There are a lot of myths & stereotypes about nurses! Many people assume that being a nurse is an easy job, but they don’t take into account the job hazards we are faced with daily. In this article, I want to dispel the top 15 nursing myths and stereotypes that people think about the nursing profession. You may also be interested in “Nursing School Myths” as well.
Be sure to watch this fun video on the top myths about the nursing profession. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos.
Top Myths & Stereotypes about Nurses
15. Nurses just clean up poop and pee all day!
When I was in nursing school, an older man asked one of my friends what her college major was, and she told him nursing. He quickly replied, “You mean to tell me you went to school that long just to “clean up poop and pee all day”. The truth is, while you may have to do this sometimes, nurses do far more than that. We administer medicine, start IVs, give injections, start catheters, clean wounds, and so much more. And in some specialties, you won’t deal with poop or pee at all.
14. Nursing is sexy and glamorous!
This stereotype is popular in movies and American culture which causing many people to think nursing is a glamorous job where you can be sexy. However, this is simply not true. Being a nurse is about being self-sacrificing, selfless, and being sexy and glamourous is far from your mind. The care of your patient is what takes precedence.
13. You can’t be a nurse if you’re shy or afraid of blood
There are many specialties where dealing with people or blood is minimal. For example, case managers rarely deal with blood. Nurse researchers or technical writers don’t have to deal with a lot of social interaction. So, there’s an area of nursing for any personality type.
12. Men don’t become nurses!
More men than ever are entering nursing school and the nursing field. There are plenty of areas within nursing that suit men just fine. Men not only work as traditional bedside nurses, but many are attracted to areas such as nursing informatics (dealing with technology), or advanced practice nursing like CRNA (anesthesiology) or Nurse Practitioner, where they’ll be able to do some functions as a doctor.
11. Nursing is a safe job!
Nursing certainly isn’t the most dangerous job in the world, but like all jobs, there are some occupational hazards. You risk coming into contact with superbugs like MRSA, VRE, C-diff etc. You also risk dealing with needle sticks, common cold and viruses, and the occasional violent patient. So, there are some risks involved.
10. All nurses work in hospitals!
It’s true that hospitals do make up a large sector of employment, but there are many other areas where nurses work. For example, school nurses work in schools. Nurse educators or instructors often work in a college or university. Home health nurses or travel nurses go to patient’s homes. Nurses also work for various for-profit businesses, in clinics, and more.
9. All nurses marry doctors!
This is a funny stereotype and myth that is really portrayed on TV and in the movies. Most nurses do not marry doctors, however, some are married to doctors but majority are not.
8. All nurses do the same kind of work!
Nursing is one of the most diverse professions out there. While some nurses perform similar skills, all specialties and areas of nursing are quite different. For example, if you work in the E.R., your shift will be fast-paced and hectic, but most ER nurses love the rush. If you’re a camp nurse, you’ll work with camp organizations to help with vaccines, treating simple injuries, and so forth. Labor and delivery nurses help deliver and care for mothers and their babies.
7. Nursing specialties require specific schooling!
For most specialties, all you need to do is become hired by an employer. They’ll provide on-the-job training that will help you specialize in a certain area. So, if you want to work as a neonatal nurse, you’d apply for a job in this type of setting, and then they’d train you under a more experienced nurse. There is not a specific type of nursing school for neonatal nurses.
6. You can only become a nurse if you go 4 years to school!
You can become a nurse in as little as 2-3 years through an associate’s degree program (ADN). Once you graduate from this program and pass the NCLEX-RN, you be a licensed registered nurse who is ready to go out and work.
5. RNs and LPNs do the same thing!
RNs and LPNs have a different scope of practice. The scope of practice for each position can vary from state to state, but generally speaking, LPNs usually can’t push IV drugs, administer blood, and so forth.
4. Nurses can’t work in other states with their current license!
While moving states can require additional fees and an application for a new license, many states operate under a compact state agreement, which allows nurses to work in other states with minimal paperwork or hassle. See our video/article.
3. An ADN nurse is different than a BSN Nurse!
The only difference between a RN with an ADN vs BSN degree is that one has an associate’s and the other has a bachelor’s degree. Both nurses can generally perform the same skills, and both make great nurses. They are both licensed RNs!
2. All nurses work 12 hour shifts!
Many hospitals require 12-hour shifts due to the nature of the work, but many areas of nursing have regular 9-5 type jobs. If you work in a clinic, business, or school, you’ll work a more traditional work week.
1. Nurses don’t make good money!
Nurses actually make a pretty competitive registered nurse salary, especially considering the fact that you can become a nurse with an associates or bachelor’s degree (2-4 years). According to the BLS.gov, the average salary for registered nurses in the U.S. in 2014 was $69,790. Not bad!