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Who has thoughts/comments ideas on the publics perception of Nurses?

Posted in: Let's get talking | Discussion and debate

13-Oct-2009 1:55 pm

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Stuart Sorensen

Stuart Sorensen

Location: Throughout UK
Posts: 63

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15-Oct-2009 2:57 pm

Abraham Lincoln once famously remarked that by the age of 35 people generally have the face that they deserve. The point, of course, is that the image we portray reflects our actions.

I think that we nurses have brought it upon ourselves.

For example we get seen as doctor's handmaidens (not sure of a male equivalent) because we're too wet when it comes to confronting doctors as a rule.

We get seen as unrealistically angelic because we allow people to describe us as 'special' without challenging them on it.

We get seen as stupid because we're not so willing to take responsibility (often preferring to ask the doctor) as we might be.

I think the battleaxe and sex-kitten extremes are just leftovers from the old Carry on films. They entered the public mindset and then the tabloids maintained that one. Oh aye - then there are kissograms and Ann Summers 'sexy nurse' costumes to maintain the myth. Either that or I'm the unluckiest bloke in nursing - hehehe.

We get seen as less than professional because.... well just have a look at some of the comments you find on nursing internet fora and you'll get the point there. Nurses are very capable of vaccuousness and superficial thinking. Large numbers of us can't even compose a coherent sentence.

We even complain about the paltry PREP requirement of 5 study days in 3 years. That's nothing for a profession that's supposed to keep up to speed with research and clinical developments.

Other professions have a united front. Nurses are rather like the old wagon trains in 1970s wild west films. When the Apache attacked the settlers formed a circle with their wagons and shot out from behind them. Nurses do that when we're challenged but we tend to shoot inwards. Not the most professional behaviour.

Go on then - shoot me down if you want to but I think we bring it upon ourselves as a profession.

Cheers,

Stuart

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Anonymous

Anonymous

15-Oct-2009 3:41 pm

Stuart, thankyou for your response (I'm not even going to bother with the answer above you), but I think you are dead right in what you say, especially about the nurses shooting inwards!

I have maintained for a long time that nursing will never become the profession it deserves to be because of the very people that populate it!

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Maria Vialli

Maria Vialli

Posts: 12

22-Oct-2009 12:24 pm

There is no consensus. Yes certain people perpetuate certain stereotypes, but there is not a national consensus that nurses are slutty, pathetically passive or anything else. A 'perception' in created every time you help a patient. Do it with compassion and care, and the perception is a good one. Much better to act on these things than just bemoan how everyone see us

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Stuart Sorensen

Stuart Sorensen

Location: Throughout UK
Posts: 63

24-Oct-2009 5:05 pm

I agree that there's no consensus. However nursing culture often fuels the fire in terms of our reputation - not least for passivity.

I'm not going to repeat my arguments verbatim here because I made the point earlier in my blog. Have a look...

http://stuartsorensen.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/the-doctor-is-not-always-right/

Feel free to comment by clicking the link at the bottom of the blog page.

Cheers,

Stuart

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Hannah Palmer

Hannah Palmer

Posts: 1

4-Feb-2010 6:01 pm

When I started my nurse training back in September, one of the first things that struck me was the number of guys on the course - 18 out of 60 students in my year (the other years have slightly fewer but not many).
Nurses here (I'm in France) are highly respected, as professionals. I think that's partly because the nurse training is so tough, there's an entrance exam to get into the school (for my school, which isn't highly subscribed to as it's in a very rural region, there were 600 applicants for 60 places). I haven't yet come across the stereotype 'sex kitten' either, and male nurses and care assistants are accepted, respected and represented in all sectors.

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Joanne Storie

Joanne Storie

Posts: 3

5-Feb-2010 10:50 am

the most common comment i get is that it's a rewarding job. but that depends on how you feel about your job. i am a hca and it is the best job in the universe. it's like being at home but with temporary relations that we borrow until they move somewhere else.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

10-Feb-2010 11:34 am

If you are interested in the biology behind healthcare study medicine. If you are articulate enough to discuss healthcare objectivly, study law. There is no money in nursing although I understand sitting around chattering about nursing rather than doing any is proving to be quite lucrative. See the RCN and NMC for prime examples.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

12-Feb-2010 3:20 pm

I can only admire your bile: I am totally with you regarding the NMC and RCN. Respect!

