May 9, 2007, 8:37 pm

Learn at Home, in Your Spare Time!


It can happen to any nurse.

At any time.

When you least expect it.

Your co-worker may not even suspect she suffers from it.

Male nurses may be immune, but it is the scourge of the nursing professional.

Smooshed Cap Syndrome!

Oh, the horror!!!!!!!!


I’m caring for a young woman with a touch of the flu. She is accompanied by her boyfriend.

Nice kids.

The young man looks at me and asks, “Are you one of those ‘practitioners’?”

I look up from the IV and answer, “I’m a registered nurse.”

“How did you do that?”, he asks.


“Well, I went to college and received a degree in nursing.” I explained that you can do a two-year or a four-year program, but that the two-year program was anything but two years; just doing the pre-requisites alone could take at least a year. I said that it was probably better to do the four-year BSN degree, as the ADN programs can take just as long.”

“Are you serious?” He looked shocked.

“Yes….you have to attend a college or university to be a registered nurse.”

“Oh man, aren’t there any trade schools out there that you can go to?”

Say freaking WHAT? Now it was my turn to drop my jaw. I think I kept my composure.

“Um…no…nursing education is definitely at the college or university level. You can’t do it any other way.”

This young man was too young to remember the diploma programs, so he wasn’t talking about those when he asked about “trade schools”.

I honestly think this kid thought you went to the “Bryman School” or “Western Career College” to be a registered nurse.

I’m not sure why his lack of knowledge was so surprising to me. He definitely left that night with the correct information.

I wonder how many other people out there have no clue about what it takes to be a nurse or even what being a nurse is all about?


  • MonkeyGirl

    May 10, 2007 at 12:55 am

    Those are the ones that take a CNA class and then proceed to tell everyone they come in contact with that they’re a “nurse”. Drives me nuts.

  • Mother Jones RN

    May 10, 2007 at 6:03 am

    I think I know why he was confused. You can learn to fix cars at a trade school, so maybe he was thinking that you can learn to fix people at a trade school, too!

    Good Lord.

  • Bunny, LPN

    May 10, 2007 at 6:35 am

    Let’s not forget that an LPN can be acquired at some technical colleges. Maybe that’s where he goes the idea.

  • Candy

    May 10, 2007 at 7:34 am

    Hold on to your smooshed cap, Kim! Western Career College offers an ADN now. It’s only available as a bridge for LVNs, and only at the Sacramento campus, but they’re jumping into the educational marketplace.

  • S. R.

    May 10, 2007 at 8:16 am

    CNAs…don’t get me started…

  • jen

    May 10, 2007 at 8:55 am

    don’t forget lots of blood, sweat, and tears to get a nursing degree! Thanks for snatching up that teaching moment to educate on just really what it takes to be a RN!

  • Labor Nurse

    May 10, 2007 at 11:21 am

    They say ignorance is bliss… but I say this ignorance makes me pissed!

    I think the other reason he was mislead is because if the tv commercials for those medical assisting schools that show young women in scrubs assisting patients and doing things that the general public associates with nurses.

  • Fallen Angels

    May 11, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Confusion may come in if he has a computer as well. I get 3 or 4 spam emails a week from a few “career colleges”…like Brymon. The subject always says something along the lines of, “train for nursing” or “medical professional training”. The email shows a nurse-type person usually checking a patient’s bp. If you follow the link (I did once), they have MA training. Not that I look down on MA’s by any stretch, my partner was an MA for several years before going on to become an RPSGT. MA’s have a tough job (if they work for a busy doc), but nurses they are not!

  • NNR

    May 12, 2007 at 6:48 am

    Very few people have any idea what it takes to be a nurse—or, for that matter, what nurses actually do. I find this out when I talk to nonmedical types about my nursing education: unilaterally the reaction is surprise: “I didn’t know nurses had to do all that.” Most people evidently think nurses just take pulses and bring ice chips to patients. Eek!

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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