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OPINION

What inspires nurses to enter the profession?

  • 20 Comments

I’ve been doing a grand tour of the NHS recently, heading out to see hospitals, meet nurses and find out what is happening in the world of nursing, and what we should be writing about.

What fascinates me most is what inspires nurses to enter the profession in the first place – particularly those who come from a pre-Holby City/Casualty/ER/Grey’s Anatomy age, so they definitely weren’t seduced by the glamour of the on-screen persona of the work. (Funny how it’s all high-energy activities these shows portray – tending to a patient who has soiled the bed never seems to make the glamorous world of televised care).

So if it wasn’t being wooed by the on-screen images, then what was it that made our nurses don the uniform?

“The thought that I could definitely do it better than a nurse that looked after me when I had my tonsils out,” was the feeling communicated to me by one nurse.

“The belief that I could make a difference, and make people feel better,” was another, who had previously wanted to become a doctor, but changed course and said, like many nurses, it was the best decision they had ever made.

All too often, people portray nursing as a second-class job – one that is for people not good enough to make the academic grade and become doctors. But in fact, nursing requires as much intelligence, sense and sensitivity – some would argue more. It’s time to overthrow this stigma and make sure that the public knows just how much time it takes to educate and train a nurse, and just how bright and committed they have to be.

The degree-level registration being introduced for the profession will hopefully help change people’s minds about nursing. But we’ve already got some of the smartest, dedicated and experienced nurses in the profession, and we just need to stop hiding our assets and start shouting about them.

And that’s not just to the public, but also to the wider healthcare profession. If nurses take themselves seriously and genuinely appreciate their own significance in the health landscape, getting involved in GP commissioning and making sure their voices are heard, it is the first step to changing people’s perceptions. And it will prevent everyone thinking that nursing is all about frenetic life saving in lipgloss, as the television programmes would have us believe.

  • 20 Comments

Readers' comments (20)

  • We all know why we became Nurses. Perhaps you should be asking is that enough to keep us in the profession when faced with low morale, low pay, crap working conditions and the daily realisation that our patient care is being compromised from the top down despite all our best efforts.

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  • Mike

    I fully support what you say. I wenty into Nursing as it was always something I wanted to do............... Do I still want to do it yes........... but there are no thanks any more or respect. Why should we keep going , no pay rises yet VAT goes up Taxes & NI go up so where are we back to square one before the so called AFC which would reward us for the job thta we do................What rubbish. Once again we are second class citizens when will we recognised as the hard working dedicated people that we are.

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  • Mike

    I fully support what you say. I went into Nursing as it was always something I wanted to do...............

    Do I still want to do it yes........... but there are no thanks any more or respect. Why should we keep going there are no pay rises yet VAT is going up Taxes & NI will also go up. So where are we? Back to square one before the so called AFC cam into force which was suppose to reward us for the job that we did................What rubbish.

    Once again we are second class citizens when will we recognised as the hard working dedicated professional people that we are.

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  • What you should be writing about is the way that the standards of care that patients recieve are directly affected by staffing numbers. And the way the expectations of care are increasing but hospital management are not providing the manpower to meet these expectations.
    You need to write about this in a way that the general public can understand and you need to make sure the mainstream media pick up on this. Nurses have no voice and are sick of working so hard only to be villified by the public. Individuals are unable to speak up for fear or being pulled up infront of the hospital board or the NMC. Our complaints to managers are filed and ignored. This is not what I became a nurse for.

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  • Here we are complaining about management again!! What made us become nurses?? The ability to make a difference to someone and their family. Take a look around, yes we have some rotten days but in the end we can often do so much for people, we should be proud and sing our praises. Then people may listen!

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  • Hi Mike, can't fault you there, other than to add.

    Why don't the researchers ask those who enter the NHS without any Medicalor Nursing qualifications or knowledge what it was that attracted them?

    The promise of financial rewards beyond their wild.... no forget it my comment will only be removed.

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  • As professionals it is own responsibilty to publicise our worth... and the best way of doing that is by providing the best care possible to our patients and fulfilling our role in the MDT. Remember you are selling a product of yourself and your skills, so you must express your compassion and knowledge at work in order to get recognised. Don't just stand around moaning about a bad deal... make changes and put forward your ideas for change with evidence and passion...

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  • I couldn't agree more with the last comment - and with the editorial. We nurses are - to some extent at least - our own worst enemy. If we go on moaning about our working conditions - and the inability to provide good care due to 'management' (or any other factor) - is it any wonder that the public believe it? Could it just be a self-fulfilling prophecy? Come on nurses - let's be proud of what we can and do do and stop moaning about the things we can't. Tell the public (our patients) how good we are and they might just start to believe it!

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  • It makes me laugh ... complaining you get no thanks makes it sound like that is why you came into nursing ...to get thanks...
    I don't know of any other group of people that complain they get no thanks quite so much.

    I came into nursing to help other people, not for financial gain or to get this elusive thanks

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  • i have taken on board all the rants here on this page but i am sure there are thanks and praise given to you all at some point......the people we care for?

    you pass them a glass of water, wash their backs, hold their hands when they are scared,explain procedures,hold their hair back when they vomit. i know its not the glamour world of holby city and "management" give us no praise and we work for little financial reward as you see it. but if i have just one patient that says thank you to me i feel i have done my job and although i do go home worrying about the politics of the job i do always think of the difference i have made to my patients and their families.

    afterall how is is that we are given cards and chocolates if we are not doing something right? they may not be finanicaial gestures but they are a small token of praise.

    give yourselves a pat on the back, your care means something to someone even if they dont always say it :O)

    keep working hard,someone is thanking you

    xxxxx

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