This is phrase that I have despised as I have moved through my nursing career. The phase is chiding in nature, but easy to say, especially for our non-nursing colleagues. Personally, I find in to be a reducing statement that fits with the pattern of subjugation nurses have historically endured.
It is hard as a nurse to display worth especially when others in the healthcare field do not see it or appreciate it. In the hierarchy of healthcare we almost come to expect to hear the phrase from our non-nursing colleagues when offering our opinion, observations, or clinical rationale. Unfortunately, this can even be seen in from nursing administrators who bear the “RN” behind their name, but have long forgotten the mission of bedside nurses, which is that patients are priority.
As if being a nurse is NOT enough! Its an honorable profession that is worthwhile, Nurse have such an instrumental role in healthcare and in the communities they serve. A nurse tends to be the face of a healthcare experience, seeing and tending to all symptoms while prioritizing care. It is often a nurse who remains at bedside for countless hours, comforting and promoting healing while administering treatment.
When you hear “just a nurse,” let the person who said it know that you a closer to that of a superhero than anything else that is lesser than the honor of caring for another human being.
Can you think of a time when you have heard the phrase “just a nurse?” Tells us about it! How did it make you feel? How did you respond?