Healthcare Insider Blog

NOT as seen on TV: Debunking 5 nursing myths

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Why do nurses become nurses? Some have an interest in helping others. Some find the healthcare world exciting. And some enjoy the rewarding career path offered by the profession. Unfortunately for real nurses, TV nurses are often portrayed as glorified handmaidens and wannabe doctors.

We know this is not true, and so should you.

Myth 1: Nurses are handmaidens

Unfortunately, portraying nurses as subordinates on TV is nothing new. But in real hospital settings, nurses are viewed as collaborators. “The nurse works in a combined effort with all those involved in care delivery, for a mutually acceptable plan to be obtained that will achieve common goals. The nursing initiates nursing actions within the health team,” according to this article.

Myth 2: Nurses wish they were doctors.

Often nursing is portrayed as more of a consolation prize than a conscious career choice, according to nwjobs.

“Studying nursing and medicine are two different things,” says Cindy Sayre, University of Washington Medical Center’s director of professional practice and patient and family centered care. “It’s not consistent with my experience that nurses wanted to be doctors. It’s not a second choice.”

Myth 3: Nurses are afterthoughts

“‘Grey’s Anatomy’ depicts residents as being at the bedside and they really don’t give any credit to the nurses,” Moore said. “They’re kind of like yelling orders to the nurses, and the nurses are subservient.”

In real life, nurses tend to be supervised by nurses, not doctors. And while doctors make the high-level decisions regarding a patient’s care, nurses have a lot of independence and responsibility for treating the patient, as well. – Eagle Tribune

Myth 4: Nurses are all women

While the male nursing population is certainly small, they do however exist. In fact, 294,063 RNs are men.

Myth 5: All nurses have the same job

For example, non-degree nurses like CNAs and LPNs usually perform health assistant duties and are often needed in home health care and assisted-living settings.

Registered nursing, which requires an academic degree, is a large, flexible occupation that allows RNs to specialize in a particular medical field, like pediatrics or psychiatry, for example.

Nurses who have advanced degrees are able to take their training even further. APNs, who have master’s degrees, generally serve as primary or specialty care providers; whereas DNPs and PhDs often focus on the research end of health care.

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