignorant and petty, but there is a shiny, silver lining for the nursing profession. It has been a hot topic in the media for almost two weeks now, and the spotlight has given the nursing community an opportunity to have a real conversation about how they’re misrepresented and try to elicit some positive change.
We asked our community of nurses to tell us what they want the media to understand about the nursing community. Here are some of the responses we received:
1. “That we are not ‘sexy nurses.’ We are not there to fluff your pillows. And we are not your personal maid. I wish mainstream media would stop portraying us like this.” —Alexandra C.
2. “That men like me are RNs and people need to stop stereotyping male nurses!” —Rob M.
3. “Nursing is the hardest job you will ever love. The patients and families can drain you physically, emotionally and mentally. You give all your heart and soul to caring for people at their worst moments and celebrate the joys with them as well. It is a very rewarding profession. I’ve been a nurse for almost 23 years and I still enjoy it very much.” —Nikki S.
4. “It’s not something everyone can do; you’ve got to have empathy [and] compassion, and be caring and nurturing. They can’t teach you that in nursing schools.” —Kimberly C.
5. “It’s not a job where you sit and drink tea ALL DAY, which many seem to believe. A glass of water in a shift would be a godsend.” —Shannon M.
6. “Just because we left your room does not mean we’re not working!” —Mani M.
7. “It is not all cutesy glamour and money for us. It’s hours and years of schooling, often missing time with family and friends. It’s dedication and the love we put into each assessment we do, each story we listen to, each physical ailment complaint we hear and act on. Long hours with no breaks. It’s unhappy families, grouchy doctors, broken equipment, a lack of supplies, no snacks for diabetics, etc. Enough said.” —Vicki B.
8. “Exactly how hard it is to become one. No other degree has a failing grade of 78. Or if you don’t pass a dosage exam with a 100 percent, you are kicked out of your program. It’s incredibly hard to become a nurse.” —Mindy G.
9. “We are not pill pushers. We are not bedpan pushers. We are highly trained in keeping you alive and we are an integral part of the medical team. We do not wait for the doctor to tell us what to do; we all work together to get you through.” —Jo Y.
10. “It’s a lot more demanding than it looks on TV.” —Mark R.
11. “Doctors manage your disease; we manage your response to the disease.” —Wendy O.
12. “I would like people to understand that a nurse doesn’t become a nurse to become a physician. We become nurses to be nurses.” —Angela P.
13. “That LPNs and RNs are not the same thing, and one is not ‘better’ than the other.” —Bethany L.
14. “I want the mainstream media to know that we are our own profession, not watered down doctors or medical maids. We have had a lot of both negative and positive publicity lately, and above all I would love for mainstream media simply to recognize that we work hard and love our work even more.” —Amorelle H.
We hope this conversation isn’t over. We’d like to hear from more nurses on what they wish more people knew about the nursing profession. Feel free to drop your thoughts in a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!