The top 10 nurse myths that need to go away!

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I recently was doing a little research for school when I realized there are some common and popular nurse/nursing myths out there.

It seems there are two trains of thought: There is the public’s view of the nursing profession, and then there are those who actually know about the nursing profession.

I’m not sure if it’s our own fault or if Hollywood has a stranglehold on the general population’s opinion. This particular top 10 list is intended for all those who are considering pursuing the profession of nursing–I’d like to call it the “Here’s what we are not and don’t do” list:

  1. We don’t wear all-white uniforms.
  2. No, we stopped wearing caps a long time ago.
  3. We do more than pass medications.
  4. We do more than just clean up “poo.”
  5. This is not Grey’s Anatomy – we’re not secretly sleeping with all the doctors. Nor is this House – we do the blood draws.
  6. No, not every “nurse” is the same. There is a profound difference between a Nurse Practitioner and a Nursing Assistant (about 6-8 years of education).
  7. We actively collaborate in the decision-making process and don’t just take orders.
  8. No, we are not all women.
  9. No, we work in other places besides hospitals and physicians’ offices.
  10. No, we didn’t fail at becoming doctors. We chose this profession.

I know, I know, we’ve beat this horse senseless, haven’t we? I have to admit, I am just scratching the surface here. I think we all could generate an endless list of nursing urban legends.

What would you add?

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31 Responses to The top 10 nurse myths that need to go away!

  1. bed15

    Nurses (and other professions) have a use for stethoscopes too, not just doctors 😉

  2. We are people, and we have feelings. We don’t like being verbally abused and belittled and we do need breaks. We are NOT doctors and we do NOT interpret your family member’s CT results and MRI results. We should NOT be paging the doctors for you at all hours of the night unless it is really necessary in an emergency or changing situation.

  3. Travelnurse01

    Honest to god we are not here to hurt anyone, or take your place as the parent. We have cared for neonates for 10- 30 yrs. I think we know more then you will every know. So leave us alone. Don’t second guess us, don’t tell us we are wrong, don’t go crying to the charge nurse when you think we “looked at you wrong or won’t listen to you or was talking mean to you”. We have 3-4 sick newborns we are caring for, we have important things on our minds and believe me you are not in the top 10.

    • jeanie

      So true

      • stillirise

        I have done Peds homehealth for most of my 23yrs. I always said I could work for the UN on peace missions on my next career. It is a fine line you walk in a mother’s house, when she can call and ask that you not come back if you step on her toes wrong. I always try to remember ( when I am biting my lip) that they have no control over so much that is happening to their child, and sometimes the only thing they can try to control is you. I always try to remind them nicely we are on the same team!!

        • Sundevilnurse05

          How did you get through nursing school?

          • Sundevilnurse05

            Sorry, stillirise, my comment was meant for sasha0525.

    • sasha0525

      As a nicu mom. This is very disrespectful. Their were nurses that does a lot of unethical things.

      • fltNP

        Your horrific grammar and improper word usage basically negates your argument. NICU nurses are some of the finest nurses I have ever worked around. If you really have a NICU baby, you would already know this.

      • DCRandRN

        I’m very curious. What was so ” disrespectful” ? What was unethical?

    • jjocelyn44

      So true, we want our Patients to get better also, we are not trying to hurt them.

    • SickBabyRN

      Shame on you Travelnurse01. If you have been a NICU nurse 10-30 years, then you of ALL people should know it is up to us to reassure our scared parents!!! It is OUR job to care for the baby AND the parents! It comes with the territory. If you don’t have enough couth, I strongly suggest you find a new career! You definitely aren’t cut out for nursing!

  4. nurseshellbell

    Just because I’m a nurse it doesn’t mean I can answer questions about your mom’s, uncle’s, or grandma’s health problems or medications. I am a labor and delivery nurse. If it doesnt involve birthing babies, pregnant women, or newborns, chances are I won’t know the answer to your question.

  5. Nephretite

    11. Nurses are not just nurses that can work anywhere. A cardiac nurse most likely can not just work as an Ob/gyn nurse tomorrow. We are highly trained and knowledgeale in our field of specialty.

    • patricksm

      LOL this is so funny. I called SICU on Friday for report prior to picking up my patient for surgery. She gave me a long list of information and I questioned some of it because – I HAVE NEVER WORKED CRITICAL CARE. She gave me a little teasing and grief maybe even kinda embarrassed me. I called back 6 hours later to give report back post-op with my orthopedic surgery lingo. REVENGE WAS MINE ha ha. Good times.

