Nurses deserve respect

There is no more blessed career out there than being a nurse. It’s a role that requires constant service and care for the weakest and most desperate. It’s a role that every community needs.

Being a nurse isn’t always the most thanked job in the world. While doctors are regularly lauded (and rightly so) for their incredible and miraculous work as healers, nurses are often just an afterthought in that praise, almost incidental people who happened to be there.

We can see that in the stereotypes about the two roles. When people think of doctors, they think of confident, strong-willed, brilliant individuals. When they think of nurses, however, they think of sexy outfits or matronly women who double-check whether the IV drip is working properly.

Putting the obvious sexism aside for now, this seriously diminishes the role nurses in the health of their patients. Nurses are usually the first medical professional the patient meets and often the last. Nurses are a constant presence in the life of those who are staying in hospitals or else regularly visiting doctor’s offices, and it is often left to the nurses to build the real rapport with the patients that are required for medicine to be truly effective.

Though nurses are not able to prescribe medicine themselves, they are still experts in their field and are more than capable of assisting most medical issues. In fact, the increasing use of nurse stations around the country as opposed to doctor’s office visits is a sign of just how competent nurses are.

Respecting nursing as a profession is important for reasons beyond the need to express genuine gratitude to such important workers. This lack of respect can often turn into abuse of nurses as employees. Many nurses are asked to work beyond their required hours, to clock out when they should still be on the clock, to work before or after a shift, to continue visiting patients even though they will not be given compensation. These are only some of the issues.

It is worth pointing out that all of these practices are illegal, but with the stereotype about nurses being their superhuman desire to assist (while still being replaceable because they aren’t doctors), there seems to be an inability for many (even hospital personnel and managers) to recognize the poor treatment they are subjecting their nurses to.

While nurses are, as a whole, very giving and generous individuals, that does not mean anyone has the right to abuse those qualities. Nurses already work long, hard hours, on their feet and dealing with very stressful and difficult situations. Much of their work is labor intensive. They have to deal with the sick, the angry, the grieving, and many others. Throughout such a shift, they deserve to be paid.

 

Abuses like this are likely to lead to an eventual decline in the number of nurses. To avoid such a nightmare scenario (and a world with too few nurses would be a nightmare), it is crucial that nurses begin to get the recognition and respect they deserve as important parts of the healing and treatment process.

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