I’m not a nurse

Here is an article about female doctors, not nurses.  However, this article is important in that it addresses the stereotype that all the public have of who and what a “nurse” is.  It also addresses the inequalities between male and female counterparts, no matter what their status may be.  So when this doctor says, “I’m not a nurse,” it is in no way a reflection of the status of nurses but rather a reflection of how we see women in the healthcare field.

I certainly can understand why this doctor really hates being called a nurse.  She prepared and studied and passed boards to be able to say M.D. after her name.  She does not do the same work that the nurses do and that should be obvious to patients.  In the same vein, nurses are often called “aides” and expected to do the same work as an aide, despite them being the person giving the patient medicine.

Hospitals finally got wind of the patient’s confusion about who is what in their care and some are mandating color coding for uniforms.  Great.  I love the idea!  But it only helps out if there is some type of education for the patients to discuss what each person’s colored uniform means for them and their care.

This article is worth the read.  It may help you to understand how to differentiate who is providing care for you or your loved one the next time you find yourself in a hospital.


Thanks for the compliment, but I’m not a nurse

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I love nurses. My grandmother was a nurse’s aide. My aunt is a nurse. My mother is a nurse. Nurses have been by my side for the most frightening and important experiences in my life (in the hospital and out). However, I’m not a nurse. I’m a doctor. And when someone calls me nurse, I hate it.

i'm not a nurse

photo by: shutterstock

Here’s why:

1. I hate being called “nurse,” because I feel like it undoes the work of thousands of female physicians before me.

Recently, I was on service with one of the most accomplished female physicians at my institution. Our first patient welcomed us into his room with this: “Can I call you back? The nurses want to talk to me about something.”

One hundred and fifty-four years ago, he would have certainly been correct. However, in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of female medical school graduates later, women are now poised to outnumber their male colleagues by 2017. Still, I can’t say I feel secure in my place as a female physician. We are still underpaid and underpromoted compared to our male colleagues. To me, it feels like we’ve just splintered the shell of this previously male-dominated field. Being called “nurse” reminds me of the enormous gender gap I have yet to cross. Overpowering gender stereotypes will take more than outnumbering the men in our field.  (read more here)

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