      • GeriRNSue

        Haha, nurses who work in nursing homes are often looked down upon by hospital nurses. I’ve often been talked down to by hospital nurses when on the phone discussing a patient I’ve sent in. One time we had an agency nurse come in for a day shift. She was a hospital nurse. She couldn’t get over how many meds she had to give or the amount of paperwork she had to do. At the end of her shift she said “never again, I couldn’t do this everyday.” Lol

  6. breehat

    There are still nurses in other countries who wear caps to work, such as the nurses in the Philippines, and most of them actually wear all white…well not the typical stiff white blouse and skirt, but a set of all-white top and pants with matching white shoes, and cap. No. 20 is funny.

  7. fltNP

    Sorry, but there are hospitals around the country that still have nurses wearing an all white uniform. I’ve also seen hospitals that require a white top or white pants with the other half randomly colored. And lastly, I have seen some, let’s call them ‘old-school’ nurses, wearing white caps to work.

  8. kassie726

    I am a pediatric nurse, not a babysitter.

  9. kindeychick86

    Just because I work in a special area does not mean that I can’t hack it on a med surg floor. I am a dialysis nurse and we get ab lot of flack from our local hospital nurses that think my job is a cake walk everyday and that I wouldn’t last 5 minutes on their floor. I wish they’d come work on my unit one day. I see 40 patients a shift. Have fun with that lol

  10. august

    I like #6. People hear the word nurse, and they assume we are all the same. It really should be clear distinction between different level of nursing, instead of general or overly used word “nurse”.

  11. Dee Kitchmaster

    We just want to help everyone who comes in feeling ill, sad, lonely, etc feel somewhat if not completely better when they leave . That is within my scope…..

  12. Julie

    No we are not waitresses for the family. I had a very ill patient I was trying to assess and the patients family member asked me if I could go make some coffee for her. I told her the cafeteria does all the coffee making and it in on the ground floor.

  13. GeriRNSue

    With all due respect to nursing assistants, (#1) they are not nurses nor do they have the right to call themselves “nurse.”

    • Mistyphoenix

      As an assistant nurse in an aged care facility, I can tell you more about my residents than any of the RN’s and EN’s. I console them and their families through very difficult stages of their lives and I take great care of them. Just because I can’t issue their meds, do wound dressings, insert a catheter doesn’t mean I’m less than the nurses are. I am the eyes and ears of the nurses and I would LOVE to to see some of them do what I do every day. I remember a day where I had to walk an RN through a standard wound dressing as she didn’t know what to do. I had to set her up show her where the creams were and where they went and what order the dressings went on… Another time I had to patiently explain to my DON how to do proper manual handling of a resident because it had been so long since she had to actually touch a resident she had forgotten… I have been told on many occasions I would make a great RN and I am slowly making my way towards becoming one, but please don’t tell me I can’t use the term “nurse” in my job title. I do a lot of hard work and I barely get any support in my role. The last thing I need is to hear someone tell me I don’t deserve a title I work hard for. I never say I’m a nurse I am honest and say I’m an assistant nurse and I’m darn proud of my job and the work I do. I always have the utmost respect for any RN or EN who will treat me with respect. I can promise you now that it is the ones who won’t listen to me because I’m “not a real nurse so what do I know?” That end up dealing with management when a resident rapidly declines and I told you in advance but you didn’t want to listen to the “lowly” assistant nurse.

      • FerrarimedicRN

        Geez… Will you come work for us? Seriously! Many nurses seem to forget where we came from. Many of us know, though, that we are ONLY as good as our aides that carry us. To say you obviously take your job seriously is an understatement. You have the heart of a seasoned, involved caregiver. Aides are rarely paid (in money) according to your value, and are unfairly under appreciated. We have the title, but aides are our backbone.
        Hang in there.

        • lregister

          Well said!!! I know just who to depend on – an excellent CNA or an LPN! Ive seen too many times that we RNs take our lesser degreed colleagues for granted. I know full well that a degree is a piece of paper that doesn’t necessarily indicate the knowledge of the person holding it.
          I’m glad to ask for help from any licensed coworker. i like to think that i can figure out BS from the real stuff and it is up to me whether to not to take any suggestions under advisement.
          but, still, i know the ones that know :):)

  14. breehat

    Oh don’t you know that there are some countries in the world where nurses go to work wearing all-white uniforms and caps? One example is in the Philippines. So the “myth” is still true.

  15. mbrn

    I haven’t logged onto scrubs comments for quite awhile. I read through them and OMG! How embarrassing. Illiteracy is rampant and either a lot of you are burned out or have forgotten the reason you became a nurse in the first place. Maybe some of you shouldn’t have become nurses at all. People (and their families/loved ones) who are scared, sick, in pain, have been through a lot, etc. are sometimes just not the nicest people in the world. Right then, it’s not a priority. When I became a nurse, nowhere in my oath did it say I could only care for nice people. Be kind, be compassionate. Being smart should not make you hard hearted or short tempered. And NEVER should being smart, educated, and good at your job be justification for being a snob!

  16. msemhn

    #Mental health nurses gradually become mentally ill as well…funny

  17. Garry Ballard

    All male nurses are not gay!