You’ve decided to be a nurse — congratulations! This is one of the most meaningful careers a person can select, choosing to dedicate your life and skills to caring for people in their time of need.
Whether you’re a brand new nurse just starting your career or if you’re coming to nursing after working in another industry outside of healthcare, there are a few myths about the profession that might need to be addressed before you dive in.
Here’s what’s fact and fiction about nursing careers.
Nurses all do the same job.
That’s a big misconception! There are many kinds of specialized nursing programs and demands, including oncology, pediatric, geriatric, long-term care, home healthcare, hospice, etc. There are also different kinds of nursing skill levels, from licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN) to advanced practice providers (APP) and nurse midwives. There isn’t just one way to be a nurse or one kind of nursing job to consider! Each type of nursing has its own regulations, requirements, training, and skill levels, some of which require additional schooling and certifications.
Being a nurse means working in a hospital — that’s it.
Nurses can work almost anywhere. Schools of all levels have nursing needs, whether full- or part-time. Medical facilities, from doctors’ offices to hospitals, need a variety of nurses, but the expansion of home healthcare means nurses are needed to go to people’s homes as well. Some spa and wellness facilities keep nurses on staff to help with anesthesia and other medical applications and procedures, and public health organizations often retain nurses for clinics and events. Depending on your interest, you can find a lot of flexibility in where you practice your skills.
Being a nurse means having orders barked at you all the time without any say in patient care.
Ask any doctor worth their credentials, and they’ll tell you that nurses are the backbone of their practice. Nurses can help design care programs for patients and are the ones who have the most time with their patients (more on that in a moment). They can, and should, speak up if a doctor’s orders conflict with a patient’s medical condition or, for example, if a medicine would have a negative interaction with a patient based on their illness or any allergies. Don’t believe that what you see in high-drama TV shows is exactly what it’s like to be a nurse in real life.
Nurses are too busy to get to know their patients.
Depending on the healthcare facility and the patient load, this is a bit of a misunderstanding. In long-term care facilities, nurses see their patients every day and spend time with them, having conversations about how they’re feeling, their nutrition, their socialization, and overall well-being. In oncology facilities, some patients have longer stays due to transplants or infusion care that require them to stay with their care team for longer stretches of time. Those patients become very close with their nurses over weeks or months. Obstetric and pediatric nurses see their young patients grow over the years. Nurses are sometimes more familiar with patients in any healthcare facility than the doctors leading care teams.
Nursing is a woman’s job.
It’s not the 1930s anymore. Anyone who feels compelled to be a nurse, and is ready to work hard and provide excellent, patient and compassionate care, can become a nurse. Patients have different needs and different comfort levels and as the population expands and more people feel comfortable living their full, true lives, expect to see more nurses that fall outside the traditional identities of male and female. Also, having a delicate conversation about your body with someone who isn’t the same gender can make an embarrassing or personal, private conversation even more difficult — many men would rather discuss prostate health, for example, with another man, while people who identify as transgender may prefer talking with someone else who is also in the process of transitioning, or has transitioned, to help navigate that complicated situation. If you want to be a dedicated provider of excellent care, your gender does not matter — nursing does not discriminate along gender roles.
Nursing is a challenging profession, but it’s one that can be incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. You’ll never have a dull moment, and you’ll make a direct and huge difference in people’s lives.
Sound like the kind of work you’d like to do? AMEA Healthcare can help! Take a look at the medical and nursing jobs AMEA is currently looking to fill, then give us a call, and we’ll get the process started for you. Congratulations on your bright new future!