For obvious reasons stereotypes often lead to controversy… However, they can also be fun to talk and laugh about! Just as any other group, nurses stereotype each other too. Which ones are true and which aren’t?… Trick question. They’re all partially true. Stereotypes exist for just that reason. Here are a bunch of stereotypes I see in nursing!
1. Male Nurses Have It Easier. This is true for a few reasons. For one thing, U.S. Census data shows that female nurses make 93 cents on the male nurse’s dollar. It’s called the “glass escalator” effect: men usually enjoy higher wages and faster promotions in female‐dominated occupations.
2. Older Nurses are Slower. While you can’t deny that age takes its physical tolls, that gives too little credit to the experience and drive of ‘older’ nurses. Experience creates a great nurse out of a good nurse – so never count out the golden nurses on the unit!
3. Long-term Care is For Second-rate Nurses. Long-term care facilities are known for being understaffed, substandard, or receiving really bad press. That shouldn’t reflect on the nurses who work there though. Some of the most responsible, smart, and dedicated nurses I’ve worked with were at LTC facilities. It’s not worse than the traditional ‘hospital nursing’ – just different!
4.ER Nurses Are Roughnecks. It’s true! A lot of ER nurses are rough and tumble, tell it to your face, and irreverent. They’d probably take the word ‘roughneck’ as a compliment. On the other hand, each nurse has their own style, and some ER nurses are just the opposite: as sweet as can be. It’s a mix – but the stereotype has a glint of truth in it.
5. Psych Nursing is Cushy. I’ll admit it – I believe this stereotype to be true. I feel it is much more comfortable than med-surg units. However, I know many nurses who wouldn’t agree, and view psych nursing as a mental health pit from hell. Again, it’s not easier or harder, it’s just different!
6. Float Nurses Don’t Care. It’s easy to imagine how this stereotype was born. One or two bad nurses can ruin a reputation of a whole group of nurses. Do you think this is true of float nurses you’ve seen? Is it one or two bad eggs, or do float nurses generally invest less time and effort than the unit regulars?
7. Night Shift Nurses are Lazy. Night time – nothing is happening, everyone’s sleeping, and there’s no supervisors – perfect, isn’t it? Until the perfect storm hits and you only have a third of the usual number of daytime/evening staff working. There’s a reason for the night shift pay differential too – it’s because it takes a toll on your personal life and sleep cycle. Let’s be thankful somebody is doing those nights – and give the benefit of the doubt before calling anyone lazy!
What do you think of these stereotypes? Are they all grounded in truth? Are they completely off-base? What other stereotypes have you seen? We’d love for you to share your opinion!