Top 4 Nursing Myths Debunked

We’re putting a stop to these rumors here and now. These nursing myths have to go away and we’re here to say why.

Myth Number 1: People who go into nursing could not get into medical school

There are some nurses who come from med school, but most make a conscious choice to nursing. Nursing and medicine are two different professions which work together in hospital settings. Apart from medicine, nursing has its own foundational body of knowledge. Nursing tends to a more holistic view which encompasses the mind, body and spirit of the patient. Its practice is rooted in caring and tends to take a less technical and clinical perspective of care.

Myth Number 2: Nursing is a hospital-based profession

Hospitals remain the largest employer of nurses with nearly 2/3 of all nurses (65.4%) being employed in that setting. Nursing care facilities employ about 7% of nurses with outpatient care sites, such as surgery centers, employing 5.42% of registered nurses. In doing the math we have nearly 1/3 of the 3.15 million American nurses working outside of the hospital setting. That is over 1 million nurses. Never have we had a wider range of roles for the profession. Several nursing specialties, such as the patient care coordinator, have come into being over the last 20 years as American healthcare evolves and adapts to a value-based versus volume-based system.

Myth Number 3: Nurses are assistants to doctors and surgeons

There is some historical context for this myth which can be traced to the operating room, the work setting for 10% of American nurses. Perioperative nursing came about with the increasing complexity of surgery and the need for assistants to the surgeon. These nurses facilitated the work of surgery by transferring surgical instruments to the hand of the surgeon. Nursing has evolved far past these early stereotypes although some nurses still assist in surgical cases. Nursing is a separate profession regulated by state boards of nursing. Although nurses and physicians’ practice in the same work setting each has their own regulatory bodies.

Myth Number 4: A nurse is a nurse, is a nurse.

Although all nurses must complete an accredited pre-licensure educational course before their licensure examination there are a wide diversity of roles and specialties available to those nurses upon entry into practice. Work settings range from hospitals to community-based settings. Some nurses have considerable autonomy in their roles in advanced practice settings such as nurse practitioners. Nurses develop competency in their respective roles based on completing additional education and work experiences which are distinct to those roles. In example, competency in a perioperative nursing role cannot guarantee competency in another work setting such as psychiatric nursing. Each of these roles has a distinct body of knowledge which must be mastered.  

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