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Anonymous

Anonymous

15-Jul-2010 7:52 pm

If you are interested in the biology behind healthcare study medicine. If you are articulate enough to discuss healthcare objectivly, study law. There is no money in nursing although I understand sitting around chattering about nursing rather than doing any is proving to be quite lucrative. See the RCN and NMC for prime examples.



Thank you, perfectly said!!

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michael stone

michael stone

Posts: 146

26-Jun-2011 12:19 pm

15-Oct-2009 2:57 pm

Thank you for posting 'We even complain about the paltry PREP requirement of 5 study days in 3 years ' it saves me looking it up again.
I am a member of the public, who has not had much contact with nurses during the last 50 yrs except for some district nurses, who I found were very caring, clincially competent but also annoying in respect of how they interacted with me, while my comatose mother was dying at home (basically, unlike the GP, the nurses didn't just answer questions: the nurses 'filtered' their answers).
Personally, I am not at all sure of the precise details of 'the nurse's role and responsibilities', and I am very unimpressed with some of the stuff 'higher authorities' publish as guidance for nurses.

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mike

mike

Posts: 65

3-Jul-2011 11:48 pm

That is part of the problem Michael. A vast number of the general public have no contact with us, and therefore no perception of us (apart from what they see in the moronically misleading media) until they need us, and then have very little idea of exactly who a modern Nurse is and what it is we do. Our public image is non existent or completely out of date.

Oh, and as for the so called 'guidance' and 'leadership' we get, yeah, I have a lot of problems with that too.

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michael stone

michael stone

Posts: 146

4-Jul-2011 11:15 am

3-Jul-2011 11:48 pm

mike, we have discussed this elsewhere, and I fear we are moving off topic, again - but I am not even convinced, that nurses properly understand 'what their role is'.

And you guidance definitely doesn't help: the nurse who annoyed me by not 'just answering questions' was probably confused by her guidance (which, as she was a DN team-leader, I think she probably had read) which is paradoxical for a comatose patient and a relative who is not a welfare attorney {and even if the relative is a welfare attorney, you don't all seem to understand the law properly}.

I still am far from convinced, that nurses are 100% certain about what decisions are 'theirs to make' and if you don't understand that, then how do expect the public to properly understand your role ?

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mike

mike

Posts: 65

4-Jul-2011 5:16 pm

Michael, I'm sorry, but you have no call to say what we as Nurses understand or not. You are not a Nurse.

We know our role inside and out, we also understand 100% what decisions are 'ours to make', just as we know when it is best to refer a decision onto a specialist or a another member of the MDT.

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michael stone

michael stone

Posts: 146

5-Jul-2011 3:02 pm

4-Jul-2011 5:16 pm

My comment, is that based on the postings I read, it appears that some nurses, are not 100% certain of the PRECISE details of their own roles and powers.
SOME nurses - not all.
I myself am confused about the precise role of modern nurses, now that nursing is becoming more academic (and less 'handmaidens for doctors') and now that some nurses have got limited prescribing powers.
It is entirely possible, that everyone except me, is very clear about this: but I see a 'blurring' or 'overlap' between the functions of nurses and doctors, combined with a 'we don't do that - HCAs do that' for some things which nurses would once have done, and to me this introduces a lack of clarity. TO ME !

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David Mallard

David Mallard

Posts: 3

6-Jul-2011 12:26 pm

Michael, I think your lack of clarity is justified.

I qualified as a nurse in 1998 after serving as an HCA for 18 months prior to my training (I'm now a Specialist Nurse)

When I look back now the duites that Junior doctor's performed in the late 90's; phlebotomy, cannulation, Nasogastric tube insertions, PICC line insertions, reading x-rays etc are now being performed by nurses.

