Who You Callin’ Nurse?

Story---Healthcare-Heart-Stethescope-Icons-2-2016-484x252-PNGI am not generally someone who takes things personally, but sometimes, I can’t help it. I was at the vet the other day, and I was asked if I needed to see the nurse.

Standing in the middle of the vet’s office with dogs all around and my own dog pulling at the leash, I merely said that I didn’t, but I couldn’t stop thinking of the receptionist’s words on my way home. Did I want to see the nurse?

I went to school to be a nurse, and I chose to take the two year class to get my ADN. That is a popular form of schooling to become a nurse, and it is a damned difficult way to become one.

I crammed for tests; I broke my back with books. I let family and other obligations slip by while I studied the intricacies of the human body.

In the end, I had to take boards. Again, I worked my tail off to pass NCLEX.

The books were still thick, and my mind was still overloaded with knowledge. With my hard work, though, I passed, and I can now proudly call myself nurse.

I am a nurse.

I don’t mean to diminish what the lady at the vet’s office does. She knows far more about my pet than I ever will, but she is not a nurse.

A nurse is a special type of professional who has gone through a special type of schooling to perform a special type of function. I’m sorry lady-at-the-vet, but you are not a nurse.

Maybe it is a case of semantics, but it gets under my skin. So many people are called nurse that it does make me resentful.

Receptionists are sometimes called nurses. Medical assistants are definitely called nurses. Technicians in veterinary offices, radiological centers, and phlebotomy outlets are called nurses.

I’m sorry, but they are not.

I think that it is time that nurses stand up and take ownership of their profession. It would be great to correct people who use the term loosely, but that would just make nurses seem like jerks.

It seems like a cultural shift is necessary. Yes, “doctor” is widely used for any male in a hospital, but it isn’t as widely exploited as the term “nurse.”

We need to take back the moniker of our profession. A medical professional should not introduce themselves to a patient as a nurse if they are not.

I can’t even relate the number of times that a medical assistant has walked into my exam room and introduced themselves as my doctor’s nurse when their badge clearly states that they are a medical assistant.

Maybe I am being too sensitive, but I think that the public already has little understanding and little regard for what nurses really do. This hurts the profession because they think there are many nurses – when, in fact, there are only four or five.

We need to take back our professional name. We need to stand up for who we are and what we are called.

Maybe it is a small thing, but it is a start. We worked too hard to become a member of this profession, and we deserve the exclusive right to call ourselves nurses.

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