I have been an RN for 20 years and have noticed some changes that truly sadden me.
First, back in the day we wore white and those horrid nurses caps.
The caps were long gone after I graduated and I noted that only a tiny handful of nurses continued to wear them.
I admired the nurses cap as our diginity.
When we graduate, we toss this dignity into a closet to collect dust and never be seen or used.
My cap was huge, in the way and was made of hard cardboard like material that gave me headaches and for those reasons, I absolutely did not like wearing it.
But it does set us apart from nursing assistants, lab techs, respiratory techs, therapists and the dreaded Medical Assistant.
Even though I clearly understand the unpopularity of the cap but I wonder how many of us would wear it if it were very small so it would stay out of the way and made of a soft light gauze type material as to not cause the headaches of the heavy cardboard ones.
Hmmmm! I wonder if the cap would gain new popularity? I think . . . probably not!
Show off your pin
I also noticed that nurses toss their school pins into a jewelry box to be forgotten.
Another dignity gone! With our caps gone, the school pin is the only diginity we have left.
This truly sets us apart from ancillary staff as they do not get pins.
I wore my pin everyday I worked and wore it proudly because the pin represented my status as a nurse, something I worked hard to earn and it also represented the college I attended.
How many of you have overheard a patient ask an ancillary staff member if he or she was the nurse!
This is something maybe we all may find difficult because nurses truly know how hard we work.
We all appreciate the help we get from our hospital staff especially our very much loved nursing assistants whom without, we could not do our jobs.
Maybe this is why nurses are loosing ground in fighting against changes that we know may compromise care for our patients.
True, we are not going to gain magic powers by wearing caps and pins, but I have to wonder what the benefits would be by taking back these two dignities.
I think the answer to this is going to be different for each nurse but maybe it will help nurses reverse the negative changes in recent years that most likely have had effect on patient care.
Nursing clearly is not the same, like many things in life.
We as nurses can reclaim these dignities so we can move forward and bring back to nursing what it needs to be for our patients first and last our employers and insurance companies.
So ladies and gentlemen at least wear your pin; take it out of the jewelry box and regain some of your dignity!