Nurses roles (in the late 90's) such as feeding patients, turning patients to prevent pressure sores, dressing changes etc are now being performed by HCA's.

Recently we have Nurse prescribing a function performed solely by Doctors and some "specialist Nurses" performing Minor Ops.

What next for the Nursing profession?

As long as the patient/service user is happy I'm all for "blurring/overlapping"

One day it might be me!

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mike

mike

Posts: 65

6-Jul-2011 3:35 pm

Fair enough Michael, but it is different to say you do not understand what a Nurses role is and we as a profession do not understand what decisions are ours to make. Bear in mind that it is drilled into us from the start of training exactly what we can and can't do at specific roles for fear of acting outside of our remit and being bounced off the NMC register. For example, I do not have my Nurse prescribing qualification, so I would never dream of prescribing medication, but I do have other post grad quals such as my mentorship qual for example, so I would have no hesitation in signing off a student after placement, which I would not do if I didn't have it, etc.

In terms of yours (or the general publics) understanding of our roles, then I think you are ahead of the curve a little by understanding that we are highly skilled and highly qualified individuals. I think the key is to view Nursing as a seperate profession from medicine, with equal ranking (at higher specialties) and overlapping skills and roles, but with a seperate paradigm to health care.

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michael stone

michael stone

Posts: 146

8-Jul-2011 11:21 am

6-Jul-2011 3:35 pm

This is the bit which 'sort of bothers me':

'Bear in mind that it is drilled into us from the start of training exactly what we can and can't do at specific roles for fear of acting outside of our remit and being bounced off the NMC register'

Either, nurses are trained and are allowed to do things they can perform competently, with that as a 'general principle' (along with 'if I cock-it-up, then I get the blame') or else you are looking much more 'narrowly' at 'following tick-box regulations'. The two do not mix very well, at all. And almost invariably, 'guidance' starts as an expression of principle, which works for almost every possible situation but assumes competence, but rapidly evolves into a set of 'tick-box rules' which could be followed by much less competent individuals, but which cannot include those situations 'at the edges of the probability spectrum'.

This is, I fear, wandering off topic - but the bit I'm not clear about, concerns the 'independence' of nurses, and their scope for freedom of action. As a potential patient, who might suffer from a mistake 'made' by a nurse, I would be very unclear I suspect (in some situations) about whether my complaint would be with a nurse, for doing something wrong, or with a doctor who had issued (or failed to issue) appropriate instructions about something. And this is somewhat speculative - I have successfully avoided extensive (personal) contact with clinicians, for about the past 30 years.

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michael stone

michael stone

Posts: 146

8-Jul-2011 11:29 am

6-Jul-2011 12:26 pm

Thank you David - makes a change to be told that I might just have a point !

I agree whole-heartedly about blurring/overlapping if it works, and produces better patient outcomes. But I do have' a thing' (mainly for treatment at home) about the way nurses and doctors are 'blurring their roles and trying to integrate' WITHOUT ALSO integrating family carers. And for EoLC care at home, any nurse who is 100% clear about 'what I am allowed to do' in at least one specific circumstance, is well ahead of the game, because one of the AUTHORS of the current Joint CPR Guidance has admitted the guidance contains a paradox.

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michael stone

michael stone

Posts: 146

9-Jul-2011 11:38 am

8-Jul-2011 11:29 am

6-Jul-2011 12:26 pm

David, the paradox I mentioned, is described at the end of a piece I posted in the Forums, under 'Is it Reasonable to Assume Part 1: that nurses will challenge the authors of high-level guidance.
It was in 'Let's get talking or the other similar banner' - there is a conflict between 'patient confidentiality and the requirements of the MCA's best interests decision-making process, for certain situation.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

9-Jul-2011 2:29 pm

MCA what does this mean? it is frustrating trying to read posts with these abbreviations which are not explained and with which readers may not be familiar. Time is wasted trying to find them when google often throws up quite a few other terms using the same abbreviation, none of which, in this case relate to medicine.

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