On 28 July 2012, nurses from around the country came together to discuss the topic: is nursing still a respected profession?
The chat suggested that patients can often be ruder, and show more frustration aggression towards nurses than to doctors. One possible reason for this is that patients hold doctors in higher regard due to their lengthy study time (seven years as opposed to a nurses’ three). You may have heard of the phrase ‘too posh to wash’, which applies predominantly to nurses who hold degree posts rather than a diploma.
@nicolejade6 tweeted: “I think whether you are a doctor, nurse or surgeon, the rules should be the same I.E.Washing a patient if they need it.”
The chat then progressed towards the main topic - whether nurses get enough respect from patients and the public.
@mrssocial said: “I think that respect is a two way thing, you have to be respectful to be respected.”
@CHD_UK added: “People don’t realize how much studying a nurse does. They still see nursing as a “lower” job.”
And David Foord: “I guess there are different attitudes towards nurses from different parts of society and professional colleagues”
@RannPatterson contributed with: “I have always regarded nurses as highly intelligent, that attitude must be coming from inside healthcare.”
Teresa Chinn (@agencynurse) stated that the main component of respect is good communication. She stated that if you communicate well with your patients, they tend to respond more positively and are more likely to show respect to your authority.
@agencynurse tweeted: “If you communicate well with your pts then you get to know each other and respect builds”.
David Foord then went on to ask the question of whether the levels of respect differ depending on what environment nurses work in?
@cherylwilson replied: “I have worked in both roles (hospital and community) and never found a difference personally”.
Interestingly, @DGFoord also added: “There are some elements of society who will disrespect anyone who represents ‘authority’ whether nurses or not.”
Lastly, the chat finished on the subject of whether nursing still has any stigmas attached.
Some issues were raised during the chat:
(Anonymous) tweeted: “My friend is a male nurse and people are constantly asking whether he is gay”.
@laura added: “I think we’re in a transitional period where people do not trust our newly qualified nurses”.
@bambinoboy said that: “As a male paediatric nurse, I feel uncomfortable at times caring for other people’s children, as I feel society has a stereotype of male child health nurses.”
In conclusion, nurses feel that they are respected by some areas of society perhaps more than others. A big part of a nurse’s job is dealing with people who may be sarcastic, rude or even aggressive towards them. It seems well-known that nurses are recognised for having advance people skills, and being terrifically patient and calming.
Is nursing still a respected profession then? The nurses of the UK seemed to answer ‘maybe’. Moreover, it seems that it doesn’t really matter. Nurses deal with human beings, whatever the mood they may be in, because that’s our job. That is how we contribute to the NHS being one of the best healthcare systems in the world.
Mikey Whitehead @STNNurse_Mikey