It is hard to believe that is has been two years since the 2015 Miss America scandal. If you are a nurse, you will know the one. Daytime television hosts from the show, ‘The View’, mocked Miss Colorado and the fact that she was wearing a stethoscope on stage. So, it was no surprise that after these comments were aired, nurses were in an uproar about the profession of nursing and the value nurses bring to healthcare.

In fact, nurses across the country came together in an unprecedented way. The #NursesUnite hashtag blew up on social media and nurses from all over shared photos of themselves, proudly wearing their stethoscopes at work. It was inspiring to say the least, but what about those nurses who do not don stethoscopes. Surely, they must have felt left out.

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Yes, nurses do wear stethoscopes at work. But not all of us do. You see, nurses are found in places beyond hospital walls. Nurses work at jobs outside of the doctor’s office. Nurses are involved with more than reading orders and passing meds.

So let us be cognizant of the fact that there is so much more to nursing. And when we are amongst friends, or out in the public arena, commenting on what a nurse does… let’s be mindful of the myths surrounding the nursing profession. Speak up to squash these false perceptions!

Here are 5 of the myths we can clear up:

1. Nurses only work in hospitals, emptying bedpans and following doctors’ orders. 

We assume that everyone knows this is not true. Nurses are business owners, researchers, speakers, and authors. Nurses can work in prisons, schools, religious institutions, on planes, and in any branch of the military. Nurses can own non-profits, volunteer on voyages abroad, work with computers, and even patent medical devices. Nurses are everywhere! And they can do pretty much anything under the guise of medicine.

2. Nurses are people who were not smart enough to become doctors.

This is absolute garbage but unfortunately one of the misconceptions of the uninformed! In fact, many of the nurses interviewed on the Your Next Shift Nursing Career podcast, tell me that they did consider medical school. It was not the training required or the educational milestones that put them off becoming doctors. It was the fact that they chose to nurse because they saw it as a career that would allow them to do MORE for the patient. They felt that by becoming a nurse, and not a doctor, they would be able to impact patient lives on a much larger scale. It is also about your passion for what you want to do. Some people passionately desire to be doctors while others are more drawn towards the intense care that nursing involves.

3. Nurses are all tired, unhealthy, stressed-out people.

Granted, nursing is an exacting profession and can lead to stress and burn-out. But most nurses who choose the profession are aware of this, and they put in place a system of self-preservation to do their jobs properly. There are more and more nurse coaches, nurse fitness instructors, and nurses who are yoga teachers than ever before. Nurses are online, teaching the public the importance of healthy eating. Nurses lead meditation classes and teach mindfulness workshops. In fact, organizations are starting to hire nurses (both in healthcare and non-healthcare settings) to help their employees to be happy and healthy too!

4. Nurses do not have emotions and become desensitized.

While a nurse is a very resilient being, they too feel things believe it or not. When a patient dies, a nurse will feel the impact. When a new life is born, a nurse might see it as the most beautiful thing on earth. Due to the emotionally charged nature of the profession, a nurse needs downtime to ‘refuel’. In fact, recent studies on compassion- fatigue and secondary trauma syndrome tell us that, like ‘non-nurse’ people, a nurse needs time to process what they are dealing with at work and need to deal with their emotions.

5. All nurses wear scrubs.

Sure, nurses who work in certain patient- care settings wear scrub uniforms. And you will also sometimes see a nurse wearing a lab coat. In fact, if you are treated by an Advanced Practice Nurse, such as a Nurse Practitioner, they may wear professional clothes with a white lab coat (just like a doctor). So be careful when judging a book by its cover.

What are some of the other stereotypical myths that you know of or that irk you?

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