Nurses- What we are; what we are not



Nursing is known to be one of the oldest professions in human history dating as far back as 300 A.D. during the reign of the Roman Empire, yet in the 21st century a lot persons still have misguided views about who we are and what we really do. If you ever thought that nurses were just about wearing those pristine white uniforms with the cute little hats on their heads, or wiping butts all day you are in for a big surprise.  I will erase some of the hideous misconceptions you might have about this noble profession and open your eyes to some of the many talents that these awesome group of people possess.

So let’s get started!

1. We are not “night nurses”!

“Night nurse” in this case does not mean a nurse who works on the night shift but unfortunately it is used as a sexual innuendo.  It’s 2018 and some people continue to view nurses as sex symbols. Hello! Could you not? Nurses are hard-working professionals who did not spend years of studying, making infinite sacrifices, completing countless assignments and exams to be called a “night nurse”. It is offensive and very annoying.  So, if you happen to come across a nurse please refrain from asking “will you be my night nurse?” No, most definitely not!

  2. We are not the doctor’s helper or maid

Unfortunately, people do think so. There is a popular view that nurses are always about “yes, doctor” and “no, doctor” and are unable to independently carry out care without a doctor saying this or that needs to be done for a particular patient. Again, this is NOT so!

Did you know that it takes the minimum four years for a nurse to EARN his or her degree in nursing? It does not end there either. He or she will then have to spend several months even years preparing for one of the most important events in their life- passing their license examination. Nurses are licensed to act independently when caring for a patient irrespective of the doctor’s orders. Nurses are skilled individuals who have legal and ethical responsibilities when executing their specialized duties. They are autonomous in diagnosing and offering life saving care to patients every second, every minute, every hour, every day. Hey, we do carry out an order a doctor may have made just as long as it is safe for the patient. Nurses are not subservient to doctors; we are a vital member of the medical team whose aim is to provide patients with the best care possible.

 3. OMG! Yes, there are male nurses!

Oh, you thought only women were suppose to be nurses? Haha! Nope!  One of the reasons nursing is characterized as the noblest of professions is fact that it is not only limited to the female gender. The narrative that males cannot offer care as naturally as females is a factor that contributes to this misconception. The belief that being a caregiver or nurturer is a woman’s job is as outdated as using a mercury thermometer to obtain a patient’s temperature (ain’t nobody got time for that!). Even though a higher percentage of the profession comprises of females, the men are just as caring, knowledgeable, and extremely skilled as their female counterparts.

Forget about the stigma of males not being nurses and break the stereotype now!

 4.  Nurses only work in hospitals

When persons think of a nurse they often see a person in white uniforms or  scrubs providing direct care to persons in a hospital setting. Can you imagine a world where nurses were only found working in a hospital? How would we cope? My goodness, it would be so chaotic, exhausting, confusing and time-consuming! Thank God that nursing extends way beyond the bedside. There have been so many advancements and specialties in nursing that it is more than having someone care for you in a hospital. The opportunities that this profession encompasses is infinite!

Nurses are so versatile that you will find them being entrepreneurs, researchers, educators, CEOs, writers, software developers and we could go on and on and on. There are school nurses, home-health nurses, forensic science nurses, public health nurses, flight nurses, army nurses, nurse aestheticians among others. There are nurses with advanced nursing degrees which include but not limited to: nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, legal nurse consultant, nurse midwives, doctor of nursing practice etc.

Who says that once who become a nurse your days will be spent working 8-16 hour shifts at the bedside in a hospital? Not at all.

5. “Your job is not hard, you’re just a nurse.”

Oh, really! Just a nurse? To say I am flabbergasted every time someone makes a comment such as this would be an understatement. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes an admission to a hospital or a direct interaction with a nurse to understand and appreciate that the nurse is more than “just a nurse”.

Being a nurse comes with having many different titles that makes it impossible at times to adequately describe who a nurse really is. The many hats that nurses wear makes them vital to the very existence of healthcare. So to even consider them as “just nurses” is simply rude! Nurses are regarded as the heart of healthcare; without them the healthcare system cannot function at an optimal level.

Nurses are not just nurses but they are your:

  • advocate – being there to ensure that you receive the best possible care when you or a loved one is unable to express a particular need
  • counselor – there to hold your hands when the burden becomes too heavy for you alone to bear
  • teacher – the one to help you better understand what those fifteen medications you have been prescribed are for
  • confidant – that one person you know you can trust in your most vulnerable moments
  • cheerleader – the one to keep motivating you when all you want is to just give up because it seems so much easier to do.

You have to admit it after all that nurses are not “just nurses”.

As Rawsi Williams so beautifully said “to do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can, in spite of all we go through; is to be a nurse.”


The Candystripe Nurse 🙂







2 thoughts on “Nurses- What we are; what we are not”

  1. Keep it coming Nurse Allen. We are not the doctor’s help. We are the intern’s eyes, ears nose, hands and feet. Building their confidence and saving their licesnes.


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