The Second Most Trusted and Disrespected Profession

Statistically, the Nurse is the Number Two most Trusted Profession followed by the Fireman in the Number One Position.

Now ask the Nurse if she feels like the Number Two most trusted profession in the world and you will sadly hear, No. What they are most likely to come back with is they feel like the most disrespected profession.

I started in this profession as a Candy Striper at the age of eleven. I’m now hitting my fifty-seven birthday in two months.

That gives me a long time in a profession that I have been a Candy Striper, a Nurse Aide, a Floor and Unit Nurse, a Manager in several different setting and have volunteered to Sit on Boards.

My background has taken me from Medical units, Psychiatric units, Community, Retirement and I have settled in Geriatrics in Long Term Care.

Wow-what a journey!

I can remember one of my proudest moment when I was at the whopping age of eleven. It was the first day I walked into the hospital in my red and white striped uniform.  I instantaneously knew that I was in the right place.

When I was old enough to be hired on and be a Nurse-Aide, that was the next proudest moment in my life.

But nothing compared to the day I walked into work in my white skirt and top with matching white stockings and shoes, wearing my Nurse’s Cap.

Image result for nurse cap image

I started out my profession working under the Nuns. They were a tough bunch to work for, but they taught us self discipline and respect.  The respect was not only for each other but for the patients we cared for.

And respect was given back from the patients and the family of the patients. They appreciated what we did.

If you would have asked me forty years ago should I be a Nurse? I would have proudly said yes. Today, Not so.

Somewhere along the line, everything changed. The nursing shortage increases, and the workload increases. Where we were once a team, we are now an individual who can’t keep up with the newly required paperwork. We have less time with our patients and no time to help each other.

The tension gets higher every day and the workload keeps getting pushed down the ladder. The fewer letters you have behind your name, the more likely you are to get the higher-up’s workload passed on to you. The Domino Effect. Unfortunately, fewer letters also mean less respect.

When you go to Nursing School you learn a term CYA. It stands for cover your ass. That once meant ” if it’s not charted it’s not considered done.” Today CYA means everything you do, everything you say.

The families have changed. The patients have changed. The respect from many of them no longer is there. You were once called Nurse, now we get called names I can’t put in print. We get assaulted, insulted and injured. And worst of all falsely accused, which leaves us in a world of CYA.

And yet, we still get up too early and work too late. We still miss holidays and birthdays and depend on our partners and families to run the kids around.

We continue to get physically and mentally abused.

And some of us, still try to help each other, listen to each other vent and make our own extended families with the staff that we spend more time with than our own.

We live in a life of them against us. Them not only meaning the families and patients but also the management who too are living in a world of CYA.  There is something wrong with this way of treating the second most trusted profession.

It is frequently heard now of Post Traumatic Stress affecting the front-line workers. But what you don’t hear about it the disappointments and the hurt feelings or the levels of exhaustion that daily arise to the people who chose to give to a profession that is supposed to be the Caring Profession.

We as a profession don’t expect to be said thank you to, but we do appreciate when it happens. Just like we appreciate the co-worker who sees us overwhelmed and puts down their own work to help another staff member.

As a Young Nurse, my biggest fear was of not knowing something or how not to do something. Now as a Seasoned Nurse, my biggest fear is to leave the profession angry and bitter as I see so many do.

Over the past few years, I have considered hanging up my Nursing Shoes and calling it done, and yet I still believe that what we do is important and I’m still proud to be a Nurse.

The solutions of more staff and less paperwork are needed, but what we most need is to be safe and treated with respect in our work environment. Feeling supported would also be nice. That cost nothing.

As a society, we need our Nurses.  As Nurses’ we need society to remember that your Nurses’ are people too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


19 thoughts on “The Second Most Trusted and Disrespected Profession

  1. I have a thousand percent respect for nurses and others in the health care field. Nurses have often made a difference in treatment plans I’ve had to go through. They are overworked, underpaid. and too often unappreciated. I can’t imagine how many lives you’ve touched during your career, and I thank you.

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      1. As always you have the capacity to impress and connect with me in so many levels. Love you and totally admire the wonderful way you have to say what is needed to say.

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  2. In Scotland, when my son was born, it was considered the “right thing to do” to take flowers and chocolates to the maternity nurses after discharge to say “Thank you” for looking after my wife and child. When my second son and wife were being discharged and everyone was in the car, the nurse put the new baby in the arms of his brother – who was three. When asked later where his brother came from he replied, “the Angels gave him to me” ( A TV program that my wife watched called ‘The Angels”- a show about nurses. Sadly these days have gone. I remember reading somewhere that ” we cannot bring up children the way we were brought up, because the world we were brought up for no longer exists” If people do not have respect for themselves, they have no respect for others.

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    1. I think you have something there in your statement. Self-respect generates respect. What a wonderful memory you have bringing your son home. You would be surprised to know that many years after we meet someone they are still with us too. I have a box of cards and drawings that have been made for me over the years. Some of the best conversation and kindest things have been said to me working afternoon shift when I am tucking someone in bed at night. No matter how old you are, I still believe it’s nice to have someone check on you, fix your blanket and wish you a pleasant sleep and turn the light off for you. Ps… I shouldn’t tell you that after all nurses are supposed to be all hard ass..lol…

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  3. I know my Dad was kind of short with the nurses when they placed him as a fall risk who needed assistance to get up, so when I was there I always made a point of thanking them for helping him in and out of bed. Nurses do so much more that the doctors in the day in day out. They are an unsung hero. Thank YOU for being a nurse!

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  4. The thing that many people miss is the fact that nurses actually run the hospital. Doctor’s make an appearance and leave. The nurse deals with patients’ pain, sadness, loneliness, fear and all the unmentionable dirty work that is required of care-giving. I have been a patient many times in the hospital and those nurses never stop. They don’t have time to eat or to pee. Yet, they come in with a smile when I ask for a warm blanket or some water. They are the ones that come in the bathroom when emergencies happen, not knowing what they will face. They clean up blood spills, bodily fluids and anything else that needs cleaning up. They keep everything moving. They comfort the patient who doesn’t have any visitors. They literally, take a bullet for every patient in their care. Nurses are true heroes because they come to work day in and day out willing to face whatever comes their way. God Bless the nurses. I certainly do.

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  5. Wow. I sadly feel as if I could just insert the name of my previous profession — “teacher”, for “nurse” and everything else will apply. I feel so sad this is true but I know you are right to say it. From my perspective, I have long told nurses I consider them “the saints of the world”. The only times I have been hospitalized as an adult was to give birth to my children and every single time, it was the nurses who were “there for me”. One even had to deliver one of my four even though she knew she would get in trouble for “delivering the pizza” before the doctor could take his sweet time getting there. Anyway, I’m truly sorry the world had gotten so, well yecky! but super glad there are still people like you “in the trenches”. Be fearless, but care for yourself. Shalom.

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