Sometimes, it’s nice to feel validated. And what better way than to find out that the struggles you experience are common to others? If you’re a nurse, you know that there are a lot of misconceptions about your profession, including the five that we’ll discuss below. Read on to hear what nurses wish others knew about, and be assured that you’re not alone.
#1 There’s More to My Job Than Taking Vitals
Patients see only a small fraction of the responsibilities that are heaped on the shoulders of their nurses. And as tempting as it is to judge the whole of a nurse’s day by the part that you witness, it’s simply not fair to assume that they just check vitals, write on a clipboard, or type data into a computer, and leave to go on break. Nurses have a never-ending list of “to-dos” that we just don’t see, so they’re rarely recognized for the weighty work they do.
#2 I Am Exhausted
Consider this: your nurse could be caring for you at the tail end of a 12-hour shift. Most other jobs wouldn’t make such a request of a valued employee, but in nursing, it’s par for the course. Nurses live off of coffee and a few hours of sleep, but we expect them to be in tip-top shape at any given moment. And the crazy part? They can somehow spring into action when an emergency arises with no sign of sleep deprivation in sight.
#3 I Feel Pressured to Know Everything
Among their many other responsibilities, nurses often say that they feel pressured to know the answers to every question a patient might pose. However, this shouldn’t be the case. Although nurses have years of schooling under their belts and more applicable experience than we give them credit for, answers can sometimes be elusive. We should give nurses credit for what they do know instead of setting an unrealistic expectation that they should know it all.
#4 I Feel Undervalued and Underappreciated
As we’ve discussed above, the burdens that nurses carry are numerous, but the reward can sometimes be slim to nonexistent. For a job that requires a person to give and give, you would think that nurses would be bitter about not receiving anything in return. But that’s just it — nurses are generous and humble. It wouldn’t take much more than a quick word of encouragement to inspire and motivate. It doesn’t cost a thing to show appreciation through our words and actions, so we don’t have any excuse not to.
#5 I Don’t Have Time to Grieve
Nurses get attached to their patients and, when they pass away, it’s understandably difficult for them to pivot and move forward. Unfortunately, though, that’s exactly what nurses are expected to do. When other patients need a nurse’s care, there’s little time for healthy mourning, so it’s back to work they go without the time and space for their own mental health.
You’re a Hero in Scrubs
Can you relate to the misconceptions discussed above? If so, you’re not the only one. For all its rewards, nursing is a difficult profession, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. We need heroes like you on the front lines of medicine, making a difference in the lives of your patients each and every day.