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 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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