On September 14, 2015, “The View” co-host Joy Behar carelessly asked why a nurse in the Miss America contest was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope.” Many people in the nursing community were outraged by the insensitive comment. While the emotional reaction is certainly understandable, it’s important to think about why Behar would have such a fundamental misunderstanding of nurses’ role in healthcare.
The fact of the matter is that there are still many terrible myths about nursing that the general public believes. On top of the challenges nurses expect to face in their line of work, they must also deal with the fact that many people have little understanding and respect for the lifesaving work that they do. Here are just five of the biggest myths about nursing that need to be busted.
Myth #1: Nursing is for People Who Couldn’t Handle Being a Doctor
Fact: Nursing is a Deliberate Career Choice
It’s rare to come across a nurse who has never been asked why they didn’t become a doctor instead. This seemingly innocuous question comes from the misconception that nursing is simply a fallback for people who couldn’t make it as doctors. The truth is the decision to be a nurse is a conscious career choice that requires dedication.
This myth is further perpetuated by the idea that nursing is somehow easier than being a doctor. However, all people in the medical field face challenges that nobody else must face. Dentists, surgeons, paramedics, and nurses all take on uniquely difficult situations in their day-to-day lives.
Myth #2: Nurses Have Only One Career Path
Fact: Nurses Have Many Career Options Available
Some people believe that once you get your nursing license, you are destined to stay at a hospital or doctor’s practice for the rest of your career. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Many nurses practice home healthcare, work in skilled nursing facilities, or even go on to teach.
There are also over 100 specialties for nurses to choose among. From hospice to hematology, and from neonatal to neurology, nurses can choose to specialize in a variety of areas. Throughout a nurse’s career, he or she may change settings or specialties a number of times.
Myth #3: Nursing is Only Grunt Work
Fact: Nurses Play an Important Role in Healthcare Decisions
It’s true, nurses do some of the things that nobody else wants to do. They leave work with stories that would gross out anyone else. However, that’s not all that nurses do. They are an important part of the medical team.
Nurses provide comfort, give life-saving medication, and sometimes have to make quick decisions to save a patient. There’s no possible way to boil nursing down into “just” one thing; nurses do anything and everything they can to provide exceptional medical care.
Myth #4: Only Women are Nurses
Fact: 6% of Nurses are Male
There is nothing about the nursing profession that requires nurses to be women. In fact, 6% of nurses are men. While that number is certainly low, it is steadily rising. As the stigma against male nurses starts to fall, more and more men are joining this honorable profession.
Myth #5: We Have Enough Nurses
Fact: Nursing is a Growing Profession
As baby boomers age, the need for healthcare staff will continue to grow. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that Registered Nursing will be among the fastest-growing jobs through 2022. In fact, NurseCore is consistently looking for passionate and talented people to join our team.