Nursing is one of the most stereotyped professions out there, but as always, the stereotypes aren’t necessarily true. To be fair, many would agree that stereotypes are more like half-truths, and some are steeped in history. A sizable portion of nurses can actually be described by these mainstream generalizations. Meanwhile, other common assumptions about nurses simply aren’t true, at least not usually. The following impressions some nurses have made are said to drive even the most level-headed people up the wall.
Bad Attitude and Lack of Compassion
Nursing is a labor of love. It is a profession that requires one to be truly passionate about helping and healing others in order to perform to one’s capacity. Without genuine compassion for the suffering of others, giving quality care to the sick and injured would simply be impossible. Perhaps a great number of nurses entered the field for the money. It’s also quite possible that many nurses had firm ideals about the career before entering the field but experienced a totally different reality on the job. Regardless of the reason, a great number of nurses out there do not put their hearts into their jobs–and it shows.
Many patients complain about nurses treating them badly for no apparent reason. These rude nurses typically make snarky comments, talk back to patients, and do the minimum amount of work necessary to keep their jobs. They might wear a frown all day long while constantly complaining about the smallest of things. Nurses with the “don’t care” attitude never make patients feel comfortable during medical procedures that can be very intimidating. There is minimal communication between nurse and patient, and none of the conversation is pleasant or personal. While any healthcare worker can have a bad day, those that have no compassion clearly stick out like a sore thumb.
Incompetent nurses drive people bananas. After going through all those years of schooling and all that real-world training, you would think that these nurses learned something. Surprisingly, some manage to get by and end up in the workforce with very little retained knowledge and skill.
Incompetent nurses generally make way too many errors during a typical workday. One very annoying and frightening thing about some nurses is their inability to draw blood correctly. This is a very common complaint. Some of these nurses will stick a patient multiple times with a needle in a number of different body parts and still fail to get inside a vein. This not only scares patients, it can increase the risk for infection. Other incompetent nurses freeze like a deer in headlights when things get hectic and crazy in a hospital. They may stand around and wait for a superior to tell them what to do, or run off and pretend like they are doing something useful when they’re not. Incompetency is not only irritating, it can come at the cost of a human life.
Controlling and Power-Tripping
A lot of movies portray nurses, especially head nurses in mental institutions, as mean, old hags who have everybody else around them do their evil bidding. While not true of most, there are probably some nurses out there that fit this profile very well. Certain nurses, particularly the ones that have been around for many years, can develop a superiority complex over time. They begin to believe that they know everything. For their co-workers, it’s their way or the highway. Other RNs, LPNs, and CNAs can’t stand to work alongside these individuals because they get treated more like slaves than co-workers. Power-tripping nurses never listen to any opinion but their own. They also like to down-talk the achievements of others around them and prefer to put themselves on a pedestal for other to admire. Sadly, no one wants to even work in the same building as a controlling nurse.
While a lot of people tend to think of the Florence Nightingale type of nurse who is helpful and willing to fulfill her duties simply to see her patients get better, there are a few Nurse Ratched types out there who can perpetuate the negative stereotype for nurses.
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Susan Brown has worked as a nurse for over ten years and has worked with many different nurses with various stereotypical qualities. She has also contributed to www.top-nursing-programs.com, a terrific resource for those who would like to enter the field of nursing.