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Reality Unscripted
Nursing Theory: What Type of Nurse Are You?

I have a theory about nurses. Actually, I have several, but this is one of my favorites.

I believe there are two types of nurses. The first group of nurses are the "professionals". These are the men and women with lots of letters after their name, a wallet full of membership cards, and a mailbox overflowing with professional journals. They are on numerous committees and are a virtual encyclopedia of knowledge. They eat, sleep, and breathe nursing. They ooze professionalism.

I am not one of those nurses.

The second group is full of people like me. We are regular people with a nursing degree.

When someone asks me to tell them something about myself, I say, "I have a husband and three kids. I'm a nurse. I'm active in my church. And, I never miss an episode of Dancing with the Stars." It's the sum of my parts that makes me who I am.

I barely have time to read my e-mails, much less a nursing journal. I'm on a committee at work because it's expected of me, and we all do our part to get things done. The only membership cards in my wallet are for the YMCA and PTA.

Don't get me wrong. I love nursing. I think it's the best profession in the world, and it's treated me very well. I have made a difference in people's lives--as they have made a difference in mine.

I think the distinction is that "professional" nurses are, well, professional nurses. The rest of us are regular people with a job we love that fits in with a life we love. Both types are needed to make the profession run smoothly. We each have our place.

Believe me, people like me are not the ones to go to Washington and affect change. We might miss our kid's soccer game. We probably aren't going to be professors or administrators, either. We'd rather socialize with friends and family than with intellectuals, who intimidate us. On the other hand, when a patient is in crisis emotionally, nurses like me are at his or her side. My schedule goes out the window when a patient needs me.

What's my point, you may be asking? To quote the latest Disney hit, "We're all in this together." (Didn't I tell you I'm lacking in the professional category?) It takes each of us, and our God-given personalities and strengths, to take care of the patients we serve.

Never doubt what you bring to the table and never judge what others bring.

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8 Responses to “Nursing Theory: What Type of Nurse Are You?”

  1. Gina Says:

    I am also one of those regular people. I loved your article. It says what a lot of us feel. I would much rather be “regular” than the “professional”, but you are right that it does take both types for things to runs smoothly.

  2. Katie Says:

    Your last sentence hit it on the nose and is a good quote to live by- “Never doubt what you bring to the table and never judge what others bring.” New nurses especially, i feel, tend to spend too much time worrying about what the other nurses are doing around them in order to compare their skills/knowledge as a nurse. This can lead to doubt which obviously can hurt a person’s self confidence.

  3. Liz says Says:

    I love my job as an L&D nurse in Chandler, AZ. I believe it was my calling to be a beside nurse. So I would be considered “old shool.” For 12 hrs of my shift you can either find me @ one or the other’s patients bs. I love to teach them childbirth because when the time comes they forget what they’ve learned. I went to a nursing school that was hospital based in South Chicago so I did a lot of hands on nursing. There are 2 types the book smart nurses who usually aspire to be charges and boss the others like me around.So when you work in a busy hospital like ours you are exposed to such a different variety that the newbies get baptized by being thrown into the fire. It’s good for you, you learn a lot and you build confidence.

  4. grannyb Says:

    I am a regular nurse that is professional. I think we should act like nurses, look like nurses, talk like a nurse. I hate the sloppy way nurses look now, how they can’t speak properly pronouce words correctly or spell for goodness sake. There is more to being professional than more letters behind your name….I think a lot of our current nurses are in it for the money. When I started into nursing we were only making $7.00 an hour You had to WANT to be a nurse then!

  5. Jess Says:

    I understand the idea that there are two different groups of nurses, the academically zealous and those that are content to work as a floor nurse for their whole lives. I don’t think that this should determine if we are professional or not, though. I am currently working on my BSN, and am so glad that I chose to do the higher degree initially. I think it is quite sad that the nursing “profession” is the only medical field that allows two year degrees. Even the PT’s and OT’s have to have a masters nowadays, and as nurses we are dealing with people’s lives. I’ve seen great ADN nurses, very professional and experienced, but I’ve also seen the sloppy ones who don’t even know why they are doing something. Working as an Nurses Aid to get myself through nursing school has given me great contact with nurses and there are those that I would trust with my life and those that I would not want to get near me with a ten foot pole. It has made me think about the type of nurse I want to be.
    I think as nurses, no matter what level, we should be active in some sort of advocacy group for change, even if it is just in our own hospital, and it should be a concern to each nurse the direction that the profession is going. We all worked long and hard to become nurses and we need to fight for the respect that we deserve. I chose nursing because of my love for people, the unique way it integrates teaching and the way you can impact people and their families at some of the hardest times in their lives. I love the professionalism that should be there and they way that you are looked up to by your patients. We take the time to explain what is going on after the MD has rambled it off in one minute leaving the pt bewildered, and we are the ones that the patient and the family remember when they get D/C because we were professional and showed that we cared. That is nursing.
    Someday I hope to go overseas and serve the poorest of the poor in India. That is what nursing is really about, being God’s hands, feet, and speaking his love into the hurting, the needy and the dying.

  6. Whitney Davis Says:

    Well, I am not a nurse, actually, Im no where near it, im only in the 8th grade but my life long dream is to be a nurse. Ive been reading journal entries on what people think about nursing just to get a good idea of what it is like. So far im impressed with what i have read about everyday experiences with nursing and i hope in the future that i can inspire people just as you all have done in your everyday careers.

  7. Teaganderry Says:

    I am an ADN RN, and find it insulting when other RNs act like my degree is less inclusive than theirs.

    I recently oriented with a number of BSN RNs who all told me they were so glad I was there to help them. My technical college nursing program had a rigorous academic curriculum, but also a lot of clinical time. We starting our clinicals less than a month into the program, and continued throughout. Often, my BSN friends tell me they feel the BSN has prepared them to write papers, but not to care for patients.

    My college has the second highest NCLEX passing rate in the state, 98.6% – second only to a four-year program with 98.8% passing rate. If you pass the test, you get an RN – regardless of how many/which letters are behind your name.

    That said, I love being a nurse. I agree that many nurses look and act sloppy – a disgrace to the field. A sharp mind, bright smile and pressed uniform show confidence in your ability and inspire trust in your patients. I, too, am appalled at nurses who can’t correctly pronounce common medications or spell various procedures. These are often the same nurses that refuse to get their hands soiled helping the tech give a bath, or getting a patient on the bedpan.

    Kudos to my sisters and brothers in the honorable field of nursing! Remember – we are on the same team, with the same goals. I, as a nurse with a high degree of professionalism, do not have time to compare letters. I’m too busy caring for my patients (and helping other nurses care for theirs as well)

    Thank you

  8. Isaac Majier Says:

    I,as a nurse with a high certificated nurse of professionalism,do not have time to compare letters.I,m too busy caring for my patients(and helping other nurses care for theirs as well).Is good to take care for our patients that is our work and that is our professional

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