October 1, 2005, 9:25 pm

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

…….Let us bow our heads in a moment of respectful silence for the football team of Purdue University, Indiana, who got their gluteus maximi KICKED by the Fighing Irish of Notre Dame!!!! Whooo hoooo! Apparently Purdue gave a football game and the team forgot to show up (figuratively speaking). NOTRE DAME ROCKS!!!!
(silence)
To those who are students or alumni of Purdue, my sympathies. Go Irish……

You can be a Trained Nurse. As opposed to what, an untrained nurse? This reminds me of something one of my nursing instructors said to me during my very first quarter of nursing school. Claudia was the epitome of the tall, cool professional. I secretly wanted to be just like her when I grew up (and I mean “grew up”…I was 18). My partner and I had managed to make a hospital bed within the required five minutes during our first skills lab and I joked, “….another exciting development in medical science”. She immediately informed me that it was nursing science, separate and distinct from medicine. So I said, “…okay, another exciting development for nurses’ training!” At which point she intoned that dogs are trained, nurses are educated. Well, I felt like an idiot but I never forgot what she said.

This came back to me recently as I listened to a group of my colleagues try to talk a pre-med student into nursing instead of medicine. They brought up many arguments. Nursing school could take as few as two or three years instead of eight (including residency). Nurses can work part-time with benefits. The pay is good. You can work in many different areas during your career as opposed to specializing in just one. Okay, all of those things are true…but then they said that nursing was easier; why go through all the bull of medical school when nursing was so….doable? After I picked my jaw up off the desk, I had to open my mouth.

I told the student that becoming a nurse was only the right thing to do if she wanted to practice nursing. Yes, they are related, but medicine and nursing are not the same profession. Nursing isn’t something you do if you don’t feel like going to medical school. I asked her what she wanted to study. Did she want to focus on the diagnosing and treatment of illness? Did she want to care for patients, assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating their responses to their treatment, both physical and emotionally on a daily basis? Doctors see their patients sporadically. Nurses spend up to twelve hours at a time with those same patients. Doctors set up the medical plan of care. Nurses set up a nursing care plan that supports and enhances the patient’s ability to heal, that recognizes and helps the patient cope with the impact of the diagnosis in all areas of their life.

Well, that sort of threw a bucket of water on the conversation, but I thought I should say something. I’m all for recruiting nurses, but not by promoting it as a second-choice to medical school. Nursing is its own discipline.

Gee, I guess I grew up to be a little like Claudia, after all.

12 Comments

  • Julie
    Julie

    October 2, 2005 at 4:49 am

    By the way Kim, all your 50’s nurses have such slim waists; if only…


  • We just went through all this in detail this week–and I feel like I just had a review for my exam. 🙂

    A fun review, though.

    Hh


  • Kim
    Kim

    October 2, 2005 at 10:58 am

    Yeah, what’s up with all these skinny RNs back then?


  • D Bunny
    D Bunny

    October 2, 2005 at 11:54 am

    Yes, I’m pretty sick of doctors who view nurses as people who weren’t smart enough or motivated enough to go to medical school. And some nurses perpetuate this myth.

    I was definitely smart enough to go to medical school, but I’m not the type of person who wants my life defined by my job. I’m also not the type of person who wants to study just one thing. If I spend 12 years in college, I’ll be studying a variety of things, not just medicine.

    Last but not least, I didn’t want to be in charge of doing invasive things such as central line placement, chest tube placement, etc. It doesn’t interest me. So I went into nursing not because I couldn’t get through medical school, but because it was more in line with what I wanted my life to be like.


  • pammiecakes
    pammiecakes

    October 2, 2005 at 12:16 pm

    I totally agree with you. I was premed, but hated how at the doctor’s office I’d spend 5-7 minutes with my physician and the rest of the half hour with the nurse. I knew then I wanted to be the person that spends time performing care, not performing medical procedures.

    You hit the nail on the head. I’m so glad you said something – I would have if I’d been there. And for my money, nursing school is a lot tougher than my pre-med regimen ever was.


  • Karen
    Karen

    October 2, 2005 at 12:36 pm

    :::applause::: Great post delineating the differences between medicine and nursing!

    I probably could have gone to medical school if I had wanted to put forth that effort – it’s not a question of intelligence. Ultimately it came down to the fact that I wanted to be there for my patients and plan their care, and I love the career flexibitity that comes with nursing. So far, I’m happy with my decision.


  • kenju
    kenju

    October 2, 2005 at 1:29 pm

    Nearly every nurse I have known has proven to be smarter and more caring than any doctor I have been in contact with. I trust nurses more, especially in a hospital setting, as they see and spend more time with patients than docs do. They often spot trends in a person’s health that a doc cannot, because he is so seldom there. Nurses can’t do everything, but for my money, I’d rather have a nurse caring for me, espcially, if she is as dedicated and caring as Kim!


  • Dr. Deborah Serani
    Dr. Deborah Serani

    October 2, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    LOL about the skinny RN’s. I often like to see the nurse practioners when I take my daughter in for care. They are all so warm and receptive, less clinical and more hands on!!

    By the way, might I pass along a plug for Mental Health Awareness week here. It starts 10/6.

    ~Deb


  • Catherine
    Catherine

    October 2, 2005 at 4:02 pm

    I have to say that this wasp-wasted nurse bears a distinct look of an Edward Gorey damsel, only in white, not black. Don’t know if you remember it or not, but his illustrations were used for the beginning credits of a PBS’ series called Mystery!

    For those of you not as gray-haired as myself, there’s also a striking resemblance to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. (Again, sub the white dress for one in black.)

    Kim, where DO you find these illustrations? Just by searching the Internet? Or have you been collecting nurse-related prints for years? They’re great and add so much to your blog!


  • unicorn
    unicorn

    October 2, 2005 at 4:19 pm

    GO KIM GO

    It makes me soooo angry to hear stuff like that! It’s seems as if nursing is like a second-class job for people who are to lazy to go to school. A lot of people forget, that we are NOT one step below the royal class of doctors but A PART of the team. And what about “they said that nursing was easier” ohhh puh-lease, that’s usualy comes out of mouths of people who think that in order to marry a Doc you just have to be a nurse.

    Sorry for getting so mad, but stuff like that freaks me out.
    You did the right think!

    unicorn


  • Heather
    Heather

    October 2, 2005 at 4:34 pm

    I couldn’y have said it better myself.


  • Nurse Knitty
    Nurse Knitty

    October 3, 2005 at 8:02 am

    It’s all about foundation garments! This nurse is most likely wearing a corset under her starched whites.

    Only a ninth grade education was the minimum educational requirement?!?! My how times, they have changed.

    W. 🙂


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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