Top Five Myths About Nurses – and The Truth behind Them

Myths About Nurses Blame it on the media – for many decades, television and movies have portrayed nurses in a variety of roles except what they truly are.  Ask any well-meaning person on the street about what nurses really are, and the responses may range from stereotypical (eg “a nurse is a doctor’s assistant”) to downright outrageous (“a nurse does the dirty work that a doctor won’t do”). With the global demand for licensed nurses increasing day by day, it’s about time misconceptions are set straight. Funny or infuriating, here are some of the most common myths many folks believe about who nurses are and what they really do.

1. “To become a nurse, one needs to be female, and with family money.”

Here’s a very stereotypical impression of nurses. A century ago, one would not have seen a male nurse in a scrub suit. But statistics clearly show that within two decades (from the eighties to 2000), there was a steady increase of licensed male nurses by more than two hundred percent.

Money may be viewed as a requirement to get into nursing schools, but it doesn’t mean that one needs money to make it through the course. Once a nursing candidate gets into a reputable nursing education program, he or she needs to invest effort and time in order to succeed. No amount of money can bring a wannabe-nurse success in his or her vocation.

2. “Anyone can be a nurse.”

This may be the thought behind why there are so many men and women interested to get into a nursing education program. Every year, more and more names add up to the waiting list for nursing school admission in several states of America, and worldwide, high school graduates are hopeful to earn a degree in Nursing. However, this is by no means any indication that anyone can be a nurse. Nursing is a profession, but more importantly, it is passion to care. People who do not have this passion find themselves in unfamiliar and unsteady waters despite years of study and related experiences. Nurses, however put their heart into their job, look beyond the work bit and find inner peace in being able to promote health and enrich lives.

3. “The solution to shortage of nurses is more nursing graduates.”

It is true that the shortage of nurses in the United States is great, but this is also acute, and does not reassure nursing graduates with a bright future. In fact, in other locations and organizations in other parts of the world, there is actually a shortage of jobs for nurses. Therefore, it pays to be excellent in the field of nurses, because when the competition is tough, the outstanding nurse is more preferred. Mediocrity is not the norm in nursing.

4. “Nurses are left with dirty work that doctors won’t ever do.”

Again, a stereotypical assumption of what nurses do – take care of bedpans and deal with unsightly bodily fluids. But there is more to a nursing career than just having to clean up after a patient. Nursing is such a broad profession, that there’s almost a field for every type of interest. Those who cannot stand getting their hands dirty can find work in research facilities or offices as industrial or company nurses. Others can opt to pursue a career out of educating future nurses in a nursing school.

5. “Nurses are doctors’ assistants.”

Gone are the days when nurses had to follow doctors and did not have a say in a patient’s health care. The general public knows the nurse for what they see, but they may not be aware the nurses have a scope of responsibility broader than just obeying doctor’s orders. According to the American Association of Colleges for Nursing, nurses aren’t obligated to report to doctors – they work in a team that is headed by a supervisory nurse. Nursing therefore, is an independent discipline, that is not auxiliary to other disciplines such as medicine.

This guest post was written by Johanna Almazar R.N. Johanna writes about fertility, pregnancy and conception for

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