June 10th, 2008 | The Blog
Who we are constantly changes as our lives progress. We are born as a daughter or son and evolve into husband/wife, mother/father, lover, friend. Our associations, accomplishments, relationships, and our profession define who we become as an individual.
Very few of these things are as personally defining, however, as being a Nurse.
Once upon a time, I cringed at the thought of becoming a nurse. I had respect for the profession by reputation, but resisted the possibility of being among those to hold the title Registered Nurse. Being stereotyped into “woman’s work” flew against all I had achieved as a soldier, as an Army flight medic.
I was one of the lucky ones. A nurse, and very good friend, showed me the way. HE was the guiding influence behind my decision to throw out the medical school applications and pursue a career in one of the most important professions in existence.
Hello. My name is Emily, and I’m a Nurse.
I cannot imagine being anything else. The stereotypes I once associated with nursing still make me cringe, but not because they hold true. We are not handmaidens at the beck and call of physicians. Our main purpose is not to simply follow orders or change bedpans. We don’t wear ugly white shoes, saying yes sir, yes ma’am to anyone in a lab coat.
We do hold vigil at the bedside, making decisions through critical thinking, experience, and intuition. We are advocates, listeners, and coaches. We are highly educated, as well as, mentally and physically strong.
My friend knew that everything I was as a person would be part of who I am as a nurse. I am able to continue my service in the Army as part of the Army Nurse Corps, which has a long and distinguished tradition. I comfort and treat patients in a rural hospital in an emergency room as a Nurse Practitioner. I also continue my love of flight medicine as a flight nurse.
I hear those among our ranks who complain and shudder to think how it reflects on what we do, on who we are. Yes, burnout is an overwhelming reality in our profession. It takes a huge mental toll. Yes, there are those among us who look at it as a job. But in order for the stereotypes to disintegrate, we must start with ourselves.
During a trip for my 30th birthday, I told my husband that something big needed to take place within the nursing profession. We needed something like what the television series CSI did for forensics, or the show ER did for emergency medicine. I continue to believe that nursing needs a tipping point.
As I’ve begun to realize I am now in the position to be a mentor and friend, I see how important it is to break every nursing stereotype I can. This is why I write and have chosen to share in a very public forum, not only my professional life, but a good portion of my personal life. I want anyone interested in becoming a nurse to have someone to look to for support, guidance and encouragement.
I now believe that nursing’s tipping point isn’t going to be some sexy Hollywood production but a constant web presence in chat rooms, on message boards and through blogs. Our tipping point will come from our stories, conversations, and emails shared amongst each other without judgment.
To those of you brave enough to lead the way in creating a supportive, online nursing presence I thank you. To those of you who are new to it, welcome.
Becoming a part of nursing’s tipping point is as easy as posting a few comments on blogs like this one, or my blog about flight nursing www.crzegrl.net. As your interest and desire to become more involved grows, consider joining a nursing community like NursingVoices where you will find lively forums and discussion threads. If you realize you have more to say, consider your own blog and link into this amazing community.
Regardless of niche, or years of experience, each nurse—novice or expert, nursing student or person simply interested in nursing, is an important voice in the evolution, which is changing our profession for the better.
Hi, my name is Emily and I am very proud to say that I am a nurse.