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5 Greatest Misconceptions About Nurses

Posted by Brian Spence on Feb 4, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Nurse, Nursing, Allied Health, Healthcare Staffing, RN, LPN, CNAMyths about the nursing industry have circulated for years, perhaps largely due to the perception of nurses perpetuated by Hollywood. There have been countless medical dramas on TV over the last several years-- think Grey's Anatomy, House, Private Practice, and Nurse Jackie. Almost universally, they are depicted as smart but still inferior to doctors. Often, these characters are also sexualized; in fact, sexy nurse costumes are a popular choice for Halloween. The truth is that these professionals are a vital part of any health care team.

Below are 5 of the top misconceptions associated with the nursing industry and the truth behind these misconceptions:

  • They failed at becoming doctors. Somewhere along the way, a myth got started claiming nursing professionals are would-be doctors who failed out of medical school. This is absolutely not the case. They have chosen their profession, just as doctors chose theirs.

  • They are all women. It's rare for Hollywood to include male nurses amongst their TV medical staff. While women do outnumber men in nursing-- only about 5 percent of them are men-- it is not an exclusively female profession. To characterize it as so discourages men from entering this important field.

  • they are just ordered around by doctors. Many people wrongly assume that nursing professionals are errand-runners for doctors. While they do often assist doctors in various capacities, they also diagnose and treat patients, teach patients how to care for themselves, and save patients' lives. They routinely use their medical knowledge and are a valued part of health care teams.

  • Nursing is mindless, grunt work. This particular myth couldn't be further from the truth. Nursing professionals do so much more than pass out medications and clean bedpans. Many are highly educated-- holding bachelor's degrees or more-- and provide top-notch medical care to their patients.

  • All nursing jobs are the same. Once again, this myth is absolutely untrue. Nursing professionals work in a variety of places-- from hospitals to pediatricians' offices to long-term care facilities. They often have different training, goals, and career paths. They have varied levels of education-- some are Nursing Assistants; others are Nurse Practitioners.

Thankfully, it looks like Hollywood is finally seeing the error of their ways when it comes to nursing. Consider Baymax, the robot nurse in Disney's hit movie Big Hero Six. Unlike the traditional Hollywood version, Baymax is competent in his profession-- he assesses, teaches, and makes recommendations regarding Hiro's health. It might've taken a robot for Hollywood to finally get it right, but better late than never.

For more information about a career in nursing, please contact us.

Photo by valeriiaarnaud /

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