Can nurses have fun without risking it all?

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I’ve previously mentioned that, as health care professionals, we are never really “off the clock.” Some health care professionals have discovered the hard way that being “unprofessional” can have dire consequences.

As a nurse, I’ve become socially gun-shy. Many of my coworkers have asked me on numerous occasions to join them in an array of social activities ranging from drinks at the local “watering hole” to attending parties or important events. I’ve continually declined their kind offers simply out of a fear of having too much fun.

Does that make any sense at all?!

The public has not been kind to many professionals who “let their hair down” and had a good time. Somehow the public equates our clinical skills and decision-making abilities with whether or not we act accordingly. A professional would never partake in loud or obnoxious behavior, nor would they consume alcohol of any kind. To do so would tarnish their reputation as a professional, right?

No one ever mentions that they are grown adults celebrating and enjoying the company of their family, friends and/or coworkers in a safe, non-threatening, non-violent and non-disruptive manner.

I’m willing to bet a few rotten apples have spoiled the bushel. Some extreme cases of carelessness, recklessness and juvenile behavior have raised the public’s concern.

In the end, I have spent a lot of time, effort and money to attain my professional position and degree. Am I wanting to go out and act like a fool? Or break the law? No.

Unfortunately, I’m still a tad bit defensive about interpretation. An innocent misinterpretation can be a very sharp sword. The mere presence of questioning one’s professional abilities simply because of what someone “thought” they saw is enough to damage a career.

Whether accurate or not, perception is reality. And with enough influence it can change other people’s perceptions.

I guess I’m not willing to risk all my hard work over a misinterpretation.

Am I being extreme? Or am I being conscientious? Anyone else brave enough to admit to sharing my fears?

Maybe I’m just getting old? (Insert sarcastic grin.)

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