November 19, 2008, 3:58 pm

See Nurse. Nurse is Busy. Busy Nurse!

I never studied in my uniform.

I certainly never studied in my cap. But hey! I have it right here in the closet! I could wear it around the house!

You think I’m kidding, don’t you?

I just realized that the green and gold on the cap match my Notre Dame jammies!

Not that I would wear those things together.

Or anything.

When I study I’m sprawled out on the floor with texts and articles and computer and diet Pepsi and notebooks and my headphones on playing ocean sounds to help me focus.

As much as I love studying, I’d rather blog!


In 1963-64 I was in the first grade. I loved to read.

These were my textbooks and I was so proud to “graduate” to the next color in the series!

I surmised that by the time I made it to college, I would be reading books that were much more difficult.

One would hope, anyway.

My suspicions were correct. When I began my nursing education, the textbooks could have been written in Greek, for all I knew. The concepts were complex, Sr. Roy’s nursing theory could cause semi-permanent strabismus, and I discovered that trying to study nursing theory in-between acts at a Day on the Green concert while drinking screwdrivers was not conducive to retention.

But I managed to absorb the material and I graduated (obviously).


Then I decide it is time to finally get my BSN.

Three decades had passed since I laid eyes on a nursing textbook.

Oh, I would read journals of course. And take continuing education classes.

I even took a full year of art history, two years of piano/music theory, a semester of paralegal studies and a semester of literature during that time.

I was challenged in all these areas, but I loved it.

Hamlet rocks, by the way.


So I begin my baccalaureate education in nursing. Heavy topics. Theory. Leadership. Public health.

Only I find myself wondering if there is something wrong with me, because with all due respect to Mickey Mouse, I have invoked his name on numerous occasions as I try to describe my texts.

I’m in a university. I’m taking upper division nursing courses.

Yet my textbooks read like they should be entitled “My Little Nursing Story Book”. Seriously, are these things written at the eighth-grade level?

In case it isn’t totally apparent, I am no genius, but I’ve read Cherry Ames novels that were more challenging.

Aren’t these texts written for professional nurses? Why are they “speaking” to me like I don’t know the nursing process from a hole in the ground?


Then I figured it out.

These texts aren’t for nurses who have returned to school for a higher degree. They are written as basic texts to be taught in basic nursing courses to students who are just learning the profession.

This presents a rather interesting conundrum. As nurses flock en masse to RN-to-BSN programs, there will be a need for nursing texts that are aimed at experienced, professional nurses who have a baseline knowledge backed by years (decades!) of experience.

Do these texts exist? I haven’t seen them. Does anyone even realize there is a need for a tailored, advanced approach to those of us who already have “RN” after our names?


Let me give you one example of what I am talking about. This is a partial first sentence of an actual text, from the chapter I am now assigned to read. The topic is home health.

  • “The purposes of home health services are to provide nursing care to individuals and their families in their homes…”


That totally floors me!

I thought home health nurses were supposed to play checkers with the patients and let them win.

And then I can’t figure out why I have trouble taking the rest of the text seriously.

A basic nursing text is not appropriate for nurses advancing their education.


See Kim. See Kim read. Hear Kim sigh.

No wonder I’d rather blog.


  • Shauna MacKinnon

    November 20, 2008 at 2:49 am

    Perhaps you will write the text books for those returning nursing students…


  • Nurse K

    November 20, 2008 at 4:10 am

    I got a BSN with no nursing experience, and it was lame, tedious, and boring for me too. Don’t worry: The lameness is far-reaching. At least you didn’t have to sit through 16 hours of “alternative medicine” and be tested out on Reikki and Healing Touch methods.

  • #1 Dinosaur

    November 20, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Sounds like a niche waiting to be filled. Start outlining that textbook and get to writing it yourself!

  • AlisonH

    November 20, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    What they said. Me, I couldn’t find a decent how-to book on laceknitting a dozen years ago, and after ten years of learning sat down and wrote my own. I know, it couldn’t be a more different topic from nursing, but the point holds: you’re a writer. You see clearly the book that needs to be out there. It’s a pain to do, but someone’s got to do it. (And believe me, the market responds to a niche finally filled!)

  • Maureen

    November 21, 2008 at 10:24 am


    It isn’t just nursing, it’s the “dumbing down” of education because everyone gets accepted to college these days. We wouldn’t want to tell someone they aren’t smart enough to do something,so we let everyone do everything, whether they are qualified or not!

    I think the other comments make a good point, you have the knowledge, maybe this would be the book for you to write!

    Thanks, as always, for a thought-provoking and fun post!

  • kate

    November 21, 2008 at 10:56 am

    This is why i refused to go back for the BSN. Not until they have a pill for boredom 🙂 As an RN with a BS in semi-related field, i am actually lucky. Surprisingly many places are just happy to see any four-yer degree!
    Write a textbook! It also looks like you would be pretty good at children’s cat-in-the-hat stlye books. The title got me to read your stuff.

  • DBS

    November 22, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    I love that definition of what a home health nurse does, I had no idea since the title of the position is not self explanitory:)

  • Robyn

    November 22, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Guess you’ll just have to write the texts yourself, Kim. You’d be doing other RNs a favor!

  • Jessica Bern

    November 23, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Okay, here is a dumb question. I’m going to then assume that you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to get a degree in nursing. Yeah, I know, dumb.

  • kate

    November 24, 2008 at 8:02 am

    no question is ever dumb in nursing!!!! no, you do not need a bachelor’s first. if u have one first, many of the classes transfer over to the associates degreeand can make that degree go faster so to speak.

  • Sandi

    November 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I did the RN to BSN thing and was fortunate enough to have been in a program that targets those with experience. It’s what that university refers to as “life experiences”. But I know what you mean about the Dummying up of things. As an educator I was sked to actually do that once so that someone could get through a class! My response… It is what it is, there is no dummying up in this class! Pass because you know it or fail becuase you don’t.

  • Rosanne

    November 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    I am in nursing school and also have a bachelor’s degree in business (it was the lack of ethics that cooked that one for me!) Anyways, I found that even though it was a business degree, all of the basic courses transferred over (history, english, psych, sociology etc) which made the load easier for an over 30 gal trying to reshape her life! I have also found that because of the bachelor’s, I can “bridge” up to a master’s. In other words, take 3-5 courses of a nursing bachelor’s quality to qualify to take master’s level courses. It doesn’t sound quite right to me, and I’d like to say I don’t see a down side, but there MUST be one…I can’t see how I wouldn’t miss out on something they teach on a bachelor’s level. So your discussions on “dummying” up or down are interesting…and have me wondering! I need to check into this further!
    Also-I’m on the team that says-Write the Text!!! Good luck!

  • Suzy

    September 25, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Kim, I am not sure what to say here. I have been a ADN nurse for 10 years and am back getting my BSN. I know I have the experience of a seasoned nurse but am having trouble writing a theory paper. I do not consider myself dumb. I am an avid reader, am well informed of world events, work at a very prestigious Navy Hospital, yet find that I don’t have a clue about, for instance, all this theory crap. What is my problem? What the hell is a Rubric? OK..there was no such thing 10 years ago. Would appreciate your comments

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...

Continue reading »

Find Me On...
Twitter     Technorati

Subscribe to Emergiblog

Office of the National Nurse

Zippy Was Here

Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics

  • Perspective
  • Confidentiality
  • Disclosure
  • Reliability
  • Courtesy