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No, You Can NOT Ask.


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Ever feel like people see you as completely one-dimensional? Like you are the all-knowing nurse who can answer all questions, all the time?


I am still amazed by how most of the people I encounter outside of work have no understanding of what nurses really do–and how specific those jobs are. I’m a labor and delivery nurse–so if you don’t have a baby about to come out of your vagina, I really can’t help you with your medical issues. There, I said it. Should I tattoo that disclaimer on my forehead?

There are so many times, when I have someone ask me a medical question, that I want to respond with something like this:

Would you go to a podatrist for your yearly pap smear? Would you get an xray of your chest for a tooth ache? No? Then why are you asking me, a labor and delivery nurse, about the corn on your toe? About the rash on your penis? If I can help you change your colostomy? It is not that I don’t want to help–I don’t know how to help you. I don’t know if you have broken your arm, if you need antibiotics for the drainage coming from your nose…and no, I can NOT write you a prescription. Go to a doctor, ok?

And then there are all the pregnant women who corner me and talk of nothing else. I love my job, people, but I am not ON 24/7, believe it or not. Look, I love to talk OB but I also like to be a normal person who discusses the weather.

What is so difficult boundary-wise is that I would like to be able to help people who come to me with all their other medical problems, but I am just not qualified. And no matter how many times I explain it, I still get the same old, “Hey, Amy, you are a nurse, can I ask you a question?” To which I am learning to reply, after a quick explanation, “Um, no.”

The reality is that a firm “No” is protecting this nurse’s license!

Amy Bozeman
Amy is many things: a blogger, a nurse, a wife, a mom, a childbirth educator. She started her journey towards a career in nursing when she got pregnant with her first child. After nursing school and studying "like she has never studied before" she entered the nursing profession eager to get her feet wet. The first years provided her with much exposure to sadness, joy and other complex human emotions. She feels that blogging is a wonderful outlet and a way for nurse bloggers to further build their community. Traditionally, midwives have handed down their skill set from midwife to apprentice midwife. She believes nurses have this same opportunity: to pass from nurse to new nurse the rich traditions of this profession.

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