Over the years, there are a number of myths that have grown up around nursing. This is probably because, although it is a highly respected and admired career choice, it’s not one that everyone is capable of doing, or at least doing well. Therefore, only a small percentage of the population becomes nurses and study for online DNP programs. Add to this the fact that nursing is a personal thing, something that takes place between the nurse and the patient, and you can see why there are many myths about the job rather than everyone knowing and understanding the hard facts.
Although, for the most part, the myths don’t matter much, they are problematic in some ways. When people misunderstand something, it makes them wary of it, and this could be why only a small number of people apply for nursing degrees and online DNP programs. Since we always need nurses, anything that reduces the potential numbers is a negative thing. Therefore, we have put together some of the top myths that people believe about nursing, and then we hope to debunk them so that more people begin to understand just what nursing is really all about. Read on to find out more; you never know, you might consider becoming a nurse yourself once you know more about what it truly entails.
Only Women Become Nurses
The idea that only women ever become nurses and study for online DNP programs is a prevailing one. If you were to quickly be asked to picture a nurse and not have enough time to think carefully about your answer, most people would picture a woman. This is, perhaps, not surprising. Although the world is working hard at reducing gender stereotypes, there was a time when nurses were women, and doctors were men, and there was very little room for change.
This is not the case today at all. Since the 1970s, the number of men applying to be nurses has almost tripled, and although women make up the majority of the nursing population, the career choice is now something that both men and women are welcome in equally. It will take some time to even out the numbers entirely (because women did get something of a head start), but the gap is not quite so dramatic as it once was.
This is excellent news for patients. Having a diverse range of nurses available means that everyone who needs a nurse’s care can feel comfortable with their nurse. In other words, there will be a nurse just like you who can help you, and who you as a patient will feel comfortable being vulnerable around. The more a patient likes their nurse, the more they will open up to them and give them the information they need to help treat them. Having a mix of male and female nurses is a win-win situation.
Nurses Only Work in Hospitals
There are many nurses who work in hospitals since this is where sick people are most likely to be. Once a nurse has completed their degree or their additional work for their online DNP programs, the hospital is a good workplace. There are sure to be open positions there as hospitals can always benefit from more nurses, and there is a vast range of nursing jobs to choose from. These could include:
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Certified nursing assistant
- Nurse care managers
- OR nurse
- ER nurse
- Elderly care
- Neonatal nurse
- Oncology nurse
Anything that interests you is something you can specialize in when you have your basic nursing degree. You can gain more qualifications such as studying in online DNP programs, and you can gain practical experience working with the patients you most want to treat.
All that being said, hospitals are certainly not the only places where nurses work. Nurses will be wherever their patients are, and that could mean any number of places. Nurses can work in schools, prisons, aboard ships, in the local area visiting people in their homes, work from home giving advice, be private nurses for just one person, or be nurses for many thousands of people. Once you have your nursing degree, there is a huge amount of choice available to you in your career.
All Nurses Want to Be Doctors
The idea that nurses are only nurses because they see it as a shortcut to becoming a doctor is false. As with any idea, some nurses choose this route, but the vast majority of nurses become nurses because they want to be nurses, not because they want to be doctors. After all, why spend so much time and effort working for different degrees and qualifications and studying in online DNP programs only to then give it all up and do something entirely different instead?
This is what a nurse would be doing if they decided to become a doctor. There is nothing wrong with this, and if it’s what they want to do, they must at least try, but the two careers are not linked, other than dealing with medicine and patients. The life and work of a nurse is in no way the same as that of a doctor, and nursing doesn’t make the ideal training ground for becoming a doctor. This myth doesn’t make a lot of sense, other than the idea that, perhaps, some nurses might start working in their chosen career and realize it’s not for them.
To assume that nurses have only chosen a very difficult and mentally exhausting career simply so they can then do something else is an insult to those nurses dedicated to taking care of their patients and have no interest in doing anything else.
It’s Easy to Become a Nurse
There is a nursing shortage, and we can’t hide from that fact. There are fewer people taking nursing degrees and then moving to online DNP programs than would be ideal, and this can leave hospitals and other workplaces short-staffed.
However, just because there is a nursing shortage, that doesn’t mean it has suddenly become easy or easier to be a nurse. In fact, studying for online DNP programs and gaining other nursing qualifications is a hard thing to do, and only the most dedicated will go through with it. This is a good way to determine who is truly serious about becoming a nurse because the last thing an employer would want is to hire a nurse, spend money on them, and then discover they weren’t interested in helping people or hard work.
Most nurses will work for at least two to four years on their studies before they become qualified nurses, depending on the branch of nursing they intend to go into and what level they want to start at; this is why there are options such as online DNP programs. This is not something that can be skipped, and unsatisfactory results can’t be ignored; to be a nurse, you need to have gained the relevant qualifications. Therefore, although there is indeed a nursing shortage, that does not mean standards have been lowered; nurses still need to be good at what they do and have the relevant skills, knowledge, and qualifications (and experience in non-entry level jobs) first.
Nurses Are all the Same
Contrary to what some believe, nurses aren’t all the same. They are not simply clones of one strict but ultimately caring (a true stereotype of nursing) nurse, and they don’t all do the same job. On top of the many different branches of nursing mentioned above, and the fact that a nurse can choose their own career path through the various qualifications they can take, including online DNP programs, the idea that every nurse has the same personality and works, in the same way, is simply not true. This would be like saying that all teachers teach in the same way, or all bakers bake exactly the same treats.
The truth is, nurses are as different as the people who become them. Some will be stricter than others; some will be more caring. Some will be happy to talk about their personal lives; others will prefer to keep that private and talk only about the patient. Some will be very ambitious, rising through the ranks and taking online DNP programs and more, and some will be happy staying at an entry-level position because that’s what they enjoy.
Apart from the fact that all nurses are going to be dedicated to helping people, and they work extremely, there is nothing else that will link them together. There are some people you can guess are nurses and others that, when they tell you what they do for a living, you’ll be surprised to learn they are nurses. So nurses are certainly not all the same, far from it.
There’s No Career Advancement
Some people are truly ambitious, and they want to get to the top of the career ladder in whatever sector they choose to work in. They might not choose to nurse, even if they would make an excellent nurse and have all the skills and personality traits that would enable them to do so because they assume that nurses have no career advancement.
This is another myth to be debunked. There are many different opportunities for career advancement if you want to take them – although there is no requirement that you do. This means that, for those who are ambitious and want to rise through the ranks in their career, or those who would rather stick at one level and excel at it, nursing can still be an ideal choice.
Nurses will need to continue to learn, however, even if they don’t intend to look for promotions or chance disciplines. Being up to date with all the medicinal knowledge and practices a nurse needs to be aware of – many of which change over time, hence the additional training and the need for online DNP programs – is crucial and is what separates a mediocre, or even a good nurse, from the best ones.
Nurses Work Crazy Hours
Nurses work at night, at weekends, through national holidays, and their shifts are long and gruelling.
We’re not going to dispel this idea since, in essence, it is the truth. Nurses do work long hours, and they do work shifts that mean nights and weekends need to be covered; after all, patients don’t only get sick during normal working hours.
Yet despite the fact that nurses do indeed work some crazy hours, they are not always at work. There will be plenty of downtime too. Plus, it is always possible to swap shifts with someone else if you need to, returning the favour at a later date.
Some nurses prefer to work nights and weekends, as it gives them time off during the week when stores are quieter, and most other people are at work. Some like to get up very early, and some prefer to go to bed very late. If shift work doesn’t appeal, there are branches of nursing that are more in line with a standard working week (school nurses, for example, or those who work in doctors’ offices), so there will always be an option that works for you. Don’t give up on the idea of becoming a nurse just because you’re worried about the working hours.
Nurses Are Just Doctors’ Assistants
Nurses will have many varied and important tasks, and it is only occasionally that doctors and nurses work together when you think of each of their jobs. Most of the time, nurses and doctors perform their duties and take care of patients in their own ways, coming together once in a while to check on the progress nursing notes and create a treatment plan.
If you thought that nursing was all about following orders and being told what to do, think again. Nurses need to be able to think for themselves and have a very responsible yet rewarding job to do.
A career in nursing is not for everyone, and it is certainly down to the individual. However, understanding these nursing myths and seeing how they aren’t the entire truth might help you to make your decision.